Huge bass with excellent extension, Rock solid fit and isolation, Good battery life, Tactile controls
Very large housings won’t suit all ears, Large charging case, Highly sculpted sound not for the faint of heart
The TWS 5.0 is a well-executed bass-focussed earphone with very impressive driver quality and an excellent fit perfect for the gym or commute.
Helm Audio is a British-American company recently formed from the core folks at the very renowned 1More. They aim for the same sense of value with a more audiophile focus and a different design aesthetic. The True Wireless was their first product, a TWS IEM sporting a very unique design and an affordable asking price. The TWS 5.0 is its successor, and though similar in name, its shares only the original’s excellent design and fit. Inside lies new circuitry boasting BT5.0 technology including Apt-X and AAC support alongside almost double the battery life as its predecessor and dual mics for stereo calls. The TWS 5.0 implements alloy-enhanced dynamic drivers to provide visceral bass, a headline feature of this model. I’ve spent a good week with Helm’s latest TWS offering and from preliminary analysis, this is another fine addition in the exciting TWS market! See more info on Helm’s website here.
I would like to thank Helm Audio very much for their quick communication and for providing me with the TWS 5.0 for the purpose of review. All words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. Despite receiving the earphones free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective as possible in my evaluation.
The Helm 5.0 TWS is nicely packaged within a small hard box containing the earphones nestled within their hard-charging case and suit of accessories. Alongside the earphones, Helm includes 4 sizes of comfortable Sony Hybrid-style ear tips and a micro-usb charging cable. The silicone jacket can be fully-removed for cleaning, however, other sizes of wing tip stabiliser are, unfortunately, not included.
The TWS 5.0 has a very distinct design combined with large dimensions. Contoured faceplates draw the eye while a silicone jacket covering the internal face of the earphone, extending to a stabiliser fin ensure a comfortable and stable fit. The earphones also use their size to their advantage, sporting an ear-filling design that further contributes to their rock-solid fit and provides one of the most locked-in sensation of all the TWS in-ears I’ve tested. They also appear to be fully sealed, with driver flex apparent but not distracting or damaging to the driver in my testing. As such, they also provide very strong passive noise isolation.
The Sony hybrid-style tips included in the box surely contribute, forming a strong seal. Wide physical buttons on each faceplate are easy to manipulate when on the go and avoid accidental presses. As the earphones are quite large, completely filling the outer ear, those with smaller ears may want to look elsewhere.My main caveat is the charging case. It’s made of cheap-feeling plastic, uses micro-USB, is hard to open (though I’m told this will improve with use) and is, frankly, enormous. Conversely, it’s lightweight and offers 4-5 charges which is more than most competitors though no wireless charging is to be found.
The pairing process is very intuitive with the earphones automatically entering pairing mode when first removed from the case and auto-connecting to the previous device on subsequent removal. It’s also easy to reset and add additional devices by pressing the button on the carrying case. Once connected, the Helm’s provided a mostly reliable connection, with only a handful of dropouts when travelling in the interference heavy Sydney CBD. They quickly reconnected with sound fading back in under a second. Range is also respectable I was able to walk into the next room and a mostly stable maintain connection, they also held a strong connection to my Shanling M0 which has notoriously short BT range.
Utilising BT5.0, the Helm’s are able to pair independently to the source device. Battery life is rated at 6-8 hours with an additional 30 hours from the case (~5 charges). Listening at medium-low volumes, I found battery life to be closer to 6hrs consistently though it was hard to judge the charges offered by the case as I didn’t fully-charge the earphones on each cycle. This puts the TWS 5.0 within the upper echelons in terms of longevity though it is still bested by new generation BT 5.0 earphones like the MW07’s that offer 10hrs of playback time.
They also sport an IPX4 water resistance rating making them splash proof and suitable for exercise if not complete submersion. Each earpiece has a microphone offering smart assistant control in addition to servicing calls whether paired in stereo or individually. Call quality was good, delivering solid volume and good intelligibility to listeners on the other end. The quality is not the same as premium offerings such as the WF-1000XM3 and Momentum TWS, especially in noisy environments where callers reported that background noise was not well suppressed.
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