Since reviewing the Dudios Tic a few months ago, I have been craving a new model of earbud that just slightly elevates my experience based on my one main gripe: on-ear volume control. Here, before me, on this day, stands the Dudios M3 true wireless earbuds V5.0, with none other than on-ear volume control; but is it everything I dreamed of, and have they sacrificed anything to add this feature? Let's find out!
Opening the packaging, I noticed that the form factor of this rechargeable case shares more than a few similarities with the Apple Air Pod case. The glossy white curved case is a really nice change in pace from the previous versions I have tested that were relatively bulkier, as it feels great in your hands and just has a great shape to clutch on to and store in your pockets or bag. Compared to the previous models, this one also integrates a USB-C socket, bringing a much-needed update to the core components, and allowing them to charge on virtually all of my current devices around the home. Included in the packaging are the four sizes of rubber grommets (S/M/L/XL), the operating instructions and a forgivable yet horrendously short USB-C charging cable. Sure we all use devices today that have this connection and I'm glad they updated from the USB micro you have on the Dudios Tic and Dudios Shuttles, but still, a 15cm cable just is not enough if you wanted to charge from the mains behind your nightstand. I appreciate the gesture of providing the cable, but I also reject the idea that this is a reasonable length for any level of usefulness. Luckily I have heaps strewn around my abode, and even my PS5 controller cable can be used to charge whilst I play. (Before you ask: no these do not successfully pair to either the PS4 or the PS5 as they are recognised, begin pairing and then an error is thrown by the console stating that these devices are not supported).
The front of the case contains the obligatory four LED's used to indicate battery power left in 25% increments, which is ideal for a fast visual inspection when, perhaps, you're leaving the house in a rush. It takes just one and a half hours to charge these with the USB-C cable and this gives you five hours of charge for the device and four recharges from the case, which adds up to the 25hr total battery life that I honestly cannot quibble with. The M3's lasted me an entire week without even thinking about needing to charge them. The buds themselves snap magnetically into the case with a satisfyingly strong pull. When combined with the magnetic lid there is next to no chance of these accidentally falling out in your bag. They're lightweight, easy to stow and have a waterproof rating of IPX7 that covers ingress protection of small particles and water up to 30 minutes under one-meter immersion. These are absolutely built to last.
The sound quality of these buds is exquisite. Emanating from a 10mm deep bass driver, the M3 delivers rich, solid sound without compromise. Even at full, ear-drum piercing volume, I witnessed zero distortion and a very pleasing audio profile even without any EQ in between. These have a frequency response of 20HZ up to 20KHZ and honestly have a very punchy sound with a strong nod to the lower end sounds whilst maintaining clarity on vocals. Overall I was more than impressed with the quality of sound these produced for a range of genres. In comparison to the Tic and Shuttles: I prefer the sound of the M3 buds. There is a smoothness to these that is only slightly different to the previous ones I have reviewed; however, the bass reflex and overall sound profile is near perfect in my humble opinion. The comfort level of these buds is terrific too as after 2-3hr session with these on I found that my ears didn't ache, and at no point did I feel like they were going to wiggle loose and drop out. They seat nicely into your ear canal and press firmly in, and at first it is possible to accidentally press the buttons, but after a couple of goes it is very easy to learn to avoid this going forward.
It has to be said that the on-ear volume controls are an absolute godsend. Up until now, I have always had to whip out my phone to adjust volume, or in a pinch, squeeze the volume buttons on my phone through my pocket if I was unable to physically get my phone out. Dudios always has combinations of button clicks or holds to perform on the buds themselves to facilitate features like pausing, next/previous track and evoking your digital assistant, but now they have included the ability to tap once on the left to increase volume, or once on the right to decrease volume. I worked out that there are 16 clicks of volume to get from zero to maximum, and as, on average, I have my volume around 40-50%, it takes around 4 clicks to adjust the volume up or down depending on your needs in the situation.
One thing I noticed that wasn't present in the documentation or on the box, is that of "CVC 8.0 Noise Cancelling". Not to be confused with ANC or active noise cancelling, CVC is Clear Voice Capture for use on calls via the microphone. The capabilities are that the microphone should filter out ambient sounds up to around 30dB allowing for the person you’re on a call with to hear you a lot more clearly. This is superb and works really well for calls and even voice recordings, but what would have been really killer: actual noise cancelling to cut ambient sound when listening to music. It's not to say that these are in any way worse than any other earbuds (if anything they're just as good if not better at sealing the music into your ear, and keeping background noise out via their four rubber grommets), it’s just that there is no noise cancelling at all and that, honestly, could have produced an absolutely perfect review score.
As far as day to day use goes, the Dudios M3's have now become my mains. I cannot stress just how excellent these are in doing everything I want in a set of earbuds, and doing it fantastically. Dudios have several other models that tout slightly more refined features such as other models having 56-70 hrs battery life, but these ones tick all my boxes and provide me with ample power beyond my personal needs. Should Dudios ever make a pair exactly the same as these, with a slightly larger capacity in the case and somehow shoehorn true active noise cancelling into them, then that will be the only time I will come close to considering replacing these as my go-to earbuds.
Overall (9.5 out of 10)
I absolutely adore these headphones. The sheer audacity to do almost everything in one £28 package seems impossible: yet somehow Dudios have done it! I'm actually flabbergasted that I have nothing else to whine about other than lack of ANC noise cancelling, but for such an astonishing price I cannot say anything other than they are simply amazing value for money.