This is episode two of our saga. When we first ventured into the quest to find the true wireless audio for gaming with low-latency, we clarified that we did not have the tools to test out aptX Low Latency, or aptX LL for short. We also mentioned that “low-latency” does not mean “no latency” and we stand by that statement.
In this episode of this quest, we finally got to test aptX LL. We have one new addition to our toolkit – and that’s the GuliKit Route+ Pro.
Here’s our full video explaining everything and also presenting the astonishing results. that we have to say about the GuliKit Route+ Pro. But there’s a catch – which we’ll explain in this video too.
Thanks a lot to GuliKit for making this possible! Check out their list of products here – the make a lot of other aptX LL audio transmitters too!
GuliKit Route+ Pro? What is that?
I am very confident that many of us here have not heard of the GuliKit Route+ Pro, or even heard of the brand name GuliKit before. Even I have not heard about it – because GuliKit is a company that makes products focused on the Nintendo Switch.
Yes – even the GuliKit Route+ Pro is made for the Nintendo Switch. But since the GuliKit Route+ Pro is a Bluetooth audio transmitter that uses USB Type-C, we can plug it into any devices using Type-C. Let’s proceed with the unboxing to know why.
Inside the box, we find this simple yet elegant packaging design. Opening the lid reveals:
- A product brochure
- The instructions sheet
- The GuliKit Route+ Pro
- A 3.5mm audio jack to microphone
- USB Type-A male to USB Type-C female dongle
- 180° angler
The 180° angler here is used specifically for the Nintendo Switch, so you can park the GuliKit Route+ Pro behind the console itself. However, you can also use it with certain smartphones – like the Galaxy S10+.
The GuliKit Route+ Pro is fairly easy to use too. There are only 3 steps in the instructions sheet. The Bluetooth pairing process is easy and straightforward.
Also, the GuliKit Route+ Pro has a USB Type-C passthrough port. That means you can charge your device while using the Route+ Pro at the same time! This is perfect for those who want to listen to music and charge your phone at the same time.
Let’s not forget – that USB Type-A male to USB Type-C female is meant for PCs or the Nintendo Switch in docked mode. It works like a USB sound card.
Our tools for Bluetooth audio delay test
In today’s experiment, we have some new tools to test the GuliKit Route+ Pro. We’re going to be using:
- ASUS ROG Phone 2
- Reecho Echoweek (SBC)
- Edifier GM3 (aptX)
- Ugreen Bluetooth adapter (aptX LL)
With these tools, we came up with 8 different permutations of tests. We’ll be testing:
- Direct loudspeaker
- Audio jack
- Phone BT → SBC
- Phone BT → aptX
- Phone BT → Ugreen adapter
- GuliKit Route+ Pro → SBC
- GuliKit Route+ Pro → aptX
- GuliKit Route+ Pro → Ugreen adapter
With these 8 permutations in mind, we reused the testing methodology from the previous test.
Honestly, they’re amazing. The ROG Phone 2 is a big boon here since it has 120Hz refresh rate, which further improves the accuracy in our tests.
Without further ado, here are our results from all of the 8 tests.
After analyzing the results, we can narrow down to only 4 important tests.
Firstly, I’m shocked by the ease of use. By pairing both the GuliKit Route+ Pro and the Ugreen Bluetooth audio receiver together, it automatically uses the aptX LL codec. No additional steps are needed.
Secondly, I’m shocked by the performance of aptX LL. It doesn’t introduce much delay at all! From our test, it only adds about 66.6667ms of delay. This is a huge improvement over other Bluetooth audio codecs.
However, that extra 67ms of delay is… noticeable. Well, depends on what you’re doing with it. For movies and videos, that extra 67ms of delay is unnoticeable.
For gaming, it truly depends on what games you’re playing. I tested Astral Chain and I didn’t notice any delay. Our resident rhythm gamer said that he noticed an audio delay right from the start.
And I have to agree with that. I also noticed audio delay while playing PUBG Mobile, when my adrenaline was pumping.
From here, we can deduce that the aptX LL with GuliKit Route+ Pro and Ugreen Bluetooth audio adapter is fine for other uses but not for time-critical uses.
What’s the big catch then?
From what we can find, the aptX LL does not support microphone input – at least based on our setup. It’s disappointing since we tried with 3 different earphones and none of their microphones work with the GuliKit Route+ Pro too. This isn’t GuliKit’s fault, but the limitation lies within aptX Low Latency protocol itself.
Digging into the aptX Low Latency website, I did find other wireless microphones using aptX LL codec – particularly the Antlion ModMic Wireless. And yet, that requires you to use that proprietary USB Type-A dongle and ultimately kills off the versatility of using it with other devices. 🤷♂️
Remember that little microphone that is included in the box with the GuliKit Route+ Pro? That microphone is just straight up a microphone. It works independently from the GuliKit Route+ Pro itself, too.
What this means is simple – the GuliKit Route+ Pro is perfect for most single-player games, but ultimately loses its edge due to the lack of microphone support.
After all of these tests, I can come up with a total of 3 key takeaway points:
- aptX LL is amazing and lives up to its name. Seriously.
- “Low latency” ≠ “no latency” (as per mentioned last time)
- Our solution is not perfect since microphone over aptX LL is not working
Truth is, the aptX LL standard is suitable for most use cases already. For some time-critical or when your adrenaline is pumping, you can notice that additional 66.6667ms of audio delay.
Is this the end of the quest to find the true wireless audio for gaming? Definitely not.
Where to buy?
Glad you asked! The setup for aptX Low Latency that we have here is pretty affordable as it totals up to ~RM200 only.