If there’s one thing you’ll learn from using the Edifier Hecate GM5 earbuds, it’s that choosing true wireless earbuds over a gaming headset doesn’t have to be a compromise.
Of course, you aren’t getting that same cinematic level of sound quality, nor the option to fully customise audio profiles. However, earbuds are typically seen as more convenient and, unlike most headsets, can be used outside of gaming in your everyday life.
Touted by Edifier as an affordable alternative to Apple’s AirPods – they’re just $59.99 from Edifier directly – the Hecate GM5 earbuds come with a gamer-centric twist andhave been a welcome surprise. Although not compatible with home consoles (including PS5 and Xbox Series X|S) they’ve become a permanent fixture in my PC and mobile gaming setup. Beyond that, I find myself reaching for the GM5s just as often as I do the much pricier EPOS GTW 270s.
This is mainly thanks to their quick and seamless wireless connectivity via Bluetooth 5.2, paired with Qualcomm aptX adaptive audio. The sound resolution provided by their 12mm drivers is surprisingly rich and the bass is deep and layered, underlining the performance of these affordable earbuds. Edifier also promise an impressive 40 hours of playback time, the earbuds holding 8 hours of charge with the charging case supplying an additional 32 hours of juice.
Although sound quality and battery life are king, grip and comfort will always make or break a pair of earbuds for me. When shopping for a new pair, you can’t tell how good they’ll be in this respect just by looking at them.
The smooth finish and rounded half-in ear design of the Hecate GM5 earbuds has me thinking they’d get loose or drop out with little to no force. However, even during intense workouts, or when I was exposed to harsh weather, they refused to budge. With an IPX5 waterproof rating, you don’t have to be overly protective of them either.
Edifier do more than simply label these earbuds as suitable for gaming. There are some handy features built into the GM5s that make them suitable for listening, watching, or playing your favourite media, switching between modes on-the-fly. There’s low latency, a dedicated gaming mode, for instance, while each earbud is fitted with dual microphones for noise cancellation, allowing clear comms with your teammates in-game.
Due to their featherweight, compact design, there’s no room for buttons or dials on the Hecate earbuds. Weighing just 4 grams, there was no way Edifier could add pushable buttons as earbuds would likely become dislodged whenever pressing them, so they instead have a single touch point, allowing you to control them and activate the various built-in features by tapping multiple times or holding down for multiple seconds. A double tap on either will pause or play media on a connected device, while a triple tap on your left ear will activate ambient mode.
They can be tricky to use at first though I soon found myself adjusting to them. If you want to use the GM5s as your primary mobile headphones there are some call features in there too, you’ll just have to memorise which ear to tap and how many times!
Besides the Hecate earbuds themselves and their jazzy charging case, you’ll also receive a protective silicone pouch with an attachable strap for easy transport. All components come stored in a plain black box with a shiny silver cardboard sleeve. The packaging is given a distinct “gamer” look using a red plastic film at the front, as if you’re peering at the earbuds through some kind of cyberpunk visor.