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For mobile gamers, wireless earbuds were never a consideration due to its significant audio latency delay, though there are several wireless earbuds that features a gaming mode to resolve that issue, most of them unfortunately aren’t affordable, which brings us to the Armaggeddon Hornet 1 and Hornet 3 TWS earbuds, they are the brand’s very first gaming centric wireless earbuds that’s set to retail below RM300, can they offer sound and wireless performance that a gamer need?
These wireless earbuds come in a yellow themed box that’s similar to other Armaggeddon products, the packaging doesn’t feel cheap as it has a lift cover to reveal the earbuds. On the back of the boxes, you’ll find highlight features and specs detailed clearly, while interestingly their barcodes are uniquely presented in a hornet shaped graphic.
Let’s begin with the Hornet 1, which is the most affordable between the duo and has a familiar design that you have probably have seen on many other brands. Being value centric wireless earbuds, the Hornet 1 has a less appealing design as the charging case uses a glossy black paint job that’s extremely prone to fingerprints and if not careful, it can easily get scratched in the long term.
However, the charging case doesn’t weigh a ton and offers extra 10 hours of listening time on top of the earbud’s 5 hours battery life, it also uses USB-C to charge, which saves you from carrying more cables in your bag. Like most TWS earbuds, it has four LED indicators to tell you it’s battery levels.
The Hornet 1 earbuds has a very straightforward on-ear design and it doesn’t have any flashy gaming accent to it, it has the Armageddon falcon branding on each side that also serves as a touchpad for controlling music playback, it can be a little finicky to work with but I’m glad that you can control playback volume by double tapping on them.
My personal favorite is the Hornet 3, not only they look really cool with two always-on white LED on each of them, they also have a transparent case that lets you see its internals. Unlike the Hornet 1, the Hornet 3 features an in-ear form factor which offers a better seal against background noise, although there isn’t active noise cancellation.
I also prefer the Hornet 3’s charging case as it feels more premium with a matte surface, there is also an embossed Armageddon falcon branding on top of the case, while the lid has a more solid hinge mechanism that gives a very satisfying clap when you close it. In terms of power, the Hornet 3 offers up to 8 hours of listening time and the case gives it an extra 24 hours when fully charged.
Pairing these two earbuds are really straightforward as both earbuds connect automatically when they are out of their case, you can also use either side of the earbuds for music and phone calls, which makes it very versatile as compared to many other wireless earbuds that can only use a specific side for pairing and one side audio listening.
Gaming Mode – Does it work?
What makes these two earbuds stand out from many other entry wireless earbuds is Gaming Mode, which significantly reduces connection latency to an impressive 50ms complemented by Bluetooth 5.0, this can be activated by tapping four times on either side and a two-tone sound will play, tap another four times and it will play a different two-tone sound that reverts back to Music Mode, this takes getting used to as there isn’t a voice prompt to tell you which mode the earbuds are on.
The Gaming Mode works brilliantly and similarly on both earbuds, audio latency is significantly minimized as my gunshots in PUBG Mobile was heard instantly as soon as I tap on the shoot button, I also detect very little to no audio quality degradation when I am listening to music, reverting to Music Mode does result in better audio and I highly recommend you do that if not playing games.
Despite being budget wireless earbuds, audio performance isn’t disappointing. Since they are gamer centric earbuds, they tend to be more biased towards lower frequencies while maintaining flat mid-range and slight high frequencies.
Sound separation is average, which is expected for such budget wireless earbuds as lower frequency sound tend to distort high frequencies, so don’t expect them to sound good on multi–instrument songs such as orchestra and EDM music genres.
These earbuds present a totally different audio profile as the Hornet 1 has a brighter sound stage while the Hornet 3 is a lot warmer, although the latter offers a way better fit and seal due to its in-ear form factor, the Hornet 1 can sound very good if it came with a pair of rubberized ear tips, which is unfortunately not the case.
Despite being the first attempt at wireless earbuds, Armageddon has done an excellent job with the Hornet 1 and 3, they offer great features and audio performance that benefits mobile gamers, especially when many smartphones no longer come with a headphone jack and wired audio don’t really offer a pleasant mobile gaming experience with tangling wires and dongles.
Get these wireless gaming earbuds at Good Deals by KLGG with the following links and receive RM20 off your first purchase:
- Affordable with great features
- Excellent wireless performance
- Gaming Mode works as intended
- Hornet 3 has a superb battery life
The Not so Good
- No voice prompts when activating gaming mode
- Weak mid-range and high frequencies
- Hornet 1 touch controls can be better