TOZO Golden X1 Wireless Earbuds Review – A New Premium Tier Contender?
Written by Pete Anthony Last updated on:
Preliminary disclaimer: TOZO was awesome enough to send us a free review unit with no strings attached.
TOZO is a relatively new audio company that isn’t all that well known in the mainstream, but in the last five years or so they’ve seen massive success in the ecommerce market, mainly for producing a variety of quality and feature rich wireless earbuds at a minimal price.
Their budget T6 and T10 earbuds, which originally came out circa 2018, have topped Amazon’s best sellers list for a few years now, and the only company to garner more reviews on Amazon in that category is none other than Apple.
I have reviewed many of TOZO’s earbuds at this point, including the T6 and T10, and am generally favorable to them. The company has done a good job in the now brutally competitive budget earbud market, and they’re a good audio company overall.
But can TOZO compete in the so called “premium” market? where enthusiasts are willing to spend hundreds on dollars on headphones? Enter the Golden X1, which appears to be TOZO’s first shot at trying to do so.
It uses a dual driver design, one large 12mm dynamic woofer driver, and a balanced armature tweeter driver. This is a pretty popular design for mid/high end earbuds that try to remain reasonably compact.
I’m not much of an unboxing experience guy and I don’t usually care enough to discuss this in my reviews, but, I know that unboxing is a big thing for a lot of people, and that when you get into the premium tier it does matter, even to me a little. I will say that TOZO actually does has some of the best packaging and accessory inclusions I’ve seen with budget earbuds.
The Golden X1 packaging is similar to TOZO’s budget packaging, but just noticeably nicer. The box is a little bigger and has an aesthetic matte black color that matches the color scheme of the earbuds themselves. The contoured packing foam is nice, and there are compartments for both individual earbuds, the case, and the accessories, and this is the ideal way to pack and ship true wireless earbuds in my opinion. I really like the notched mini case for the replacement tips to prevent them from getting dinged or deformed.
All in all, decent packaging and a nice unboxing.
What Accessories Come Included With the TOZO Golden X1?
5 additional pairs of different size and style replacement tips
quick start pamphlet
short USB-C charging cable
earbud charging and carrying case
earbud front and back
tip and nozzle
How Good and Comfortable Is the TOZO Golden X1 Fit?
in ear fit
The Golden X1 has an excellent fit – TOZO has managed to design something that has a nicely light and shallow feel that’s casual, but that is also sturdy and secure. I could not get the seal to break at all no matter how much I actually tried to. I think this is the first true wireless earbud that I’ve used of this style that maintains a seemingly perfect seal.
A lot of the more expensive performance oriented in ear headphones have a deeper and firmer seal that exerts a fair bit of pressure, and I’ll admit I tend to prefer that feeling over the light and shallow feeling, but some people do get squeamish of things that feel invasive in the ear canal, and the Golden X1 might be the ideal solution for those people.
The little mini stems also make the Golden X1 earbuds very easy to take off and put back on.
How to Insert and Wear the TOZO Golden X1
It’s not actually immediately obvious how to wear these earbuds and it took me a bit to get it right (I first tried wedging the stems into the top of the concha like a wing tip). I did eventually see they do have a fit illustration in the manual:
I got the tips to “lock in” by inserting the earbuds with the stems pointing down a little, then gently pushing them in more while rotating the stems forward.
Does the TOZO Golden X1 Have Good Touch Controls, and Is It Easy to Use?
The Golden X1 has an easy touch control schematic that has all the functions you’d expect wireless earbuds to have in 2023. The volume and tracking commands have distinct beeping sounds so you know if a command successfully went through (pause doesn’t have one). If you accidentally pause if you meant to track forward, you can still track forward while paused and you’ll hear the same beep for that function.
The only slightly annoying thing I encountered was that if I tried to track back but only one tap registered it would switch from noise cancelling to transparency mode. Finger taps seem like they need to be pretty emphatic and right on that TOZO moniker to go through properly. This isn’t a big deal to me though – I generally find that it just takes getting used to any particular wireless earbud’s controls.
List of TOZO Golden X1 Touch Control Functions:
pause/play – 1 tap right earbud
volume up – press and hold right earbud
volume down – press and hold left earbud
track forward – 2 taps right earbud
reset, track back – 2 taps left earbud
switch between anc/transparency – 1 tap left earbud
turn off anc/transparency – 3 taps left earbud
turn on voice assistant – 3 taps right earbud
answer incoming call – 1 tap either earbud
reject/end call – press and hold either earbud
Pairing the Golden X1 is easy and straightforward – just open the case with the buds inside (after they are charged some) and they’ll automatically enter pairing mode. Select “TOZO Golden X1” from the menu and you’re good to go.
If you need to reset the Golden X1 for any reason, put the buds in the case and hold the button inside the case for 15 seconds.
Durability: Is the TOZO Golden X1 Waterproof And/Or Dustproof?
The Golden X1 has an official ingress protection code of IPX6, the final “6” digit means its water resistant up to moderately pressurized jets, and the penultimate “X” digit placeholder means there’s no official protection against dust or debris. This is fine for basic outdoor use and working out and such.
Does the TOZO Golden X1 Have Good Isolation And/Or Active Noise Cancellation?
Yet another strength of the Golden X1’s light and shallow fit is that it has very good isolation with the active noise cancellation on. The TOZO app put my room at about 40 dB of background noise with my computer on and fan running and such and I was just barely able to hear them while nothing was playing.
TOZO claims the Golden X1 attenuates up to 42 dB but this is unrealistically optimistic. Etymotic Research, who is a global leader in noise attenuation tech, claims their high end earphones reduce noise up to 35-42 dB for context. And their earphone tips also feel like vice grips.
That said, if a headphone can achieve up to 30 dB or more of noise attenuation that’s industry leading in 2023, and I do think the Golden X1 is right there in the mix. The noise attenuation of the Golden X1 felt even better than that of the Samsung Galaxy Pro when I compared them. Said again, the isolation is very good.
You can also turn the anc and transparency off if you don’t think you need either and listen to the Golden X1 in “normal” mode. This is a good option to have because noise cancellation or transparency can significantly lower battery life.
The case has a pill shape and is somewhat large and heavy, but seems portable enough. I would say the build quality of the case is OK, but not great, or as good as some of the other popular premium true wireless earbuds currently out there. The lid and its hinge feel a little flimsy. I don’t personally care too much about cases, just that they keep the earbuds protected, and the Golden X1 case seems perfectly fine for that.
plugged in and charging up
The grey strip there is actually an LED light that slowly pulses on and off when the case is charging, which is kind of neat. There are charge indicators for each individual earbuds and the case itself that display for a moment each time you open the lid. I wasn’t really able to get a decent picture of my own of that, so here’s one of their adverts that shows it:
LED indicators inside the case (affiliate link)
How Good Is the TOZO Golden X1 Battery Life?
The purported battery life of the Golden X1 earbuds themselves is up to 8 hours for a single charge, and the case gives up to 3 recharges for a grand total of 32 hours before it needs to be plugged back in. From what I could find, TOZO doesn’t specify if this is with the anc/transparency on or not, so I’m going to be pessimistic and assume it’s not. This amount of battery life is comparatively OK but not that great.
Does the TOZO Golden X1 Have Good Warranty Coverage?
TOZO’s normal warranty on their earbuds is one year, which is the fairly standard minimum for headphones in general. But the Golden X1 warranty is bumped up to 18 months which is pretty decent coverage for true wireless earbuds, even expensive ones. TOZO also has a 30 day no questions asked return/exchange window.
How I Evaluate The Sound Quality of Headphones
I preface the sound portion of all my review and comparison articles with this section - to explain the way I decide how performant a pair of headphones is:
I am a music guy first and foremost, and fidelity is what I mainly care about. To that end, I look at three primary things, and I think any other factors ultimately stem from them: balance, clarity, and accuracy.
Good balance - means a well tuned frequency response curve, or that the volume of all sounds from low to high is decently even and well blended. This does not necessarily mean the curve needs to be flat/neutral, just that no parts of a song sound weirdly quiet or overly pronounced.
Good clarity - is somewhat a function of good balance, and means that you can clearly hear and make out each voice, instrument, and any other individual part of a song with decent detail.
Good accuracy - is roughly just a more general term for tone or timbre, and means the headphones produce sound that theoretically replicates the original recording and feels real or natural. For example a cymbal sounds like an actual cymbal as you would hear it with someone playing drums near you.
The Important Question: Does the TOZO Golden X1 Sound Good?
Evaluating how good a headphone sounds relative to its price, in my experience at least, starts to get a bit wonky when things start to get a little expensive, like $100 or more. Marginal improvements become smaller and subjective variance gets a lot bigger.
To start though, here’s what I will say insofar as how the Golden X1 sounds overall: it sounds very good, and it also definitely has that TOZO style that I feel like I’ve now discerned having listening to several of their products. Keep in mind I’m talking about “out of the box sound,” with no EQ adjustments with the TOZO app or otherwise. More on that in a moment.
The TOZO style is bassy, a little loose, and warmer, with seeming emphasis on fullness rather than detail (where emphasis on the latter sometimes results in a sort of thin/harsh sound). This is the kind of sound that casual listeners tend to prefer, and the so called Harman/U-shape is generally how you can get the most out of earbuds on a budget, and budget earbuds are TOZO’s bread and butter.
The Golden X1 definitely has this bassy fullness, and the mids and mid-highs are a little recessed. The sound as a result is a little narrow and sucked in, and the crisp clarity and detail isn’t quite there like it is with other similarly priced earbuds that have a different design. Different, I say again, not necessarily better.
There’s a self reported response curve shape on another one of the Golden X1 adverts that reflects this pretty well I’d say:
click to see zoomable image on Amazon (affiliate link)
Can I improve the sound with some EQ tweaking? even if it’s just subjectively? Well I wouldn’t be in this niche if I didn’t want to try of course.
The Golden X1 is compatible with TOZO’s free EQ app, and has some neat extras there as well. When you first connect them you’re prompted to take a hearing test with their new “EarPrint” technology.
the initial prompt and subsequent test
It plays a succession of about 30 beeps of various pitches and you simply answer “yes” or “no” if you can hear each. The App will then automatically adjust the default EQ curve to compensate for any “deficiencies,” as it calls them, that you might have. Pretty neat. If you answer “yes” for each pitch the App just does nothing and you stay with the default “balanced” pre-set.
From there I switched to the “Bass-” pre-set but slid up the lower frequencies just a little bit and saved a custom curve:
the bass- pre-set and my slight adjustments
The main thing this adjustment allowed me to do is comfortably bump the volume up a notch because the bass wasn’t so forward, and that alone improved the mid/high range detail and clarity a noticeable bit. The sound also felt a little more airy in a nice way with improved timbre all around. So, a solid albeit marginal improvement.
TOZO claims the Golden X1’s frequency response range is 12 – 44.1k Hz, and while a 12 Hz floor is feasible for an in-ear headphone, the exorbinately high 44.1k Hz ceiling is questionable but irrelevant anyhow because a human ear can only hear up to 20k Hz on average, and high end roll off is very rarely a noticeable problem with headphones.
The bass extension of the Golden X1 is very good, even with it tuned down in the EQ app. All the drops I normally test came through fully and remained consistent when they came back up. The quality of the bass is very good and accurate too, just a wee bit loose still after my EQ adjustments.
So how does the Golden X1 compare to an established industry leader?
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro are agreed by many to be the current gold standard in this respective category, and I’m inclined to agree. So I was very interested to A/B them against the EQ adjusted Golden X1.
I went back and quite a lot with my usual segments, and while I think the Golden X1 gets impressively close to the Galaxy Buds Pro, it’s not quite there. The Galaxy Buds Pro just has such great fullness and clarity that I have yet to see matched. The Golden X1 still has that slight sucked in narrowness in comparison.
Final Verdict: Is the TOZO Golden X1 Worth Buying?
TOZO did a great job with the Golden X1 as their first shot at competing in the premium true wireless earbud market, and I think that a lot of people will really like it and find it well worth the money.
The fact that the fit and isolation is so good while still feeling nicely casual is the primary strong suit in my opinion. If you prefer that lighter and shallower fit style of earbud, as opposed to most others in this price-tier that have a pretty firm and deep fit, I think the Golden X1 is an excellent choice.
The Golden X1 sound quality is very good, but not quite best in class. I think anyone who gets it needs to be willing to use the TOZO EQ app at least once to customize a curve or at a minimum find a pre-set that they like. I think with some thoughtful tinkering the Golden X1 sound could maybe get on par with the best in class here, at least subjectively.
Some good news is that TOZO has discounted the Golden X1 quite a bit from its original MSRP – we’ve seen it dip under $150, which is like 25% cheaper than most of the popular competitors like the AirPods or Galaxy Buds.
Pete Anthony has had a lifelong affinity for music, and more recently has become an anti audiophile snob who wants great sound to be accessible and enjoyable by anyone. Without needing to break the bank. Read his full author page here.