When TCL tossed three pairs of headphones and earbuds into a box and shipped them to my doorstep, I was excited for a Loot Crate-style look at the lineup it hopes will garner respect in the personal audio world. My “haul” consisted of the true wireless SOCL500 earbuds, some on-ears with active noise cancellation in the MTRO200NC, and a pair of Onkyo-branded over-ear headphones with a similar skillset and purporting to deliver hi-res audio.
I’m the kind of guy who, on a hike, will trip over a cactus because I wasn’t paying attention. I run my earbuds through the washing machine, scratch up my sunglasses, and drop my phone while jogging. And as someone who hates even the smallest signs of wear and tear, my clumsiness is often at odds with my ability to own nice things. So I buy cheap versions of nice things for exactly those situations.