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Grado GT220 review

If you care about sound quality beyond all else, the Grado GT220 are for you.

Grado GT220 review
Published: Friday, 14th May 2021 at 12:30 pm
A star rating of 4.5 out of 5.
Our Rating

Our review

For the price, the earbuds from Grado Labs are lacking a couple of key features but the sound quality is outstanding.

Pros

  • Brilliant sound quality
  • Good battery life
  • Intuitive touch controls 
  • Lightweight and comfortable

Cons

  • Quite chunky
  • No active noise cancellation
  • No in-ear detection

Creating high-quality headphones is what Grado Labs has made its name doing. And almost 70 years after being founded, the Grado GT220 are the American brand's first true wireless in-ear headphones.

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In this Grado GT220 review, we'll put the true wireless earbuds to the test as we look at their set-up, design, sound quality and features, including battery life, touch controls and in-built voice assistants. These factors will be assessed against the Grado GT220's price of £249 to decide whether they're good value for money or not.

Here is why we think Grado GT220 are a superb pair of wireless earbuds and ideal for anyone looking for top-notch sound quality over anything else.

Looking for more wireless earbud reviews? Head over to our Google Pixel Buds review and Apple AirPods Pro review. Or, see how the Apple earbuds compare in our Apple AirPods vs AirPods Pro guide. If you're interested in budget-friendly options, you'll find fantastic products in our expert pick of the best budget wireless earbuds priced between £30 and £130.

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Grado GT220 review: summary

The Grado GT220 have some of the best sound quality you will find with true wireless earbuds. Music has great depth and fullness, while speech is crystal clear. We had no problem taking calls even with background noise around us, and the touch controls are intuitive to use. Admittedly, the Grado GT220 earbuds are missing a couple of features, like in-ear detection, that we would have liked to see for the price. However, what is there is executed brilliantly.

Price: The Grado GT220 wireless earbuds cost £249 at Amazon.

Key features:

  • IPX4-rated water resistance
  • Voice control via Google Assistant or Alexa
  • Up to 6 hours on a single charge (up to 36 hours with charging case)
  • Touch controls to pause/play music and answer calls

Pros:

  • Brilliant sound quality
  • Good battery life
  • Intuitive touch controls
  • Lightweight and comfortable

Cons:

  • Quite chunky
  • No active noise cancellation

What are Grado GT220?

Grado GT220 review

Grado GT220 are the brand's first true wireless earbuds. Available in black only, the Grado GT220 have touch controls that allow you to play/pause music and answer calls with a single tap on the earbud. There's no active noise cancellation, but passive noise cancellation in the form of a secure fit keeps out most disruptive noise. The earbuds themselves are a little chunky, which won't suit everyone, but are extremely lightweight and comfortable.

What do Grado GT220 do?

The Grado GT220 are a premium offering with features including basic water resistance, voice control via Google Assistant and Alexa and a secure fit. However, there is no active noise cancellation, and the lack of in-ear detection means music will not automatically stop playing when the earbud is removed from your ear.

  • IPX4-rated water resistance
  • Voice control via Google Assistant or Alexa
  • Up to 6 hours on a single charge (up to 36 hours with charging case)
  • Touch controls to pause/play music and answer calls

How much do Grado GT220 cost?

The Grado GT220 wireless earbuds are £249 at Amazon.

Are Grado GT220 good value for money?

At £249, the Grado GT220 are definitely on the premium end when it comes to earbuds. However, because of the brilliant sound quality they offer, we do think they're good value for money. The sound quality is good across music and calls and is accompanied by features including voice control via Google Assistant and Alexa, basic water resistance and a battery life of up to 36 hours. And while there is no active noise cancellation, we found its passive noise cancellation to be fantastic.

Grado GT220 design

Grado GT220 review

The Grado GT220 have a matte black finish and Grado's 'G' logo on each earbud. Because the earbuds are provided with multiple silicone tips, you should have no problem finding the right fit so that the earbuds feel secure in your ear. Despite the snug fit, the earbuds remain comfortable over many hours, and we had no problem wearing them throughout our whole workday.

It is worth noting that the earbuds are fairly chunky and do not sit flush with your ears. This won't suit everyone, but we found that we didn't mind the slightly bigger size because the earbuds are so light. The touch controls are intuitive to use and positioned on the flat edge of the earbuds, so there's no doubt in where exactly to tap to engage the controls. A single tap will pause and play music, and you hold down the left or right earbud depending on whether you want to turn up or down the volume. The habit is quick to pick up and feels fairly intuitive.

  • Style: Available in black only, the earbuds have a 'G' logo on each earbud that flashes blue when connected to a device and red when they are not.
  • Robustness: With a matte black finish on both the earbuds and case, they don't scuff or scratch easily. Despite being lightweight, the earbuds feel solid and well-made.
  • Size: These black true wireless earbuds are fairly chunky compare to their competition but feel incredibly lightweight and comfortable over long periods of time. The charging case is also slightly larger than most, but it's hardly problematic.

Grado GT220 features

With an IPX4 rating, the Grado GT220 are sweat and water-resistant. This is a fair stretch away from waterproof but does mean that sweat and a splash of rain won't harm them. This is ideal because the secure fit designed to aid with noise reduction also makes them great for a workout. They did not budge during a run and required little-to-no adjustments.

The battery life will also easily sustain you through the longest of runs. The earbuds hold up to six hours from a single charge, with an extra 30 hours from the charging case. When you have to charge up the case, you can either use the supplied USB-C cable or charge it wirelessly.

There's an option of two virtual assistants, Alexa and Google Assistant, and can be activated with a triple tap to the left earbud. Both assistants are extremely accurate, and there's only a momentary delay between speaking the command and the task being completed.

However, it is worth mentioning that a couple of features are missing that you would usually expect for the price tag. The lack of in-ear detection means that music will not automatically stop playing when you remove the earbuds. And while the passive noise cancellation is pretty impressive, most earbuds over the £200 mark do have active noise cancellation.

Grado GT220 sound quality

The sound quality of the Grado GT220 earbuds is their selling point. Fitted with a custom-made 8mm polyethylene terephthalate dynamic driver, music sounds rich, well-balanced and has great depth. Speech from podcasts is extremely clear even in a noisy environment like a commute on public transport. This is the same when it comes to making calls, which are clear from both sides.

Unfortunately, unlike the likes of Jabra Elite 75t or the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1+, there is no way to customise the EQ settings, but we didn't feel like we needed to either.

Grado GT220 set-up: how easy are they to use?

Grado GT220 set-up

Setting up the Grado GT220 is simple. With Bluetooth settings on, remove the earbuds from their case. A notification should appear on the phone screen and follow any prompts. The whole process takes less than a minute, and you're ready to go. We had no problem connecting first time, and our device continued to automatically detect the earbuds every time we removed them from the case.

The earbuds are provided with multiple sizes of silicone tips for a more customisable fit. The tips are easy to remove and refit onto the earbuds. There is no accompanying app that you are required to download, and therefore, you don't need to set up any sort of account.

What is the difference between Grado GT220 and Cambridge Audio Melomania 1+?

The Grado GT220 have some tough competition when it comes to true wireless earbuds. Cambridge Audio has proven itself to make some of the best earbuds when it comes to sound quality, rivalling the likes of Grado. Released in March 2021, the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1+ are some of the brand's newest true wireless earbuds.

At £119.95, the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1+ are significantly cheaper than the Grado GT220. However, both offer brilliant sound quality, voice control via Google Assistant, and long battery lives (both having over 30 hours with the charging case).

Unlike the Grado GT220, though, the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1+ do have an accompanying app that allows you to adjust EQ settings and offers various sound mode pre-sets. This won't be a feature that everyone uses, but some might like the personalisation element.

Finally, there are also a few design differences. The Grado GT220 have a chunky, rounded design, while the Melomania 1+ come in a more compact bullet shape. Both have a secure fit, so which you prefer will likely come down to personal preference. We found the bullet-style of the Cambridge Audio earbuds took a little longer to get comfortable with when you're used to the likes of AirPods.

Choosing between these two particular models will largely come down to your budget and whether you think you'd use the customisable EQ settings and sound modes. If you think you'd like the flexibility of the adjustable EQ settings, the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1+ may be a better option. However, it is hard to fault the Grado GT220 on what they deliver, which is brilliant sound quality in a simple set-up.

Our verdict: should you buy Grado GT220?

The Grado GT220 deliver exceptional sound quality above all else. If you value sound quality above all else, the Grado GT220 are for you. At £249, they definitely aren't the cheapest wireless earbuds but do offer a range of great features, including an impressive 36 hours of battery life, an extremely comfortable fit and voice control in the form of Alexa or Google Assistant.

There is no active noise cancellation, but we didn't really miss it. The passive noise cancellation from the snug fit means that a lot of background noise is blocked out anyway, and we enjoyed listening to music with this set-up. And yes, the blue lights that flash continuously when connected to a device definitely won't be for everyone, but if you have the budget, the Grado GT220 are some of the best true wireless earbuds on the market right now.

Rating:

Some categories (sound quality and features) are weighted more heavily.

Design: 4/5

Features: 4/5

Sound quality: 5/5

Set-up: 5/5

Value for money: 4/5

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Where to buy Grado GT220

The Grado GT220 wireless earbuds are available for £249 at Amazon.

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For more reviews, head to the Technology section or read our best smart speaker round-up.

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