QCY, an acronym that interestingly stands for quality, creative, and youth, is a lesser known Chinese audio company that is a subsidiary of Hele Electronics, which is a company that has collaborated with many big audio names on the manufacturing side.
QCY earbuds have started to make waves in the audio community, in particular the popular budget T13 reviewed herein. I recently reviewed my first QCY product, the stemless Q17, and was pretty impressed, so I was definitely interested to see how the T13, which is probably QCY’s top selling product currently, compared to the more popular competition.
What Accessories Come Included With the QCY T13?
- manual booklet
- short USB-C charging cable
- two pairs of different sized replacement tips
- charging/carrying case
How Good and Comfortable Is the QCY T13 Fit?
I tend to not prefer stemmed earbuds that are smaller and uncontoured, but I actually like the feel of the T13 – it fit me great out of the box and sits very securely and comfortably in my outer ear. The seal broke and the bass recessed just a tiny bit if I smiled as wide as I could, but I had to really try to make that happen, so I don’t think it would be an issue with actual use. Otherwise the seal maintained and was secure no matter how I moved my head or face around.
The T13 sits a little shallow for my taste, but I tend to prefer a deeper and firmer seal. It is also very easy to take off and put back in.
How to Insert and Wear the QCY T13
What I did is just placed them gently with the stems facing straight down, then just rotate the stems about 30 degrees counter clockwise while pushing slightly to lock the tips in place.
Does the QCY T13 Have Good Touch Controls, and Is It Easy to Use?
The T13 has a reliable and easy to use control schematic, and has all of the functions one would expect true wireless earbuds to have in 2023, except for one: volume control. The QCY T17 has this omission as well and was the first time I’d ever seen that with modern true wireless earbuds. I really don’t know why QCY is apparently skipping such a basic feature that essentially all other products have at this point.
Update: it turns out the T13 is compatible with the QCY app, with which you can assign volume control to a function slot
The surface area of the back is a little small and sometimes hard to find with your finger, but there seems to be some wiggle room for where you touch, whereas some other touch controlled earbuds are very finnicky about needing to be hit in exactly the right spots. Executing commands on the T13 was easy and reliable.
List of QCY T13 Touch Control Functions:
- pause/play, answer/end call – double tap either earbud
- track forward, ignore call – touch and hold right earbud
- reset/track backward – touch and hold left earbud
- voice assistant – triple touch left panel
Pairing the T13 is easy and straightforward – just take the earbuds out of the case after the initial charge and they’ll automatically enter pairing mode, then select “QCY-T13” from the menu and you’re good to go.
If for some reason you need to factory reset the T13 that’s easy to do – put the earbuds back in the case then there’s a button inside the case that you press and hold for 10 seconds or until the the LED lights blink red and blue 3 times.
Durability: Is the QCY T13 Waterproof And/Or Dustproof?
The T13 has an official ingress protection code of IPX5 – the final “5” digit means they’re water resistant up to moderate jets, and the penultimate “X” placeholder means there’s no certification against dust or debris incursion.
Fully waterproof and/or dustproof wireless earbuds with a double digit IP code do exist, and more of them are coming out, but IPX4+ is sufficient for most basic use and exercising.
Does the QCY T13 Have Good Isolation And/Or Active Noise Cancellation?
The T13 does not have any active noise cancellation, but the natural isolation is surprisingly decent for this style of earbud – the shallow fitting stem style earbuds normally have relatively poor isolation, but I’d definitely put the T13 close to medium. Not amazing if you need noise attenuation in particular (there are better products that are specifically designed for that), but I think the T13 would be fine for basic commuter use.
The case is a little big and bulky and doesn’t have the rounded edges that I prefer, but, it’s thin enough to be relatively compact and portable. I wish the charge port had a protective cover, but for some reason more and more companies are omitting this with USB-C inputs.
Does The QCY T13 Have Good Charge Speed?
There’s no published data I could find on overall charge speed, but I was able to get a full initial charge in about 1.5 hours which is fairly standard. The T13 also has a quick partial recharge feature – 5 minutes in the case will give an extra hour of juice if you happen to need just a little more time.
How Good Is the QCY T13 Battery Life?
The purported battery life of the earbuds is 8 hours, and the case can give about an extra 4 recharges for a grand total of 40 hours before they need to be plugged back in. This is decent for the budget price point in 2023 but not amazing. The T13 does have a slightly dated Bluetooth v5.1 which, while that won’t realistically effect sound quality, does have less battery efficiency and signal range than more modern versions.
Does the QCY T13 Have Good Warranty Coverage?
QCY offers a 30 day return/exchange window and a subsequent 1 year warranty against defects, which is the fairly common minimum for budget headphones.A note before the next section: this page describes how I evaluate the sound quality of headphones and earbuds.
The Important Question: Does the QCY T13 Sound Good?
The T13 sounds solid for the budget price-point. It definitely has a softer and warmer style that a lot of laypeople prefer for easier casual listening. I found these very easy to just keep listening to for an extended time.
The sound curve feels bass emphasized with slow decline up to the top, not quite a Harman/U-shape but more a sloped trapezoid if that makes sense. Overall the balance and accuracy are decent and the clarity and detail is a little lacking, but that’s kind of the trade off you make for the softer/warmer style. The soundstage feels impressively wide and immersive as well.
I couldn’t find any published response range data, but, I’d say the bass extension and quality is fairly average. The drops I normally test had some roll off and reemphasis as they came back up. The bass tone was a little loose and forward.
Final Verdict: Is the QCY T13 Worth Buying?
Competition in the budget true wireless earbud market is very stiff, but I think the T13 is a good product that hits a specific style that a lot of people like and want: something that’s easy and comfortable to wear, and has a soft/warm sound signature that’s good for easy and extended listening. The 5 minute rapid partial recharge is also a nice feature to have.
Is the T13 best in class from a technical standpoint? I wouldn’t say so, but, it’s still a very popular product and I think I now see why after having used and reviewed it: the T13 does a great job of hitting that easy/casual niche that a lot of people want and like. I could definitely see myself using these around the house and such. No (default) onboard volume control might be an annoying deal breaker for some.
Get the QCY T13 wireless earbuds on Amazon (affiliate link)
For those who are curious how the T13 fares against similar and popular competitors: