AQL Escape Review: The Cheap Alternative to AirPods?

In this review we will analyze the True Wireless AQL Escape, a product designed for lovers of headphones without a rubber pad.

I know AQL (Audio Quality Lab) is a brand that sounds completely new to you, you will know for sure Cellularline. The very Italian company from Reggio Emilia that produces accessories for smartphones has in fact wanted to create its own brand focused solely and exclusively on audio devices.

The release of the new True Wireless AQL Escape who abandon the in-ear form factor, embracing a capsule design, will it represent a valid alternative at an affordable price for those who hate tires? You just have to find out in our review!

The Packaging – AQL Escape Review

What can I say… Cellularline has always given a premium imprint to the packaging of its products and AQL does the same, if not even better. Enclosed in a book opening box, the AQL Escape has an excellent presentation. As you can see from the images, if on the left we can see a small list of the available features, on the right we have the earphones and the case in plain sight, below which there is a small box containing, in addition to the instruction booklet, a short USB-C cable.

Already at first glance we noticed how the case had some really small size. In fact, this has a height of 5.5 cm, a maximum width of about 5 cm and is often less than 2 cm. With the’Type-C entry on the bottom, the AQL logo printed on the front, plus ben 4 LEDs that indicate the remaining battery (and blink in case of paring), the case allows you to recharge the earphones 6 times.

All this, while maintaining a really negligible weight: solo 42 grams with the earphones inside. Weight that appears to be such thanks (or fault) of the materials used. Having this case in our hands, we realized how the invoice was not exactly first choice. A glossy finish surrounds the plastic that makes up this case, and although it has a scratch-resistant treatment, it didn’t particularly convince us. Not even the steel hinge was able to guarantee a high-quality feeling with regard to the opening mechanism, which is firmly fixed thanks to the magnets, but tends to close too easily.

The Earphones – AQL Escape Review

Let’s see now how these earphones are built in detail. Speaking of the materials, everything we have written on the case can also be applied to the TWS, with the difference that in this case it turns out to be a plus. Yes why the plastic they are made of makes these earphones really light (only 2 grams per earphone) and really turn out pleasant to wear. The design recalls Apple’s AirPods, with the case without a rubber pad that rests in conjunction with the auditory hole.

The all-plastic composition sees exceptions, such as the metal speaker retina, a led that will indicate the paring status on the rod and the two golden pins at the bottom, for recharging. These earphones come with well two microphones: the main one always on the underside, while the one to capture background noises on the rear side of the speaker. Cash that is the right size, making these earphones feel comfortable regardless of the wearer’s ear type. Despite the lightness, the weight And well distributed and the rod (about 4cm long) holds them firmly. Even doing light sports they are stable, but they are not designed for this use since they do not have any IP certification. Such a pity!

Let’s see the various ones together gestures that can be activated with the touch controls on the bar:

  • 1 tap on the right earphone: turn up the volume
  • 1 tap on the left earphone: turn down the volume
  • 2 taps on any headset: play or pause media content / answer or end a call
  • 2 long touches on the right earbud: next song
  • 2 long touches on the left earphone: previous track
  • 3 taps on any headset: voice assistant.

As you can see, the available commands are many and we have not encountered any problems or delays in activating them. In addition, in several cases there will be a sound feedback to notify us that the gesture has been successfully activated.

AQL Escape Review: The Cheap Alternative to AirPods?

Sound Quality – AQL Escape Review

We assume that those who choose to buy a pair of non-in-ear headphones are aware that the sound quality is not exactly meant for audiophiles. This is because there is a lack of isolation on the part of the grommets, which not only attenuate background noise, but channel the sound directly into the ear canal. These AQL Escape, But they surprised us. In the various reproductions made by us, the high frequencies stood out more, followed by bass which, despite the form factor are well present, and finally the less crystal clear mid frequencies.

Clear that a small part of the sounds will not be perfectly projected into our ear due to their shape, but they are undoubtedly promoted. The merit of the sound bill is certainly due to the codec Qualcomm aptX: a technology that compresses audio in real time, so as to provide high quality sound via Bluetooth. A slight distortion of the melody occurs at maximum volume which is really high and it will be difficult for you to use them in this way.

The AQL Escape earphones they are not equipped with ANC and, therefore, we will be able to hear the background noises due to the lack of both active and passive reduction. The microphone on the back of the speaker comes into play when we make calls through theEnvironment Noise Cancrelling. This technology substantially eliminates the surrounding noises to ensure that our interlocutor receives what we say well. On the calling side too, these earbuds performed really well. The quality of the microphone is clear and precise. The only drawback is that with a strong ambient noise (like the wind) even the ENC struggles. All in all, good in this area too!

As for connectivity, no problems to report. As soon as they are taken out of the case, the earphones emit a sound and start flashing, ready to be connected. The connection was always made lightning fast and thanks to theAutoparing with which they are equipped, the earphones synchronize instantly with each other. In case you want to use one of the 2 earphones, But, you would be forced to wear the left one, that is the main one.

The battery is average with the various models on the market, with a play time of about 4: 30/5 hours, and a recharge of both the case and the earphones for about a couple of hours from scratch. The positive side is that the case is able to provide 6 complete refills while maintaining a truly negligible size!

AQL Escape Review: The Cheap Alternative to AirPods?

Let’s sum it up

These AQL Escape are placed in a medium market range, with a recommended price of € 69.95 and two colors: black and white. It is true that there are not many of this kind of earphones, often making the choice fall on high quality models, or too low. In our opinion, this model is suitable for those looking for comfort in use daily prolonged since their lightness will make you forget you have them in your ears. This, combined with the good sound quality, are the main reasons to buy these Escapees.

Obviously, at a not so high price we have some shortcomings, such as the ANC (which we can understand) or an IP certification (less justifiable) which would certainly have made them more versatile. However, if you are looking for a much less expensive alternative to the classic AirPods, AQL Escape are the earphones that they could really be for you!

A good alternative, with a few buts

Points in favor

  • Extreme convenience
  • Small and light case
  • Fast and precise connectivity
  • Good sound quality despite the form factor

Points against

  • Medium / low quality of materials
  • Lack of IP certification