The Alpha & Delta Elite is a TWS featuring a single 6mm dynamic driver, Bluetooth 5.0, and a standby time of 60 hours. It is priced at $79.00. It is also currently on Drop for a discounted $40 until the 14th of October 2020.
Disclaimer: The Alpha & Delta Elite sent to us is a sample in exchange for our honest opinion. We thank the team Lend Me Ur Ears for giving us this opportunity.
To read more about Alpha & Delta products we have reviewed on Headfonics, click here.
Note, this review follows our new scoring guidelines for 2020 which you can read up on here.
Alpha & Delta was founded in Singapore by a group of audiophiles with experience in the audio industry. The offerings that they have in their line up just say a lot about that, as their products include IEM cables, dongle DAC’s and IEMs.
With roots in the audiophile community and experience in producing quite a few successful IEM products, Alpha & Delta has already made quite a name for themselves in the audiophile community. When they contacted us to do a review on their latest TWS release, I was quite excited to find more about their latest offering.
With the new Alpha & Delta Elite in my hands, I’m looking forward to finding out how their audiophile roots would play into their take on a TWS headset.
The Elite utilizes a Qualcomm QCC 3020 Bluetooth chipset that features low power consumption and Qualcomm’s True Wireless Plus. Qualcomm’s TrueWireless Stereo Plus facilitates a more seamless connection of the TWS earbuds to your Bluetooth device by automatically initiating pairing once the 1st earbud has already been connected to the phone.
This chipset also can seamlessly switch from mono mode to stereo mode. Furthermore, accessing the Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant is enabled with just a touch of a button. With these features, the 3020 chip is a great place to build a TWS headset around.
The IPX rating is a standard that has been used in many industry standards, and they also apply to TWS headsets. The 1st number in the rating is the rating for protection against dust ingress, and the 2nd number is the rating for protection against liquid ingress, where a higher number will indicate a higher level of rated protection.
The 1st number on the IP rating for the Elite is an X, which means it is not certified for any dust ingress protection, while the 2nd number is 5. This means that the device is rated for protection against water ingress from weaker water jets from all directions. This kind of rating will ensure that the Elite will be able to withstand sweat from any workout, but should never be submerged.
While most TWS earbuds just ship with the standard SBC codec, Alpha & Delta decided to ship their Elite TWS earbuds with AptX. This enables the Elite to receive signals up to 16-bit 48khz, which is at least double the resolution over ones that only run SBC.
For Apple users out there, Alpha & Delta did not forget to add AAC codec functionality into the Elite as well.
The Elite TWS is on the smaller side of TWS earbuds, and this means that everything has to be fit into a small package. I think one of the things that are sacrificed with the Elite is call quality. Since the mic has to be fit inside such a small earbud, I think my voice doesn’t quite reach it properly.
Alpha & Delta decided to use 6mm dynamic drivers inside the Elite earbuds. They are tuned to be clear and have a bassy punch to them according to the official specifications on their website. With their background in creating wired IEMs, I’m sure that Alpha & Delta probably brought over some of their know-how into squeezing the most out of these 6mm dynamic drivers.
The 2 earbuds are made of the same durable plastic material as the case, with a rubberized black coating. This robust build quality of the Elite are fairly durable and look like they can take a knock or two or drop and survive during everyday use.
The channels are clearly distinguished between left and right, as they are shaped to conform to either the left or the right ear. This makes it fairly easy to insert into the right ear which can often be harder than you think with some TWS design such as the Sony flagships.
Each earbud is also equipped with LED lights that would indicate the status of the earbud. Red for when it’s charging, a blinking green light would mean that the earbuds are pairing with your phone, and a solid green light would mean that it’s fully charged.
If it’s totally black, and are inside the carrying case, it means that the earbuds are not charging, probably because the case doesn’t have any more battery to charge it.
Comfort & Isolation
The earbuds of the Elite are on the smaller side, and this helps quite a bit with comfort, as they don’t quite touch my ears that much. The ear tips on the Elite are the special type that only TWS earbuds use, the ones that have very short stems, and just protrude beyond the nozzle very little.
I believe that the choice of ear tips on the Elite is spot on, as changing the ear tips messed up with the sound more, so I stuck with the stock tips on these.
Overall comfort is good on the Elite, as they’re light because of their size. Although wearing them for upwards of 4 hours might be bothersome, as they did with me. While the ear tips seem to be the smaller type, they tend to seal quite well none the less, and they really make a good seal inside my ear canal.
The available commands through touch controls on the Elite are extensive.
Pressing either earbud once will toggle between pause and play, double-tapping on the left earbud will be the previous track, while double-tapping on the right earbud will be the next track. Pressing and holding on the left earbud will bring the volume down while pressing and holding the right earbud will ring the volume up.
While the available control functions on the Elite are quite complete, the reaction time of the controls is not as fast as I would have wanted them to be. Especially when trying to do volume up or down, I usually overshoot the volume level I want and end up adjusting the volume on my phone instead.
This is one of the smallest charging cases that I’ve ever seen with a pair of TWS earbuds. It just fits the earbuds, and is quite light as well, so carrying it around all day would never become a burden.
The charge indicator on the case could have been better though There’s just a single LED light that’s green when the battery level is from 20% to 100%, and it changes to a slightly yellower shade of green when the battery level drops below 20%. It was a bit confusing to me at first, as I couldn’t tell how much battery was available in the case of the Elite.
Not being able to tell the battery level on the Elite is a problem also, as some functionality of the earbuds is contingent on the case having some battery.
When the case drops below 20%, the case won’t charge the earbuds, and this means that the earbuds will not automatically disconnect from my phone even when the earbuds are in the case. This is something that has to be checked especially before going to bed because it made me miss my alarm the next morning.
On the box of the Elite, it says that the rated battery life is at 4-5 hours, and that’s pretty accurate. I was able to get around 4 hours off of a single charge with the Elite. The case has enough battery life to charge the earbuds for at least 3 full charges, so these would definitely last through the day.
Charging the earbuds to a useable level through the case is also quite fast, as I was able to get from 0% to 30% in just 15 minutes. According to the box, the case would be fully charged within an hour of charging, but it was difficult for me to assess, as the indicator just turns green as soon as the battery level of the case goes beyond 20%.
It’s also a nice touch that Alpha & Delta decided on using a USB type C connector on the charging case, which is simply more convenient.
Packaging & Accessories
The Alpha & Delta Elite TWS comes in a simple graphic printed slimline white box. Inside, the TWS are nestled in a plastic tray that also holds a short USB-C to USB-A cable, an additional 2 pairs of ear tips to make sure that you get the right fit, and of course the case of the earbuds.
The earbuds are inside the case and have a removable plastic film that separates the earbuds from the charging case. This is to ensure that the TWS earbuds haven’t been charging the whole time that it was on the store shelves. Do not forget to remove this.
While in terms of accessories, the Elite doesn’t offer much extra, the box is practical and sufficiently secure for when the Elite might get dropped as they are being shipped to you.
According to their website, the Alpha & Delta Elite earbuds are built to have clear and bassy sound. And with what I hear from the earbuds, they do deliver quite a bit of bass quantity. I can hear that these are designed for someone who loves a good amount of bass, but at the same time wants a good quality to the bass frequencies.
The bass region tends to be punchy, and clear, just like how they are advertised to be. The sub-bass on the Elite is also present but dips a bit when compared to the mid-bass region. The overall bass presentation emphasizes a punchy bassline that can be found in most modern pop music.
Since the Elite is designed to be clear and bassy, the midrange on the Elite tends to be a bit recessed when compared to the bass region. Although the overall midrange presentation is detailed enough, I would have wanted a bit more texturization on the vocal range overall.
While the Elite has a great bass region, I believe that the bass on the Elite tends to overshadow the potential for the midrange on the Elite. When there is a bassline playing at the same time as the vocals, the bass tends to bleed through the otherwise clear midrange.
Although I’m not the biggest fan of treble, I still end up wanting to have a certain amount of treble, as long as it’s of good quality. With the Elite, I can say that the quality of the treble tends to be smooth, and I find it articulate. The treble is clear and controlled, not at all splashy.
When it comes to quantity though, I find myself looking for a bit more sparkle. Although the treble is clear and smooth, I would have wanted the treble to shine through a bit more. When the passage of the song has just cymbals, the treble seems to be well defined, but once vocals or a bassline is playing together with the treble, the treble tends to be relegated to the background.
Soundstage & Imaging
With the overall warmer tonality of the Elite, I expected that soundstage would suffer quite a bit. However, I’m quite impressed at the width of the soundstage that the Elite can create. It’s a few inches out of my head, but that creates a bit of space that ensures that the Elite would not end up feeling congested.
Imaging is a bit of a different story though, as the center image that is created by the Elite doesn’t seem to be too coherent. Although it’s there inside my head, the image it creates doesn’t have that pinpoint accuracy.
Connecting the earbuds to my phone was not that difficult. Connecting just 1 of the earbuds manually would automatically initiate paring with the other earbud once it’s removed from the case.
When the earbud that was connected manually is returned to the case, the connection to the other earbud will be lost momentarily, but the Elite is smart enough to recover the connection quickly.
Successively reconnecting to the earbuds is also a seamless experience, as they connect to my phone automatically after manually pairing them to my phone for the first time. Even when I have already connected to different Bluetooth devices after my first manual pairing of the Elite, the connection to my phone is still automatic.
The Elite is also suitable for watching videos on the go, and maybe playing some games, as I wasn’t able to notice any latency between the audio and the video signal. When I tried measuring the latency to find out if there is any, I found that the audio seems to be lagging the video by around 3mS. Something that I can barely notice when I play games or watch videos.
Stability & Range
The range of the connection is also quite good, as I was able to walk around the house without any drops. I was even able to go beyond 10 meters with some walls in between, and the connection was still solid.
At double the price, the Fem has a few more bell and whistles when compared to the Elite. One of the first things that I notice with the Sudio Fem is the difference in the size of the charging case.
The Fem has a larger round case, but I think the slightly larger case is worth it. The larger case features 4 LEDs that indicate battery level, which makes it easier to charge it at the proper time.
Total playtime on both earbuds though is about the same. While the Fem’s earbuds tend to hold a bit more charge when compared to the Elite, the bigger charging case of the Fem hold a bit less when compared to the Elite. So it’s just a bit of ‘give and take’ between the 2 components.
With the bigger case, also comes a slightly larger earbud. The slightly larger earbud also features 4 ambient noise reduction mics inside the earbud. I think this helps call quality a bit, as the person on the other end of the line asks me to repeat what I say less often than when I’m using the Elite.
Both earbuds also offer the same IPx5 protection, so this means that both of them can be used in the gym with no problems at all. One of the main things that I miss from the Elite when I used the Fem though is the AptX Bluetooth codec, as the FEM only provides for SBC.
Tonality on the 2 TWS earbuds are quite different though, where the Elite leaned towards the more fun sound, the Fem tends to have a more even-handed tonality. What I particularly liked with the Fem is the treble response when compared to the Elite, as the Fem’s treble is more elevated when compared to the Elite.
Soundstage and imaging on the 2 are quite similar in terms of size, but I would give a slight edge to the Fem when it comes to creating a more accurate image. I wouldn’t say that either of the 2 can create an accurate image though.
At double the price, most of the additional features would be expected of the Fem. However, the Elite can offer good value, while just scrimping a bit on the features that might not be used as often.
Another TWS earbud at around double the price of the Elite, and of course, it has quite a few features that are added to its arsenal.
One thing that I’m quick to notice is the significantly larger charging case. The charging case of the AFT 2 is about double the volume occupied by the one with the Elite, so this might not be the most convenient thing to bring along.
The AFT2 also has a nicer battery indicator, as it displays 4 battery levels like the one on the Sudio Fem. The charging case of the AFT2 also has a slide mechanism that’s very satisfying to slide out, unlike the more common flip top on the Elite.
With the larger case, comes quite a bit more battery life, with about 35hours of battery available. However, I don’t see the need for the added battery, as the Elite can run for a whole day without any issues, and charging the earbuds once I get home won’t be too much of a problem anyway.
Both earbuds have the AptX codec available, so streaming CD-quality music on either won’t be a problem. Both TWS IEM’s are also rated for IPx5, which makes them suitable for splashes, and of course use in a gym.
Design & Controls
One thing to note between the 2 TWS earbuds though, is the size of the earbuds. The AFT2 tends to be a bit too large for my ears, which makes it less comfortable to me when compared to the Elite.
Touch controls on the AFT2 are also slightly more responsive, and smarter. Audiofly seems to have put a bit more thought into the controls of the AFT2. If there is just 1 earbud, volume controls and fast forward would become impractical, as there is no way to counteract the command that you just issued to the earbud. The AFT2 automatically disables volume controls when there is just 1 earbud in use, while it still works with the Elite, which can leave me stuck at an extremely high volume or low volume that I can only change by touching my phone.
Tonality on the AFT2 is quite different when compared to the Elite, as the AFT2 tends to have a tamer bass region comparatively. This gives the AFT2 a slightly thinner sound character when compared to the Elite.
The midrange and treble are about the same on both though. The timbre characteristic of the AFT2 is slightly more nuanced though. The soundstage on both is about the same width, but I can hear a more coherent center image on the AFT2 when compared to the Elite.
At double the price, the AFT2 would have a few things that are just a notch above the Elite. While the AFT2 has a slight edge over the Elite when it comes to sound quality, the AFT2 is difficult to wear for more than an hour for me due to their size. So I think all these features and improvements would be difficult to enjoy if the TWS earbuds end up being too uncomfortable to wear.
At $79, the Alpha & Delta Elite offers a great value proposition. While the Elite tends to lean towards the warmer side, but it’s still quite enjoyable. I would have wanted to hear a slightly more elevated treble on the Elite though.
Alpha & Delta designed the Elite with sound quality in mind, while removing some extra features that would increase the cost. For the sound quality it offers, I can say that the Elite is a great value when compared to other TWS earbuds.
Alpha & Delta Elite Specifications
- Bluetooth version: 5.0
- Bluetooth Chipset: Qualcomm QCC3020
- Battery capacity: 40 mah
- Charging box capacity: 300 mah
- Bluetooth range: 10m
- Music playback time: 4-5hours (dual mode)
- 5-6 hours (single mode)
- Talking time: 6 hours
- Charging port: Type-C
- Sensitivity: 97 +/- 3dB
- Charging Volt: 5.0 V
- Working Volt: 3.7V
- Microphone sensitivity: 42 +/- 3dB
- Built-in microphone: Yes