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Moondrop Space Travel review

Budget wireless in-ears with a stellar value.
By

Published onMay 13, 2024

SoundGuys recommended badge
7.4
Space Travel
The bottom line
If you're looking for bang-for-buck, it's hard to do better than these earbuds. Though they don't have much in the way of software features, the Moondrop Space Travel offer excellent audio quality and ANC for under $30.
SoundGuys recommended badge

Space Travel

If you're looking for bang-for-buck, it's hard to do better than these earbuds. Though they don't have much in the way of software features, the Moondrop Space Travel offer excellent audio quality and ANC for under $30.
Product release date
2023
Price
$24.99
Dimensions
Case: 26 x 55 x 44 mm
Earbuds: 33 x 22 x 22 mm
Ear tip diameter: 6 mm
Weight
4.2g
Model Number
Waterproof
What we like
Sound quality
Price
Comfort
ANC
What we don't like
Voice prompts
App not in Play Store
No IP rating
Badly-designed case
7.4
SoundGuys Rating
8.3
User Rating
Rating Metric
Our Rating
User Rating
Isolation / Attenuation
4.9
7.0
7.0
Active Noise Cancelling
6.8
8.0
8.0
Durability / Build Quality
5.2
6.6
7.0
Value
9.7
10.0
10.0
Design
6.0
9.2
9.0
Connectivity
5.0
8.8
9.0
Portability
8.5
8.6
9.0
Battery Life
5.2
5.0
5.0
Feature
8.0
10.0
10.0
Comfort
9.0
9.4
9.0
MDAQS rating
Learn more
Timbre
5
Distortion
4.3
Immersiveness
4.1
Overall
4.9

What happens when an in-ear monitor (IEM) community favorite branches out into wireless earbuds? The Moondrop Space Travel: a set of ultra-affordable wireless earbuds with ANC and an unusually large driver. But are these buds any good? Let’s listen.

Editor’s note: this is the first version of the article. Updates will follow as the market changes.

About this Moondrop Space Travel review: We tested the Moondrop Space Travel over four days. The earbuds' firmware version was stock, and the Moondrop Link app ran version 2.0. SoundGuys purchased the unit for this review.

The Moondrop Space Travel is for humanoid music fans with limited financial resources to dedicate to mobile entertainment.

What’s it like to use Moondrop Space Travel?

A photo of the Moondrop Space Travel's short, ovoid nozzle.
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys
If you have smaller ears, a shallower nozzle may fit you better.

The Moondrop Space Travel is a set of earbuds with a lollipop-style design and shorter, ovoid nozzles. This makes fitting the earbuds to a wider array of ears much easier. Though it does make picking the correct size of silicone ear tips (small, medium, or large) much more important, the payoff is a very comfortable earbud that doesn’t need to be jammed down your ear canal. While that may sound strange to call out, it’s a common complaint for in-ears.

The packaging contents of the Moondrop Space Travel.
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys
Inexpensive earbuds tend to be pretty Spartan, but the basics are all here.

Wearing these earbuds for the long haul is surprisingly comfortable, coming from someone who isn’t usually a fan of earbuds. However, I recommend against working out with these earbuds since they do not have an ingress protection rating. While that doesn’t mean that they aren’t resistant to moisture, it does mean that there’s no guarantee or guidepost on how much is too much.

A photo of the Moondrop Space Travel's open-top charging case.
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys
This case is pretty, but also pretty awful.

The case… sucks. Though it is very visually striking, it doesn’t do much to protect the earbuds or facilitate easy use. To charge your earbuds, you slide them into two slots. Not only is it unable to protect the earbuds from falling out or preventing incidental moisture ingress by employing such complicated concepts as a “door,” but it also copies its charging port location from Apple’s Magic Mouse. Consequently, you can’t charge the case with the earbuds in there without some fear of them falling out — which they do. Often.

How do you control the Moondrop Space Travel?

A photo of the Moondrop Space Travel's control plate.
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys
That flat plate is where you control your music and calls.

Controlling music playback with the Moondrop Space Travel is pretty simple. Each earbud has a capacitive touch area on the back of the stem,  though the touchpads can sometimes be a bit finicky. You can then control your playback through taps and long presses.

Moondrop Space Travel controls:

Left earbudRight earbud
Single tap
Left earbud
Play / pause
Right earbud
Play / pause
Double tap
Left earbud
Previous track
Right earbud
Next track
Triple tap
Left earbud
Start / close voice assistant
Right earbud
Start / close voice assistant
3 second press
Left earbud
Enable / disable ANC
Right earbud
Enable / disable ANC
Quadruple tap
Left earbud
Enable game mode
Right earbud
Enable game mode

The voice prompts to tell you which noise control mode you have enabled are… unhelpful. Typically, with other earbuds and headphones, you’ll get a voice telling you exactly which mode you have enabled, but the Moondrop Space Travel has a distinctive set of voice prompts instead. Rather than saying, “ANC enabled,” you’ll hear someone “Shhh.” For the ANC off prompt, you’ll be met with an “eh?” and for transparency mode, it’s “hey!” Although customizing things can inject a lot of personality into a product, there might be better choices for people looking for explicit feedback. If you prefer this voice, there’s nothing wrong with that — it’s just something you’ll have to learn daily.

If you enjoy gaming on your phone or computer, you can tap either side four times to enable Game mode to reduce latency to what Moondrop claims is 55ms.

Should you use the Moondrop Link app for the Moondrop Space Travel?

The Moondrop Link app is necessary for features like switching EQ presets, customizing the voice assistant, and more. However, you can only download this app from Apple’s App Store. You’ll have to sideload the APK to get this working if you’re an Android user. It’s mystifying how the app is okay for the App Store but not the Play Store, but I installed it anyway.

I installed the app and attempted to link the product, but the parade of permissions requests started. While I understand the location and nearby Bluetooth product permissions, what’s not okay is the “all files” access. Nobody needs to give an app that much access. So I suggest simply not doing that.

Once you get the app working, you’ll find it could be a lot better. For starters, those three EQ presets don’t come with a comprehensive or user-customizable EQ, and the app will crash for no reason here and there. You can customize what each tap or long press does, but that’s it. While it’s hard to get too bent out of shape about a pair of $25 earbuds not having a fantastic app, that thing needs a lot of work before we recommend using it. Lucky for you, the default EQ preset is the best, so there’s no need to install this app.

How does the Moondrop Space Travel connect?

Moondrop Space Travel’s sole connection method is via Bluetooth 5.3, which uses AAC or SBC. Though there’s no support for higher-bitrate codecs, that’s not an issue. There’s no Multipoint, but as these are very basic earphones, that’s none too surprising.

Like most Bluetooth earbuds, pairing is pretty straightforward.

  1. Open your source device’s Bluetooth menu and hit “scan.”
  2. Remove the Moondrop Space Travel from the case.
  3. Select the Moondrop Space Travel option on the available devices list.

How long does the Moondrop Space Travel’s battery last?

With our standardized battery test using music that peaks at 75dBSPL, the Moondrop Space Travel held on for 4 hours and 20 minutes. Though that’s among the poorer results we’ve seen for earbuds, this is only an issue if you’re on an international flight or attempting to listen to music for an entire workday. If you plan on mainly using your earbuds for commuting, you’ll be fine if you bring the case.

A photo of the Moondrop Space Travel's poorly-positioned charge port.
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys
I don’t know in which universe putting a charge port on the bottom of a case is a smart idea, but it certainly ain’t this one.

However, such a paltry battery life does open the door for a shorter product lifespan, as charging cycles are finite. Though Moondrop doesn’t provide a sustainability report, earbuds are built to be inexpensive first, with little attention paid to their environmental impact.

The product’s page does not list any fast charging. However, it does not take long to charge up a 37mAh battery, so you should be able to get usable listening times quite quickly.

How well does the Moondrop Space Travel cancel noise?

Loading chart ...

The noise canceling is great. It won’t compete with the Sony WF-1000XM5, but attenuating outside noise by 20dB is excellent.

This result depends on getting a good fit, as even a small interruption in the seal can let in outside noise. However, due to the shape and size of the earbuds’ nozzle, it should be relatively easy to get the right fit. Though the earbuds don’t isolate as well as others, this shortcoming is more than made up for with strong ANC. We score isolation and noise cancelation based on how much noise is attenuated, so this result is enough for decent marks.

The transparency mode of the Moondrop Space Travel is pretty basic, but it does prioritize sound in the speech band, from 100-8kHz. While it’s a little strange to hear the world around you in a bandwidth-limited fashion, this kind of transparency mode is helpful for holding conversations.

How does the Moondrop Space Travel sound?

These earbuds go a long way to disprove the idea that there’s any relationship between audio quality and price, as they’re well-suited for the mass market.

Multi-Dimensional Audio Quality Scores (MDAQS)

The chart below shows how the sound of the Moondrop Space Travel was assessed by the Multi-Dimensional Audio Quality Score (MDAQS) algorithm from HEAD acoustics.

This chart shows the MDAQS results for the Moondrop Space Travel in Default mode. The Timbre score is 5, The Distortion score is 4.3, the Immersiveness score is 4.1, and the Overall Score is 4.9).
The Moondrop Space Travel does an outstanding job matching what most people want to hear from their earphones.

The Moondrop Space Travel does an exceptional job with its sound quality, netting high scores across the board. A high timbre score and high distortion and immersiveness scores mean that the audio is well-tuned for a consumer-friendly sound, and the other technical aspects of stereo reproduction are well-represented, too. It’s no surprise these net a 4.9 overall.

Timbre (MOS-T) represents how faithfully the earbuds reproduce the frequency spectrum and temporal resolution (timing information).

Distortion (MOS-D) represents non-linearities and added noise: higher scores mean cleaner reproduction.

Immersiveness (MOS-I) represents perceived source width and positioning: how well virtual sound sources are defined in three-dimensional space.

See here for an explanation of MDAQS, how it works, and how it was developed.

Reviewer’s notes

Whatever headaches you might have with the form of the product, the function is excellent. The sound quality is surprisingly good, and the fact that the ANC works as well as it does is notable.

A photo of a man wearing the Moondrop Space Travel.
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys
My subjective impressions of the Space Travel’s sound are very good.

Some other earbuds tend to boost the sound to a silly degree, but these earphones are far easier to listen to for the long haul. Chromeo tracks like “Come Alive” and “Old 45s” and Joji’s “Die for You” lean pretty heavily on temporal effects and sounded good on the Space Travel. Some spatial effects sound like they are missing from Death From Above 1979’s “One + One.” But this isn’t bad; it’s just something I noticed.

Objective Measurements

Loading chart ...

The measured response of the earbuds deviates a little from our headphone preference curve in the highs, in an area of the frequency spectrum that is highly variable between individuals, and treble extension is excellent. The earbuds hold closely to what we like in the bass and mids. Though your skull won’t get rattled, you shouldn’t find much to fault with the sound when listening to the Moondrop Space Travel. These are very well-measuring earbuds.

Can you use the Moondrop Space Travel for phone calls?

Like most other earbuds and headsets, the Moondrop Space Travel is built to handle phone calls. As these are very inexpensive earbuds, there are a few quirks to be aware of, but those mostly rear their heads when you take them out into the world.

Moondrop Space Travel microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

How does the microphone sound to you?

36 votes

Moondrop Space Travel microphone demo (Office conditions):

Moondrop Space Travel microphone demo (Street conditions):

Moondrop Space Travel microphone demo (Windy conditions):

Moondrop Space Travel microphone demo (Reverberant space):

As you can hear, the Moondrop Space Travel mic does not offer much noise rejection, nor does it suppress room reverb very well. Merely having mics is a check in the plus column, but you might want something else if you talk on the phone outside a lot.

Should you buy the Moondrop Space Travel?

If you want inexpensive earbuds, the Moondrop Space Travel are an excellent place to start. Spending $25 on a pair of earbuds is as low-stakes of a gamble as you’ll find. Sure, there are some headaches, but if you’re mainly looking for something that sounds good and has halfway decent ANC, these earbuds are among the least expensive options available. Moondrop is one of the more popular budget brands right now, and it’s easy to see why with models like the Space Travel. While we know there’s no relationship between frequency response and price, the Moondrop Space Travel takes this to the extreme.

Moondrop Space TravelMoondrop Space Travel
Moondrop Space Travel
Price • Sound quality • Comfort
MSRP: $24.99

However, these earbuds do have a crappy charging case, and it’s not hard to get frustrated with it. If you’re the kind of person who isn’t all that gentle with their things or need any water resistance, there are better earbuds for you. These are inexpensive earbuds, after all, it’s not fair to ask too much of them.

What should you get instead of the Moondrop Space Travel?

When searching for alternatives, you will have difficulty getting the same bang for your buck that the Moondrop Space Travel provides. There’s not much in the way of name-brand options that directly compete with the Moondrop Space Travel.

A photo of the JLab JBuds Mini attached to a set of keys.
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys
If you attach the JBuds Mini to your keys, remember to check your wall charger if you’re looking for your keyring.

However, if you’re a fan of decent audio quality under $50 but you want a case and earbuds that can handle a workout, definitely kick the proverbial tires on the JLab JBuds Mini ($39.99 at Amazon). These earbuds are tiny, fit most ears well, and come with an ingress protection rating of IP55 — more than enough for workouts. Better still, they’re small enough to fit on a keychain, so you will have difficulty losing them… provided you put them on the key ring.

Enthusiasts looking at the Moondrop Space Travel should also look hard at the Moondrop Golden Ages ($79.99 at Amazon). Though these earbuds are much more expensive at $79.99, the sound quality is comparable, but the ANC is better. Even though they ring up at a higher price tag, you still get an excellent bang for your buck here.

Frequently asked questions

The earbuds do not support multipoint, so you’ll need to pair the earphones to each device you’d like to use.

Yes.

No.

No.

I wouldn’t suggest using earbuds with a short nozzle and no ingress protection rating for working out, though it is possible.

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