When we talk about true wireless headphones, we think of the big audio brands or the tech giants. But some manufacturers prefer to attack the market by slashing prices. This is the case with Lidl headphones: the SilverCrest, which we tested for you.
After launching true wireless headphones in in-ear format that fit completely in the ear, SilverCrest, the supplier of Lidl, has this time decided to tackle the Airpods with its second model. But is the quality of the headphones for 25 euros worth all the fuss they caused? This is what we will see in this complete test. If these headphones do not have an official name, they are referred to as STSK 2 C3. It is therefore under this sweet name that we will qualify them in this test.
Lidl Headphones Datasheet
|Frequency range||20 – 20 000 Hz|
|Headphones autonomy||Up to three hours|
|Housing battery||550 mAh|
This test was performed with headphones provided to us by Lidl.
A design very inspired by AirPods
First of all, there is no question here of comparing Lidl’s headphones to AirPods. The headphones developed by SilverCrest are launched at a price of 25 euros. This is nine times lower than Apple’s models with their wireless charging box, offered at 229 euros. While it is obvious that the headphones are heavily inspired by AirPods in terms of design, Silvercrest is not the only manufacturer to have sought inspiration from Cupertino. This is also the case with the Xiaomi Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 Basic, at 40 euros to name just one example at an affordable price.
Nevertheless, it is clear that the inspiration for AirPods did not stop only with headphones. The STSK 2 C3 case is also strongly reminiscent of the AirPods charging case with its pebble-shaped format. Note also that the case offers a rather simple opening just using your thumb, even if the headphones themselves are not easy to remove. Unlike AirPods, there is no question here of glossy white color: SilverCrest has chosen matte black. Only the case cover offers metal finishes even if it is indeed plastic. We especially regret the propensity of the case to capture fingerprints despite its matt appearance. It will get dirty very quickly.
Speaking of finishes, of course, this is where the shoe pinches. We are far from the quality of most high-end headphones on these STSK 2 C3. The traces of moldings on the plastic are indeed present with rather unsightly joints. On the case, this time it is the hinge which does not inspire confidence and which seems too weak to hold in the long term. Note also that SilverCrest seems to be a fan of buttons. We will find a button on the case, allowing to light the three LEDs indicating the battery, and a button on each earpiece.
Finally, it is above all on the comfort of use that the headphones sold by Lidl fish the most. As we have seen, these are open-fit headphones, that is to say they only offer low passive isolation. Most importantly, headphones can be very uncomfortable in the ears. After an hour of use, the left earbud felt good in my ear and after two hours I had to remove both to relieve my stomach a bit.
Particularly simple controls
Unlike most true wireless headphones on the market, SilverCrest and Lidl do not offer a companion smartphone app to pair and use their headphones. For the pairing, it will therefore necessarily go through a manual procedure, simultaneously pressing the buttons of both headphones at the same time.
The same goes for controls that cannot be customized. Here, we have nothing but the basic with one press to pause the music, two presses to recall the last contact called and two presses to go to the next track. Controls that are similar on the left and right earcups. Suffice to say that with such summary interactions, it is very quick to take control of the controls offered by the headphones. Note also that it is possible to listen to music with only one earphone if you ever want to have one ear free and the second earphone in the charging case.
In use, I have only slightly regretted the loss of Bluetooth signal. It was only when my smartphone was in my pocket, with my hand over it, that the headphones temporarily lost connection. It should be noted, unsurprisingly, that the STSK 2 C3 headphones are not compatible with multipoint Bluetooth and can therefore only be connected to one device at the same time. More strangely, Lidl’s headphones have a slight tendency to flicker chaotically with a small LED built into the top of the control button, without anyone really knowing why. Suffice to say that you will not go unnoticed in the dark.
Poor audio quality
When it comes to sound quality, SilverCrest headphones don’t work miracles. It must be said that for a price of 25 euros, we did not expect wonders … and we are not surprised. The sound offered by the headphones is completely compressed, with very low dynamics and bass to absent subscribers. We are entitled to a dry and perfectly bland sound. Sure, headphones will be enough for listening to podcasts – and more – but don’t count on them to enjoy your favorite tracks with all the details you know about them.
For the Bluetooth connection, the headphones take advantage of the classic SBC codec, the one that is natively integrated into the Bluetooth protocol. So don’t count on more elaborate codecs that allow better sound quality like aptX or LDAC, they are simply not compatible.
Regarding voice calls, again the STSK 2 C3 are struggling. The voice capture is particularly poor with a crackling particularly annoying for your interlocutor. “It’s ultra unpleasant, hardly audible, I find it hard to understand what you say to meA colleague told me, whom I called for a test, even though I was in a room without any noise in the background.
A much better autonomy than advertised
If Lidl’s headphones are mediocre when it comes to their sound quality, their battery life is different. On this side, SilverCrest announces a 40 mAh battery per earphone, three hours of autonomy for the headphones alone and 15 hours of autonomy with the charging case. As much to tell you that we are far from the account. Lidl headphones don’t offer 3 hours of battery life, but seven to eight hours, even at very high volume levels, around 80%.
For charging, a short USB to USB-C cable is supplied with the headphones in order to charge the case, but this is not the only way. Strangely, if SilverCrest did not consider it appropriate to spend a fortune on sound quality, the manufacturer has chosen to integrate fast charging on its headphones. A feature that is usually only found on high-end headphones.
Price and availability of Lidl headphones
SilverCrest STSK 2 C3 earphones are available for 24.99 euros exclusively at Lidl. They are available in two colors: black or bronze.
Opposite, there are quite a few headphones at such aggressive prices. However, we can mention the Xiaomi Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 Basic, at 40 euros or the Realme Buds Q at 30 euros.