Whilst the most fancy of visuals are usually seen as the initial draw of any game, the audio that powers along behind it is just as important. In fact, that audio has come to the fore with greater focus in recent times, with some games even ditching the visual experience for a full aural one; The Vale: Shadow of the Crown being the most prominent of those.
For many gamers then, the sounds that are piled into their ears as they play are just as important as the visuals which are thrust before their eyes, and we’d go as far to say that a decent set of cans – like the EPOS H6 PRO for instance – are an essential piece of gaming equipment. But what if you’re gaming on the move? What if you don’t want to be fully encased with a big headset? Well, that’s where a nice compact set of earbuds come in.
We’ve spoken previously of our love for the EPOS GTW 270 Hybrids, a set of earbuds that have become a daily driver for our gaming, and music, lives. But they aren’t cheap and whilst we don’t feel we could get through a day without them, alternatives must be available. That’s where EKSA come in with their cheap, but pretty cheerful, GT1 Cobra True Wireless Gaming Earbuds.
Whilst we can’t use these earbuds with our Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S consoles – at least not without some faffing around – the move of Cloud gaming onto our phones and laptops, with that adding Xbox Game Pass titles to becoming instantly available, means that earbuds can be a viable form of audio enjoyment for Xbox players. We’re not sure that the GT1’s are the best option to use, but if you’re running a budget and happy to put up with some foibles, they’d fill a gap.
EKSA are well known for providing decent audio equipment at a super easy-to-handle price. We’ve previously been heads on with their E900 Pro and E910 gaming headsets, fairly well impressed by what they have been able to do, albeit with some caveats. We’re not sold quite so much on the GT1’s though.
Any earbuds need to come complete with a simple-to-use and pocket case, but the futuristic, diamondy shape of the GT1’s case is far from the ideal shape to drop into your jeans pocket. Fairly chunky in size, with angles that aren’t particularly pleasant in the hand, it’s also not the easiest thing in the world to open. In fact, aside from a very slight slot at the front of the case, with which you need to get your fingers and nails into in order to prise open, we’d go as far to say that it’s near impossible to open otherwise. Simplicity is a key component of any gaming buds, especially as you’re likely to be putting them in and out of the case fairly often, but this one is just a hassle to use.
A big positive though is that the case is powered by a detachable USB-C cable, and so grabbing a cable, connecting it up and ensuring that the case – and therefore the buds – have power at all times is a cinch.
Once opened, the GT1 gaming buds are held neatly in place via magnets and a two-pin charging mechanism. They slot super easily into the right and left cutouts, easily grabable for when you are looking for that power.
Running an old-skool Airpods style look, complete with stalk, rubber earbuds and touch controls, the GT1’s actually look pretty decent in the ear, with some nice lighting to ensure that they look the part. They fit us well too and should really fit any ear type seeing as they come with three separate rubber bud sizes for the user to choose from. For us, we’ve found the middle-of-the-road option to fit well with our ears, but those preferring slightly larger or smaller buds are catered for.
Connection is fairly simple, although we have had issues with the right bud occasionally deciding to give up the ghost. A quick drop back into the case and recharge seems to fix it, but it’s all a bit of a faff if we’re honest – something that we don’t want to have to put up with on the daily.
There are also issues with actually using the GT1 gaming buds and this is due to the overly sensitive touch controls. As standard you’ve got the option to hold the bud for a couple of seconds in order to power on, to touch for three seconds to power off and to cover for a whole ten seconds in order to totally clear the pairing and shut the GT1’s down. These work fine, but it’s the tapping that causes issues.
See, a single tap of the buds will play and pause any sound and honestly you’ll find yourself inadvertently doing this more than you care to remember, with frustrations caused every single time you even dare adjust the fit and feel of the GT1’s. A couple of taps will switch you between music and game modes, whilst the voice assistant of your choice – Google Assistant in our case – is three touches away. The problem? Well, the GT1’s never consistently acknowledge the taps and so sometimes you’ll find yourself starting and stopping the audio, whilst other times the Assistant will kick in, and at others the game mode switch takes place. It’s highly inconsistent, comes with a slight delay and is utterly frustrating to use. It’s like the multi-function touch button is moving every single time you go to use it.
If you do get lucky, that same touch is used to take a phone call (and remember, for the most part these will be connected to your mobile device). This works well, albeit with that same slight lag.
It all sounds half decent too. Granted we’re not as enamoured with the sound quality as much as we have previously with our EPOS GTW’s, our uber-expensive Sony WF-1000 XM3’s or even our Pixel Buds, but for getting some quick solid gaming action in whilst on the go, the EKSA GT1 gaming earbuds stand up. On personal levels we’d like a bit more depth, but there is plenty of bass included and you can feel the power that the GT1’s are able to deliver. Others may feel differently here and so it would kind of make sense to see these dropped into a rucksack and picked out for a few quick minutes of gaming or music goodness.
But on the plus side, using this with Game Pass titles on our mobile, the stated 38MS of ultra-low latency ensures that you’re able to become well immersed in the game itself, with little lag from the on-screen action to that delivered to your ears. We’ve been pretty impressed with what EKSA have provided in fact.
With the promise of six hours or so of sound time and another thirty present from the case itself (something that seems about right) and a tad less than two hours for full charge (again, we’re happy to sit behind those numbers), there’s probably a place in the market for the EKSA GT1 Cobra True Wireless Gaming Earbuds, especially if you’re looking for a quick and easy set of buds that can be thrown into a bag for the occasional use.
Maybe you won’t be wanting to use these on the daily, but as a second or third alternative, the EKSA GT1’s just about do a job – but only if you can put up with the highly sensitive touch buttons.
Huge thanks go out to EKSA for providing us with the GT1 Cobra True Wireless Gaming Earbuds. If you wish to pick some up for yourself, head over to EKSA direct. They are also on Amazon.