December 10, 2023

Be Jammin’ for Less Than a Benjamin – Review Geek



  • 1 – Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 – Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 – Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 – Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 – Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 – Good Enough to Buy On Sale
  • 7 – Great, But Not Best-In-Class
  • 8 – Fantastic, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 – Shut Up And Take My Money
  • 10 – Absolute Design Nirvana

Price: $99

The TCL MOVEAUDIO S600 earbuds on a table in front of some books. Case open, buds on the table
Cameron Summerson

TCL probably isn’t the first name you think of when it comes to true wireless earbuds, but I think that should probably change. The TCL MOVEAUDIO S600 is a solid little set of buds with ANC, Transparency Mode, wireless charging, and good audio quality—all for under a Benjamin.

Here’s What We Like

  • Good sound quality
  • Very decent ANC and Transparency Mode
  • Wireless Charging
  • Comfortable

And What We Don’t

  • The buds are awkward to insert/remove
  • Case is bulkier than some of the competition
  • The design isn’t the prettiest

The $100 price point for earbuds is what I’d call the “sweet spot” right now. You can get a lot of high-end features, good sound quality, and all-day comfort here; it’s honestly hard to recommend anything more expensive these days. That’s exactly where the MOVEAUDIO S600 sits, and the balance of features makes this a set of true wireless earbuds that you should at least add to your shortlist if you’re in the market for a new set.

Design, Fit, and Features: Boring but Comfy

To look at the TCL MOVEAUDIO S600 (henceforth just called “S600”) is to look at most other sets of earbuds on the market right now. They use a stem-style design a la Apple AirPods, with various interchangeable rubber tips. They’re slightly bulkier than AirPods Pro, though that doesn’t translate to any extra weight or discomfort when wearing the ‘buds.

The MOVEAUDIO S600 case, closed
Cameron Summerson

The most interesting (read: worst) design choice to me is how the buds go in the charging case. Most of the time, earbuds drop into the case with the tips facing inward (toward each other), making it very easy to remove and quickly put them in your ears. With the S600, however, the tips face outward, which means you have to flip them around before putting them in your ears (and vice versa). It’s awkward and more cumbersome than it should be.

I can only assume (I know, I know—never assume) that TLC made this choice to make the case design slightly sleeker, as it tapers on the outside to give it a puck shape. If the buds faced the opposite direction, the bulkier top section would be on the outside edges of the case, making it larger. So from a case perspective, the design makes sense. From a usability perspective, it does not.

The TCL MOVEAUDIO S600 in the opened case
Cameron Summerson

Fortunately, that’s really my biggest niggle with the S600, and it’s not something I would consider a deal breaker—just a minor annoyance.

The case also has wireless charging, which is becoming more common at this price point but still somewhat of a rarity. If you already use wireless charging, this is a must-have for earbuds, and it works very well on the S600s. Because of the puck design, it’s basically impossible to mess up, too—just drop it back-down on any wireless charger, and it just works.

When it comes to fit, these buds are extremely comfortable. I go back and forth on whether I really like stem-style buds, and I’ve concluded that it really just depends on the buds themselves. The S600s are lightweight and balanced, so they’re among some of the most comfortable stem-style buds that I’ve ever worn. They’re up there with AirPods Pro when it comes to wearability; in fact, they might be more comfortable.

The biggest issue with the design here is one that I have with so many modern earbuds: They have touch controls. I don’t like touch controls, nor have I ever used a set of earbuds with good touch controls. The S600 does nothing to change this.

Like most others, the touch controls are overly, well, touchy. If you need to adjust either earbud, you’ll almost certainly activate the touch control by accident. On the upside, you can tweak or disable the controls in the TCL Connect App (Android/iOS), though I wish there were more options. Currently, you can choose between different categories of controls:

  • Playback Control – Press and hold for Assistant, play/pause, track controls
  • Noise Control – ANC/Transparency, play/pause, track controls
  • Google Assistant – Stop Assistant, Listen to Notifications, Talk to Assistant
  • Volume Control – Increase volume, Decrease volume
  • None

While these are decent enough, I wish the options were more granular. For example, I’d like to have the option to set each specific type of touch (touch, long-press, single/double/triple tap) on each earbud. That would alleviate a lot of the biggest issues with accidental touches, as single taps could be disabled.

Alas, you get what you get. If one of the predefined options isn’t good enough, the only option is to disable controls altogether. You can also use the app to toggle wearing detection, but there aren’t any other options past that. There’s no EQ or other audio control, no fit test, or the like. Overall, the app is just basic enough to be better than no app at all, but it could be far more powerful than it currently is. I’d like to see TCL beef it up a little bit, which will go a long way to making these buds even better.

Before we move into sound quality, let’s talk about battery life. TCL claims you should be able to get 8 hours with ANC off and a little over 6 with it on, which is absolutely spot on with my testing. The charging case will also get you up to an additional 24 hours (depending on settings), and 10 minutes in the case is enough to land an hour of use.

Sound Quality: Clear, Defined, and Balanced

Early impressions of the S600 were very good, and that has only gotten better over the course of my time testing them. They’re very clear and articulate, but they tend to favor heavier bass like many earbuds in this price range. This isn’t an issue for me, but some users may not love the dip in mids that help them focus on the lower end.

The treble is crisp and sharp without being shrill, which helps offset the defined low end. That said, the scooped midrange makes these buds sound slightly more “lifeless” than some of the others in this price range (like the Pixel Buds A-series). However, only the pickiest listeners will likely find issue with this, as most may not even notice. Personally, I enjoy a bass-focus (as long as the treble is slightly boosted to retain clarity) and prefer a scooped midrange, so these pander to my preferences. I thoroughly enjoy the listening experience offered by the S600 for everything from music to podcasts.

ANC and Transparency Mode: Great Additions at this Price Point

But the frequency range and tuning is only half the story with the S600, as you also get ANC (active noise canceling) and Transparency Mode here—a pair of settings that aren’t always a given at this price. ANC isn’t quite as good as what you get from pricier earbuds like the category-leading Sony WF-1000MX4 or Jabra Elite 85t, but at nearly a third of the price, that shouldn’t be expected.

I recently wore these on a couple of three hour flights and found the ANC to be good enough to cut out much of the engine and cabin noise, even to the point where I actually missed a few announcements because the intercom system was too quiet. You can expect to get “good enough” ANC here in the grand scheme of earbuds, but it’s quite good considering the price point.

The TCL MOVEAUDIO S600 on a table with the case open and buds in front
Cameron Summerson

Transparency Mode is a little harder to pinpoint because it’s designed to let sound in. I mean, it does what it’s supposed to and is on par with other options around this price range. The clarity offered isn’t as good as what you’ll get from AirPods Pro, but I’ve yet to try another set of comparable earbuds, so it’s not surprising.

That said, the Transparency Mode on the S600 is more natural than many others I’ve used, including some higher-priced options like my personal favorite Jabra Elite 85t. Many earbuds activate the onboard microphones to pump sound from the outside into your ears, which makes for a very artificial and jarring experience. The S600s don’t do this, though there’s still a bit of the “clogged ear” feeling even with Transparency Mode enabled.

Ultimately, both ANC and Transparency Mode work well given the price, and I have no complaints about either. I’m always happy to see these features at this price point, and I’m even more pleased when they’re actually usable.

Conclusion: Worth the Money and Then Some

The back of the MOVEAUDIO S600 case showing the TCL logo on the hinge
Cameron Summerson

As quickly as the midrange true wireless market is moving, I’m reluctant to say that these are “the best for the money.” But they’re definitely up there, and they’re easily the best for the money to the right person. Those who want good ANC and Transparency mode, great sound quality, and nice quality of life features like wireless charging.

As long as you’re cool with touch controls and limited customization, then there’s really no downside.

Here’s What We Like

  • Good sound quality
  • Very decent ANC and Transparency Mode
  • Wireless Charging
  • Comfortable

And What We Don’t

  • The buds are awkward to insert/remove
  • Case is bulkier than some of the competition
  • The design isn’t the prettiest


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