There’s a lot of debate among PC and console gamers as to whether mobile gaming really is a thing but we can’t deny the $90 billion in revenue it earned in 2021; That’s half the total revenue across all of gaming everywhere. So it shouldn’t surprise that mobile gaming peripherals like the Black Shark Lucifer T1 Wireless Earbuds are fast becoming more commonplace. Black Shark is a subbrand of Chinese tech giant Xiaomi and is laser focused on mobile gaming devices including the ridiculous Black Shark Gaming smartphone.
What’s separates gaming earbuds like the Lucifer T1 from your everyday Samsung Buds or Apple Airpods is that they have an ultra low latency mode. Standard Bluetooth earbuds are generally great for everything other than gaming because of their high latency that causes a delay between what you see and what you hear. As you can imagine, that’s not great when playing PUBG Mobile or Call of Duty where audio cues are the difference between death or a chicken dinner.
The Black Shark Lucifer T1 are here to save the day. Sure, Black Shark aren’t the first to do this; Razer has the Hammerhead True Wireless range. But again, what makes the Lucifer T1 stand out(beside the name) is it’s incredible price — just $40. That’s way cheaper than Razers cheapest buds and that value alone is enough to make this an instant recommendation to anyone looking for some gaming buds.
Black Shark Lucifer T1 Wireless Earbuds Review
Besides the insane price, the other insane thing about the T1 is its design. These buds scream ‘Gamer Nerd!’ through and through. Let’s start with the unsual heptagon shaped case. It has a translucent clamshell style lid and built-in LED lights that glow an otherworldy green when you pop open the lid. Cardled inside are the two, equally angular buds, also with bright LED strips and Black Shark branding in matching green.
Take the buds out and you are presented with very sharp, angular design with silicon tips on the end. Black Shark includes some spares in the box so you can find which fits you best. The tighter the seal, the better audio you’ll get. Overall the buds are solid and if you stripped away the branding, one would be convinced that this was a Razer product. Maybe that’s what Black Shark was going for.
However, there’s just something cheapish feeling about the T1 compared to more premium buds like the Razers or EPOS buds. That said, it’s very sturdy and I love being able to lookl through the lid to enjoy the RGB lights when the case is charging. Charging is done via USB Type-C port located on the back of the case.
The buds themselves are very lightweight and are IPX4 waterproof certified so you can comfortably use these for your workouts. A huge gripe I had with the Razer buds was their aweful fit in the ear that meant they were always falling out of my ears. No such problem with the T1’s which stayed snug with all my movements.
Inside the buds are 10mm drivers that produce a very sibilant sound that is sharp and clear but noticeably flat in the bass response. Across everything I tested. the buds sounded really crisp, perhaps too crisp in an almost clinical sense. This works perfect for FPS games where you need to hear footsteps and stuff but everything esle just sounds cold due to the lackluster bass response.
The T1 has touch controls along the top thrid of the stem where the Black Shark logo is. These do all the usual things you are used to by now such as pausing, skipping or answering and ending calls. But triple tap them and the buds will go into the aformentioned low latency mode. The T1’s are dual-mode design which means they have a Music mode and a Gaming mode which you can easily switch between when needed.
Even without the Game mode, the Bluetooth 5.2 connection was noticebly better than buds using Bluetooth 5.0. For context, other buds average anywhere between 100 – 200ms latency while the T1 in Game mode averages 55ms. That’s alot. A simple YouTube video lipsync test and I noticed the T1’s were pretty good in Music mode but turning to Game mode and there was no perceptible lag at all. Additionally, I didn’t notice any degradation in audio quality when using Game mode.
Pairing the T1’s is so easy. Just open the case and the buds flash white to indicate they are ready to pair. Look them up on your device and vóila. The connection is also pretty rock solid with great overall range. I had no trouble leaving my phone in another room while I did my cleaning and never lost connection. This also made some work calls easier because I could walk around, stretch, make a snack while still getting good audio.
Speaking of calls, you won’t be using these buds just for gaming or media. They sound decent enough though a tad bit faint which is to be expected of microphones so far from your mouth. They will get you through a phone/ video call or Discord chat without any problem though.
The 3.5 hour battery life on the T1 buds themselves is pretty poor compared to others I’ve tested which average 5-6 hours. That said, there are nine extra charges in the case for a total of 35 hours of battery life. I should point out that the 3.5hrs wasn’t enough for my typical work day usage because my day is split into 4-5hour chunks with lunch break in between. Also, considering that the buds take at least an hour to fully recharge you might want to think about how you use them for long stretches.
Should you buy?
Yes, of course. Even if you aren’t a big mobile gamer, at $40 the Black Shark Lucifer T1 is too good a deal to pass up. They might be a little too flashy for some of you but condisering what you get, you can live with it. They absolutely meet their promise of low-latency gaming and while the sound of explosions might come across a lot less punchy than you’d like, you will never miss a sound thanks to their clarity. If you love hip-hop and bass heavy music, then the T1’s will disappoint but for everything else, they sound better than the price suggests. And looking at the competition from Razer and EPOS which have better sound and build but are just way too expensive compared to the Black Shark offering. And at the end of the day, it’s really, really hard to argue with the value the Lucifer T1 offers. Buy it.