When Nokia reached out to me to review their earphones, I was intrigued. I knew that HMD was making smartphones under the Nokia brand, but I had no idea that they made earphones as well. After Googling their price tag – just S$149 for a pair of ANC true wireless earphones – I decided to give them a shot.

I’ll get straight to it: these are a shockingly good pair of true wireless earphones. If you’re in the market for an affordable pair of earphones and want ANC, the Nokia E3511 might be your answer. Let’s start with the specs.

Nokia Essential True Wireless E3511 Specifications

  • 10mm drivers
  • IP44 water and dust resistant
  • Bluetooth 5.2, SBC codec
  • 6.5 hr (ANC off); 4.5 hr (ANC on) battery life
  • 25 hrs (ANC off); 17 hrs (ANC on) with case
  • ANC, transparency mode
  • Colours: Black, White, Blue
  • S$149

Design & Fit

The case on the Nokia E3511 are unlike any other wireless earphone case I’ve seen before. The external surface is a brushed aluminum that feels premium and solid while not being heavier than the plastic case of my Galaxy Buds+. The clean design is interrupted only by the Nokia logo on the top, and charging LED and USB-C on the front. Opening the case, you are presented with the earbuds laying flat with a reset button in between.

The construction of the earbuds themselves aren’t as impressive. While there is some of the case’s brushed aluminum on the tip of the stem, the rest of the earbuds are made from a cheap glossy plastic. Plastic is to be expected at this price point, but given the premium look of the case, I had expected at least a matte polycarbonate on the buds.

I found the earbuds to fit snuggly in my ears, and they were comfortable even for long listening periods. I never felt them slipping out, even during a run at the gym. There are a couple other eartips in the box in case the default tips don’t fit your ears well, along with a short USB-A to C cable for charging.

Overall, I’m impressed with the design and fit of the Nokia E3511, though I wished they had went with matte instead of glossy plastic for the earphones.

Sound

The Nokia E3511 sound excellent. At S$149, I was fully expecting tinny sounding audio with bloated, muddy bass, like many other earphones that I’ve reviewed in this price range. But on my first listen, I was instantly pleasantly surprised. These sound good. I A/B tested them with my Galaxy Buds+, and found the sound on these to be much richer, balanced, and detailed.

This performance extends to the soundstage as well. I recall listening to Jon Bellion’s Pre-Occupied and being shocked at how far away the opening drums sounded for wireless earbuds. Listening to the same track on my Galaxy Buds+, I got a much more “in your head” feel to the audio.

The sound signature on these are relatively balanced, without any of the usual pitfalls of cheaper earphones (unnaturally elevated bass or highs). That being said, I found them slightly dark i.e. lacking in the higher frequencies. Overall though, I am happy with the sound signature and sound quality of these earphones.

Miscellaneous

I’ll summarise some other things that I noticed about the Nokia E3511 during my testing:

  • ANC works really well, and there is a significant and noticeable reduction in outside noise. High frequencies aren’t blocked out as well as lower frequencies.
  • Transparency mode works well. With it on, I was able to make conversation and place an order at a coffee stall without any issues.
  • Touch controls are an issue. The touch pads are on a specific spot on the stem of the earbuds. While there is an indent where the touch pads are, in practice they are hard to feel. They are difficult to activate intentionally and easy to activate accidentally. Overall a frustrating experience.
  • Mic quality is ok, nothing special.
  • I did not notice any audio latency issues when watching video
  • I experienced occasional stuttering. There was one time when the audio momentarily got cut off in one ear, then the other ear, before reverting back to normal again. But these issues were rare enough to not cause me alarm.
  • You can use one earbud while keeping the other in the case
  • I noticed a bug where if the case battery is depleted, keeping the earbuds in the case will not shut them off. You’d have to manually disconnect the earphones on your phone’s Bluetooth settings, which is annoying.

Pricing & Conclusion

Pros

  • Excellent sound quality, even without considering the price
  • ANC and transparency modes work great
  • Exceptional build quality on the case
  • IP44 water and dust resistance
  • Affordable at S$149

Cons

  • Finnicky touch controls
  • No app for customising EQ or settings
  • Annoying bug where if the case battery is depleted, keeping the earbuds in the case will not shut them off

The Nokia True Wireless E3511 Earphones offer exceptional sound and solid ANC at an affordable price point. They beat out my Galaxy Buds+, and many of the other earbuds that I’ve reviewed – Jabra Elite 3, Sudio E2, Sudio T2, Sudio Nio – in both sound and noise cancelling. The only wireless earbuds I’ve tested that sound better and are more feature-rich are Jabra’s Elite 7 Active and Elite 7 Pro, but those cost about twice as much.

If you’re in the market for a pair of true wireless earbuds, the Nokia E3511 should be near the top of your list.

You can purchase the Nokia E3511 from Lazada for S$149. At the time of writing, the buds are on sale for just S$99, which, in my opinion, is a steal.


As always, when purchasing online, check if you can get additional cashback on your purchase with ShopBack. You can also check out our deals page for more Singapore deals.

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