Review: Dyplay ANC Shield Pro — Nextgen features for under $100
Dyplay ANC Shield Pro
A great little pair of earbuds that sound great and deliver the latest features for under $100. Active Noise Cancelation, direct communications between buds and device, Bluetooth 5.0 and USB-C add up to a well-design experience, save for taking them out of the charging case, which requires sticky fingers or finesse.
Dyplay is not the first name that comes to mind of when shopping for personal audio products. It may not even be on the list. But it should be. Dyplay has engineered some powerful in-ear monitors (IEMs) with the dyplay ANC Shield Pro.
Why In-Ear Monitors (IEM) and not earbuds?
For many, the ANC Shield Pros are still earbuds. Those who like to play with classifications, and I am one of those, put devices like this in the IEM category because they fit into the ear, not on it. Earbuds dangle near the ear canal, while IEMs go inside the ear canal. To many, these are still earbuds, true wireless earbuds–to audiophiles, they are IEMs. I thought I would use the term IEM this go around since dyplay did not say “true wireless earbuds” in their product description–and see if readers care or not about what they are called, or if search engines point to this post more often.
What I like
First of all, active noise cancelation (ANC) in an IEM under $100. And its pretty good. It’s not large Bose headphones over the ear good, but for an IEM it works very well, pushing most of the background noise into the realm of a dull afterthought.
The chips and the hardware work in concert to deliver excellent sound quality. The 9.2mm dynamic drivers with custom composite diaphragms deliver a good range of highs and lows. And ANC transforms the experience completely, isolating the sound I choose to listen to. With ANC on I feel like my choice is the priority–outside noise be damned!
The combination of well-designed sound generation hardware with Bluetooth 5.0 offers a more seamless experience at a distance than I have found with similarly-sized earbuds running only Bluetooth 4.2. Dyplay leverages the Airoha AB1552x chip with Mcsync TWS to provide audio transport, noise cancelation—along with things like onboard memory, touch control, and echo cancelation. The chip handles feedforward with feedback in a dual microphone configuration to reduce background noise. With ANC off, passthrough mode allows ambient sound to stream through, allowing people to talk to each other, and hear the sounds of the world while walking.
The most impressive thing about these IEMs? Movement away from the headphones creating stereo by pairing with one another after an initial device connection. The dyplay ANC Shield Pro employs a dual master connection. These IEMs talk directly to the device individually. This improves latency as well as the ability to seamlessly switch between stereo and mono should that be necessary (by removing either earbud).
I like that the packaging is dual English/Chinese. Why create new packaging for a secondary market for a product at this price point. That said, the quality and quickstart cards arrive in Chinese only. The quickstart card would benefit from a reverse written in English (I don’t know what I’m missing!)
I like that the majority of the packaging is all cardboard. No plastic beyond the little bags holding the charging cables and ear tips, and a small band around the case. A foam insert holds the Shield Pros in place during shipment. It takes a minute to remove the tight-fitting top of the box off, but the wait is worth it.
Charging via USB-C is also a plus, completing the trifecta of modern features: ANC, Bluetooth 5.0, and USB-C charging. And that’s just the starters. The intricacies of simultaneous pairing, ambient sound passthrough, and the easy switch between stereo and mono don’t show up when you just look at the device, but they are all hidden in the hardware and the software, and they all work flawlessly, creating a solid user experience.
What could be improved
Like many IEMs is a charging case, the slickness of the “bud” makes it difficult. So getting them out of the case, and into the ears can be a bit tricky at times. I have dropped them once or twice as I extracted them from the case. Dyplay should consider some texture on the buds to provide a little help with grip.
The dyplays arrived with cool neon orange silicon inserts. They do look cool, but they don’t make much of an ear seal. Luckily the ANC also arrives with memory phone eartips, which are much better. They don’t look as good first time out of the box (no logo to ear tip color connection) but trust me, they work better, and create a snugger fit for security and sound. The memory foam ear tips should be the standard. Dyplay gets points for including them. They would get even more points for acknowledging them on the product literature, and on shopping destinations like Amazon.
Sometimes I found my dyplay IEMs still connected to my phone after I put them in the case. This caused some issues, as my phone was still routing sound to my IEMs in a drawer, and not to their own speakers. Second, the IEMs were on, draining the case battery, along with depleting their own charge. I now carefully watch that the IEMs disengage from my phone (via the audio icon in the upper right corner) before putting them in the drawer.
Dyplay ANC Sheild Pro: The Bottom Line
My dyplay ANC Shield Pro IEMs now go where I go. They are paired to my iPhone. They act as my interface now between streaming music, podcasts, and video while I’m out of the house or office. They aren’t perfect, but they are pretty impressive. They could be easier to pry from the case, and they could be more consistent in the on-off function. But the sound, and the features that emphasize the audio experience, are well executed. Wearing the dyplay ANC Shield Pro IEMs is a pleasure. An outstanding IEM under $100, that look as good as they sound.
Daniel W. Rasmus, Founder and Principal Analyst of Serious Insights, is an internationally recognized speaker on the future of work and education. He is the author of several books, including Listening to the Future and Management by Design.