Is this the best-sounding pair of true wireless earphones under Rs. 5,000?
By Ali Pardiwala | Updated: 7 January 2021 14:26 IST
The Lypertek Levi supports the AAC and SBC Bluetooth codecs
The Lypertek Levi is priced at Rs. 4,999, a fair bit less than the Tevi
The earphones use 6mm dynamic drivers
Controls are through side-mounted buttons, which are quite convenient
While big-name brands such as Apple, Sony, and Samsung have a strong hold on the premium true wireless segment, the affordable and mid-range segments see a lot of action from small boutique brands. One such specialist audio manufacturer is Lypertek, and its first true wireless headset, the Lypertek Tevi, is among our top picks for true wireless earphones priced at under Rs. 10,000. However, at Rs. 6,999, the Lypertek Tevi sits just a bit higher than the Rs. 5,000 mark, which remains a significant cost barrier for price-sensitive buyers.
The company's latest true wireless headset should appeal to those very buyers, who might find the Tevi a bit too expensive. Priced at Rs. 4,999, the Lypertek Levi promises to be a budget-friendly true wireless headset with the same fundamental approach to listening as the Tevi. Find out if the Lypertek Levi is the best-sounding pair of true wireless earphones you can buy for less than Rs. 5,000, in our review.
The Lypertek Levi goes up against competition from brands such as Oppo and Realme in the budget true wireless segment
Impressive specifications for the price on the Lypertek Levi
Refreshingly for the price segment, the Lypertek Levi is a rather uncomplicated pair of true wireless earphones. The earpieces are unashamedly plastic with a dull, slightly textured finish, and have a proper in-canal fit. They look good and feel well-built, but are quite simple and lacking in complicated features. There are no sensors, and controls are through physical buttons.
There are lights on the outward-facing surfaces to indicate the status of the earpieces, and interestingly, there's a physical button on the side of each one. I found this quite convenient, since pressing them didn't upset the fit of the earpieces; I'd push the button with my index finger while using my thumb for grip on the opposite side.
A single press on either side plays or pauses music or answered calls; a double-press skips to the previous (left) or next (right) track, or summons the default voice assistant on your paired smartphone when audio is paused; a triple-press on either side turns on or off the ambient sound mode; and a long-press on the two sides will raise or lower the volume. These controls cover all functions. In my experience, they were intuitive and easy, and always worked properly.
Six pairs of silicone ear tips are included in the box, including three double-flanged options in different sizes. I personally preferred the fit and sound with the regular medium-sized ear tips. Also included is a short charging cable. The case can be charged both wirelessly and through its USB Type-C port. Although the latter is now common in the budget segment, wireless charging is an interesting addition that is still rare under Rs. 5,000.
The charging case can be charged wirelessly, apart from regular USB Type-C charging
The case has a similar texture to the earpieces, with the USB Type-C port at the bottom, four LEDs to indicate its battery level, and a magnetic lid. I strangely heard a high-pitched electronic squeal every time the earpieces were inside and charging, but this didn't seem to affect functionality in any way.
Unlike the Tevi which has support for the Qualcomm aptX Bluetooth codec, the Lypertek Levi supports only the SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs. The earphones use Bluetooth 5 for connectivity, and have 6mm dynamic drivers, a frequency response range of 20-20,000Hz, and IPX5 water resistance. Battery life is claimed to be 8 hours on the earpieces with an additional four full charges from the case, and the Lypertek Levi came close to these figures in my testing.
Natural sonic signature, enjoyable sound on the Lypertek Levi
As a more affordable sibling of the Tevi, the Lypertek Levi has a lot of expectations pegged to it, including matching up to the ethos and philosophies behind the design of the more expensive headset, while keeping the price down. Impressively, Lypertek has pulled this off in style; the Levi is not quite the Tevi, but it's got enough of that spirit and soul in it for the price, even when it comes to sound.
A big reason for why the Tevi is so good is its support for the Qualcomm aptX Bluetooth codec, which the Levi unfortunately doesn't have. For this reason, the Levi doesn't quite go the distance when it comes to good high-resolution music, but it makes up for this with good drivers as well as tuning that gets it right with regular compressed and streaming audio. It's silly to expect too much from a Rs. 5,000 true wireless headset, but the Lypertek Levi still gives you more bang for your buck than the competition when it comes to sound quality.
Listening to Let's Elope by Koop on Tidal Masters, the sound immediately came across as natural and balanced, but never skewed towards any particular segment of the frequency range. Whether I was paying closer attention to the deep orchestral lows, crisp vocals, or bright highs of certain instruments, everything had its firm place in the sound. As a result, the soundstage on the Lypertek Levi felt luxurious and wide, and the sonic signature was refreshingly different from those of any other earphones I've heard priced under Rs. 5,000.
The buttons on the sides of the earpieces are quite convenient, and didn't upset the fit when used
Even with other genres, including popular and bass-driven tracks such as So Am I by Ty Dolla $ign, the sound was impressive when it came to detail and feel, while retaining the core characteristics of the track. The dubstep-style low-end rumble in this reggae fusion track was refined and calculated on the Lypertek Levi, while the balanced nature of the sound made for oodles of detail that had been hard to pinpoint with other affordable headsets such as the Oppo Enco W51 or Realme Buds Air Pro.
Switching to Spotify and my current favourite track for testing headphones and earphones, Truth by Kamasi Washington, I noticed that although the sound was missing just a hint of the edge that high-resolution audio would have brought, it was still nearly as good. This is obviously due to the shortcomings of the AAC codec, but despite this the sound was still nearly as detailed and immersive as before. Faint details in the cymbals, the grunt of the lows, and the natural feel of the church choir-like vocals were all delivered capably by the Lypertek Levi.
More energetic tracks, such as Kanye West's All Of The Lights, were decent on the Lypertek Levi, but this is where some of the limitations of these earphones showed. The wide soundstage and faint details were present, but this loud, busy track sometimes got away from the Levi, sounding a bit rough and jumbled up on occasion. On the other hand, progressive tracks with a slightly more laid-back approach, such as My Mind's Made Up by Kraak & Smaak, didn't face the same problem, suggesting that it takes a special kind of track to make the Levi flinch in normal circumstances.
The Lypertek Levi is in its comfort zone with music and performed reasonably for me for audio on videos, but the same can't be said of voice calls. Although I could hear clearly when my smartphone was getting good reception, the microphones aren't particularly good, and I often had trouble being heard on calls. The Levi is best used for music and the occasional voice call; you'll want something with better microphones if you intend to take a lot of calls.
Battery life is impressive on the Lypertek Levi, with up to eight hours of listening on the earpieces.
Lypertek burst onto the scene in a big way with the Tevi not too long ago, and hasn't disappointed with its second offering either. The Lypertek Levi is pretty much exactly what you'd expect; it's an affordable true wireless headset that delivers on what it promises: good sound. With its natural, refreshingly different sonic signature, this is the best-sounding pair of true wireless earphones you can buy for less than Rs. 5,000. Excellent battery life, wireless charging, and convenient controls sweeten the deal.
That said, I did encounter some quirks such as the high-pitched electronic squealing from the charging case, an inability to keep pace with the busiest of tracks, and poor microphone performance. This is a very good pair of true wireless earphones for the price, but it's definitely still a budget headset.
The Lypertek Levi is definitely worth considering if music will be your primary use case. If you're looking for something a bit more feature-filled that would work better as an all-rounder, options such as the Oppo Enco W51 and Realme Buds Air Pro which feature active noise cancellation are worth considering. Of course, if you can bump up your budget a bit, the Lypertek Tevi remains our top pick for under Rs. 10,000.