Dodocool DA189 Review: Tiny With Compromises

Dodocool is one of those companies that produce lots and lots of mobile peripherals and gadgets and sell through Amazon. Unlike many of the products I’ve tested from those other companies, Dodocool manage to deliver consistent quality. The Dodocool DA189 TWS buds are no exception. Whilst not perfect, they do represent a really compelling offering for those on a budget.

Dodocool DA189
+ FOR
  • Tiny package
  • Decent battery life
  • Good sound quality
- AGAINST
  • A bit cheap feeling
  • No volume control

Buy on Amazon UK

Disclaimer

Dodocool provided this product free of charge in exchange for a full and fair review. Dodocool have no input into the copy of this review and will see no draft prior to final publishing.

The Dodocool DA189 buds are tiny. Very, very small. They aren’t new, and they aren’t pricey, but given the plethora of TWS buds available right now, I thought that it would be worth seeing what the DA189’s had to offer. Are they any different from other circa £40 buds?

Dodocool DA189 Specs

  • 42 mAh battery in earbuds
  • 450 mAh battery in charging case
  • Playback: Up to 5 hours
  • Standby: 500 hours
  • BT 5.0: 10 m Wireless range

Overview & Package

The Dodocool DA189 come in a package with 3 sets of silicone tips and wings, as well as the buds themselves and a charging case. An instruction manual is included and whilst most won’t need it, it’s still nice to understand how the button functions are engaged.

The DA189s have a distinctive material choice; plastic. It’s not rock hard rigid plastic either, there’s a mixture. The outer casing on the charging case has a matte finish, with a black and grey colour scheme and a rounded red accent. It’s non-descript and indicative of the overall package; cheap and cheerful.

The buds themselves follow in the aesthetics found on the charging case with an identical colour scheme albeit on a much smaller scale. Each bud has a clickable button to control the tracks, as well as a rubberised wing to ensure that they sit more comfortably in-ear.

Performance & Use

Before you even get to the audio included on these buds, you have to contend with the pairing. Normally these products are relatively easy to pair with your chosen smartphone. Take them out of the charging case, they are already in pairing mode, and simply connect them to your device. Here though, things are a little less intuitive.

I’ve had this confirmed with a few other DA189 owners and there are more than a few reviews citing the same issue. Pulling the DA189s out of the case does indeed result in them being in pairing mode but pairing them directly sometimes leads to just one bud pairing. The other continues to stay in pairing mode. In order to resolve this, press and hold the buttons on both buds and until they are turned off. Press and hold them again to turn them on and move them into pairing mode. Hold them a little longer and they will start to pair to each other. This doesn’t always happen and I had to re-pair them three separate times to get them to connect. Not ideal.

With Bluetooth 5.0 and CVS 6.0 noise reduction technology, there are some nice industry-standard features here, but there is a lack of any IP rating which gym-goers might be worried about. They need not be; these are resistant to sweat, IP rating or not.

The DA189s sit in the ear comfortably and can be turned a few degrees to tighten the wing to the ear for even more comfort. The downside to having the function buttons on the outer edge of the DA189s, opposite the ear canal, is that any pressing causes pressure, which can be distracting and painful in the worst-case scenarios. For me, I found that I specifically tried to manage my track control with my phone rather than use the clicky buttons on the side for this reason. This has to be a design flaw.

Equally, I would really like to have had some form of tuner/rocket for volume control. Sadly this seems like a feature of yesteryear, with it going the way of the headphone jack. TWS manufacturers instead opt for multi-function buttons to control volume.

Audio

Once you have them paired, and in your ears, they deliver a more than adequate soundstage. The highs are a little weak in some genres. Acoustic musical tastes might wish to stay clear with the highs starting to merge with the mids. The DA189s seem to be more agreeable to Pop hits and Hip-Hop tracks. The mids and lows are clear enough without being perfectly crisp. Whilst in some more rumbling, bass-heavy tracks, the low end can start to become a little muddy, 90% of the time your ears can just enjoy the music.

Battery & Charging

The battery life lived up to expectations for the most part. I managed to achieve just over the 5 hours of continuous playback time before I had to reach for the charging case. For such small buds, I think this is impressive. The cable included for charging the carry case is a microUSB cable; no Type-C here which is a shame, but given that these are over a year old at the time of writing, perhaps to be expected.

Seating the DA189s in the charging case can be as fiddly as getting them to pair, as the charging pins don’t seem to align all too well with tips actually installed on the buds so make sure you give them a good shove!

Final Thoughts

The pain of pairing aside, the audio on the Dodocool DA189s is more than adequate to satiate the majority of customers with less than £50 to burn.

The volume can be pumped way up before any distortion is heard, and the battery life delivers. The carry case, whilst cheap-looking, fulfils the charging requirements well and protects the buds themselves.

It’s an all-round decent package; nothing ground-breaking or breath-taking, but at just £40, they are worth a closer look if a tiny portable set of TWS buds is what you are in the market for.

About Craig Bradshaw

Tech enthusiast and Editor-in-Chief of MobileTechTalk

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