Ausounds AU Stream ANC review: Impressive sound and active noise cancellation

Active noise cancellation is still a rarity when it comes to true wireless earbuds, and it’s generally an expensive feature, to boot. Enter the Ausounds AU Stream ANC earphones, a pair of relatively compact and comfortable Bluetooth earbuds that pack in impressive sound, a water-resistant design, and solid noise-cancellation abilities for a reasonable $150 price tag. We do have a few quibbles, however, including a so-so charging case, the lack of aptX support, and the fact that the microphones occasionally pick up wind noise.

Design

Measuring about 1.7 inches long and weighing about 0.4 ounces (for the pair), the black AU Stream ANC earbuds are slightly longer and about twice the weight of a pair of Apple AirPods, although that’s not to say that the earbuds (which are each equipped with 13mm titanium gold drivers) are anywhere near heavy.

ausounds au stream anc with airpod Ben Patterson/IDG

The AU Stream ANC earbuds are slightly longer than Apple AirPods.

The earbuds fit securely and comfortably in my ears, providing a snug seal without feeling like they were jammed in my ear canals, and I was able to jog and shake my head vigorously without fear of them slipping out. The default eartips fit my ears just fine, but you can always try one of the three additional sets of eartips for a more comfortable fit. The AU Stream ANC earbuds come with an IPX5 waterproof rating, good for resisting rain, splashing, or even low-pressure water from a nozzle or faucet.

Measuring about 2.3 x 2.1 by 1.7 inches, the included charging case is roughly twice the size of the diminutive AirPods charging case, but at just 1.5 ounces (minus the earbuds), it’s only a tiny bit heavier, which makes the case feel pleasingly light.

ausounds au stream anc with airpod case Ben Patterson/IDG

The charging case for the AU Stream ANC earbuds is about twice as big as the AirPods charging case, but it’s only a tiny bit heavier, which makes the case feel pleasingly light.

Open the case and you’ll see a four-level LED indicator that shows you (depending on the situation) the remaining charge in the case’s integrated battery, the charging status of the earbuds, or whether the earbuds are in pairing mode. A USB-C charging port sits on the bottom of the case, and a charging cable is included (no AC adapter, however).

While the AU Stream ANC earbuds fit snugly into the case’s magnetized receptacles, the case’s lid is a bit of a problem. Because the lid only opens so far, the eartips on the earbuds consistently caught on the lid when I pulled them out or put them back in. It’s not a huge problem, but it’ll be a bummer for anyone accustomed to the flawless operation of the AirPods case.

ausounds au stream anc case caught Ben Patterson/IDG

During my tests, the tip of the AU Stream ANC earbuds frequently got caught on the lid of its charging case.

Features

The signature feature for the AU Stream ANC earbuds is right there in the name: yes, we’re talking active noise cancellation, a feature we rarely see in “true” wireless earbuds. Indeed, one of the few examples wireless earbuds we’ve seen with active noise cancelling is the Sony WF-1000XM3Remove non-product link, which (as of this writing) sells on Amazon for a cool $228.

To turn on noise cancelling, you just tap and hold the touch-sensitive button on one of the earbuds; a double-beep tells you that ANC is enabled, while a longer beep indicates that the feature is turned off. We’ll get into the AU Stream ANC’s actual noise-cancelling performance in a moment.