Tom's Hardware Verdict
HyperX’s Cirro Buds Pro wireless earbuds offer decent sound for the price, but fail to stand out in an oversaturated market.
Versatile, functional audio quality
Active Noise Cancellation at a low price
Audio fails to impress in music and games
Limited earbud controls and no customization
ANC is present, but basic
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The wireless budget earbud market is almost comically overcrowded. A search of earbuds on Amazon reveals a dizzying barrage of no-name buds with lengthy feature lists that prove short on substance.
HyperX’s attempt to muscle into this crowd with the Cirro Buds Pro, a set of budget earbuds priced at $79.99. Although sorta-kinda marketed towards gamers, the Cirro Buds Pro are better understood as budget day-to-day earbuds for use with a phone or tablet. They do this job reasonably well but don’t move audio quality, design, or features forward.
Design and Comfort
The HyperX Cirro Buds Pro are in-ear earbuds with a round plug shape that nestled nicely inside my ear. I found them comfortable — so much so that I sometimes forgot I was wearing them if I muted my tunes and forgot to resume them. They came with three earbud tip sizes, which is typical for most earbuds. I stuck with the “medium” tips installed from the factory.
The build quality and design of the Cirro Buds Pro left little else to remark on, however. They’re simple, plastic earbuds with a thoroughly conventional shape, adorned only by a subtle gloss-gray HyperX logo that barely contrasts against the surrounding matte black.
Fashionable? Forget about it. The Cirro Buds Pro are the very definition of basic — in matte black, at least. HyperX also offers the earbuds in tan and blue. These add a bit of style, but the shape and design of the earbuds remains rather generic.
The earbuds are controlled with quick taps used to activate pairing, receive or end calls, and adjust audio modes. I found these controls a bit easier to use than on most earbuds, which I credit to their round, flat exterior surface. It was easy to feel out where your finger needed to land to activate the earbuds’ controls.
HyperX includes a charging case, which shares the earbuds’ functional approach. The case is flat — not rounded — across the top and bottom, and is less likely to slide off a table or desk. A bright LED on front shows the charging status. The case is charged via USB-C and does not support wireless charging.
There’s one more thing about the charging case I need to call out: its transparency — or, rather, lack thereof. HyperX’s product photography showed the case as transparent, and while it technically was, it appeared opaque in most indoor lighting. HyperX also sticks with a matte black charging case exterior even if you purchase the tan or blue earbuds (though a portion of the interior plastic does coordinate with the earbuds’ color).
|Driver Type||8mm Dynamic|
|Impedance||16 Ω ± 15% @ 1KHz|
|Frequency Response||20Hz – 20kHz|
|Weight||8.54 grams per earbud, 39.4 grams charging case|
|Battery Life||4 hours (minimum) to 7 hours (maximum) with up to 35 hours in the charging case.|
|MSRP / Price at Time of Review||$79.99|
|Release Date||Jun. 19, 2023|
The HyperX Cirro Buds Pro feature 8mm dynamic drivers, but otherwise make few promises about sonic performance. In fact, HyperX’s marketing for the Cirro Buds Pro largely avoided talking about audio quality and instead focused on the earbuds’ features and battery life.
A quick tour through my audio sample tracks made the Cirro’s limitations clear. Boards of Canada’s New Seeds provided clear highs but largely obscured the subtle-yet-hypnotic bass. It was a similar story with Taylor Swift’s Anti-Hero, where Swift’s vocals pierced through a thin lower-end. DJ Shadow’s Nobody Speak was especially disappointing: the bass was present but obscured, and the sudden appearance of the saxophones around the minute mark — normally one of my favorite moments — was yawn-worthy.
The lack of bass was the unifying theme, as Cirro’s 8mm driver was not up to task. For what it’s worth, the earbuds did manage to avoid the mistake of trying to compensate with overdriven bass that obscured and muddied the mid-range. There was at least some oomph present, which places the Cirro Buds Pro in front of the least-impressive budget earbuds. But the Cirro Buds Pro largely failed to do music justice.
Gaming performance on the Cirro Buds Pro is best described as “usable.” The reasonably clear mid-range and crisp highs provided distinct, crisp dialogue, and the chirps and beeps of a typical in-game interface came through with ease. However, the lack of bass means=t dramatic and explosive scenes sound remote and wimpy. Cyberpunk 2077 lacked the cinematic heft and immersion it normally provides.
The Cirro Buds Pro are stereo-only — so surround was barely present. This was no surprise given the earbuds price, but it’s an issue for games — especially more recent, cinematic AAA games. I found the sound stage to be located clearly — and only — between my temples (a surround sound video confirmed this). Right, left, and center were distinct, but surround, rear, and height weren’t obvious.
There is a silver lining: the earbuds have a versatile, balanced sound that didn’t annoy me. That’s not to be taken for granted in the sub-$100 earbud world. They also handled vocal audio well, so fans of podcasts, YouTube, and Tiktok will be pleased. But gamers shouldn’t mistake the HyperX branding on the Cirro Buds Pro as evidence of gaming chops — these are more suited to daily commutes than late-night esports.
The HyperX Cirro Buds Pro have an omnidirectional microphone array with two microphones per earbud and built-in noise cancellation. Microphone quality was usable but unimpressive. Recorded audio was not too difficult to understand but had a flat, hollow quality and sounded a bit metallic at the edges. Nobody is going to mistake you for using a quality headset or a halfway-decent microphone if you take calls with the Cirro Buds Pro.
The mics feature “noise cancellation,” but I found this struggled to fit the bill. It canceled low, thumbing, predictable sounds, but would fail to obscure distant, brief sounds — such as a crow in a tree a few yards away, or the clickety-clack of a keyboard. The microphone will work for audio calls in a setting without too much ambient noise, but it’s a poor fit for an open mic on Discord — push-to-talk will prove mandatory. There’s also no way to mute the mic using the earbuds’ tap controls, so you’ll have to do any muting in an app used to record or transmit audio.
Features and Software
The HyperX Cirro Buds Pro have Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), which, for some, may prove among its most alluring features. ANC isn’t guaranteed at the Cirro Buds Pro’s retail price of $79.99, though there are competitors, such as the Jabra Elite 4 and the EarFun Air Pro 3, which feature ANC and a similar price point.
ANC mode on the Cirro Buds Pro provided a moderate reduction in ambient noise and some reduction of quick, unpredictable noises. There’s a significant difference between the Cirro Buds Pro’s ANC and the ANC you’ll find on premium earbuds such as Apple’s AirPods Pro or Sony’s WF-1000XM, however. Noises that packed real punch — like a passing bus — muscled their way through with ease.
The ANC includes an Ambient Mode, which delivers ambient noises when you need to be audibly aware of your surroundings. I found the Ambient Mode tended to amplify distant and high-pitched sounds, which made the mode grating to use for any length of time. There’s also a Gaming Mode, which drops the Bluetooth connection into a low-latency mode and enables ANC. I didn’t notice any latency issues with these earbuds.
HyperX doesn’t offer a smartphone app for controlling the earbuds’ functions, so you’ll have to stick with tapping the earbuds to control them. This also means the controls can’t be customized, and there are relatively few functions available — if you want to mute a call or change the volume and your phone is inaccessible, you’re out of luck, as the earbuds can’t control these functions.
HyperX says the Cirro Buds Pro will hit up to four hours of battery life with ANC turned on, and up to seven hours with ANC turned off. The charging case stores an additional 35 hours of charge time. These are common figures for mid-range earbuds.
I found battery life to be similar to HyperX’s claims in my tests — the earbuds managed just under four hours with ANC turned on. I used the earbuds for a few hours daily, and the charging case powered more than a week of use for me.
The charging case charges via USB-C and does not support wireless charging. Topping off the charging case took around two and a half hours — again, these times are what I’d expect for modern, sub-$100 wireless earbuds.
The HyperX Cirro Buds Pro are the earbud equivalent of popping by a grocery store to pick up ground beef: you pay for $80 worth of earbuds, and you get $80 worth of earbuds. No more. No less. If you’re looking for $80 earbuds, these are a fine choice — especially since they have ANC — but they don’t really stand out much from the oversaturated wireless earbud market.
Ultimately, it hinges entirely on price. The Cirro Buds Pro are a reasonable upgrade for shoppers eyeing extreme budget wireless earbuds (under $50). But if your budget is just a hair more, there isn’t really a reason to consider the Cirro Buds Pro. These earbuds remain in the minor leagues, despite their “Pro” monniker.