TicPods 2 Pro review


Mobvoi may be better known for its TicWatch smartwatches, but the Chinese wearable company has established itself in the world of real wireless headphones in recent years with the TicPods Free, and now the TicPods Pro 2.

The TicPods 2 Pro are part of a new line of authentic wireless headphones with advanced technologies such as noise canceling, integrated artificial intelligence and gesture controls – and at a lower price than Apple AirPods, they are also affordable.

Can Mobvoi offer all of this at such a low price? Yes and no: we test the economical headphones and they do not quite live up to their promises.

Price and availability

You can buy the TicPods 2 Pro for $ 99.99 / £ 119.99 / AU $ 209.99, which is a fairly competitive price for real wireless headphones. It’s cheaper than Apple’s AirPods, which start at $ 159 / £ 159 / AU $ 249 (unless you can find a good AirPods deal, that is).

The £ 99 Lypertek Tevi (around $ 130 / AU $ 185) has a similar price, which blew us away with their neutral, audiophile sound and great battery life.

(Image credit: Ditching)

Design

It is quite clear to see where Mobvoi drew its inspiration for the TicPods 2 Pro; these Apple AirPods look like long protruding rods and fixed tips, avoiding the silicone tips seen in TicPods Free.

The latter is an interesting decision by Mobvoi; after all, the lack of adjustable tips is a common criticism of the original AirPods, a feature that Apple changed for the 2019 AirPods Pro.

Unlike the AirPods, these wireless headphones are available in a range of trendy colors, including navy, white and light pink, and have a much smaller charging case, which includes a textured cover, two LEDs to indicate battery life and a USB-C charging port. The magnets hold the TicPods 2 Pro securely in place during charging.

An IPX4 water resistance rating means that these buds can be used during training, with the ability to withstand a little sweat or inclement weather.

(Image credit: Ditching)

Battery characteristics and autonomy

One of the calling cards of the TicPods 2 Pro is that they are controllable via voice, gesture and touch, using artificial intelligence technologies from Mobvoi, TicHear and TicMotion.

TicHear lets you control your audio playback with your voice, without the need to use a wake-up word to call your voice assistant of choice, be it Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri.

For example, you can give commands like “play music”, “previous song” or “hang up”, giving you a quick way to manage your audio and phone calls. You also summon your voice assistant using a universal wake-up word if you prefer; just say “Hey Tico” or long press your headset, and you’re good to go.

We found that this feature worked very well and we liked being able to give commands without first using the wake-up word from our voice assistant.

(Image credit: Ditching)

TicMotion, on the other hand, has worked less well. The idea is that you can control voice calls by moving your head, thanks to the built-in motion sensors – that means you can nod your head to accept a call, or shake to refuse.

But when trying to accept phone calls using these gestures, we found that the technology didn’t work often, no matter how much we shook or nodded.

Fortunately, the touch controls worked much more seamlessly. Raising your finger up and down on the right rod changes the volume, while you can press twice to skip a track or hold your finger for a few seconds to start your voice assistant and ask a question.

With Bluetooth 5.0, pairing these headphones with your phone is quick and easy, and we haven’t encountered any annoying connection dropouts while using them.

The battery life leaves something to be desired, with four hours in the headphones themselves and an additional 23 hours provided by the charging case. The Cambridge Audio Melomania 1, which cost $ 30 more in the United States (and, surprisingly, is the same price as the TicPods 2 Pro in the United Kingdom) blows out of the water with an exceptional 45 hours in total .

(Image credit: Ditching)

Performance

If the TicPods 2 Pro have built-in noise cancellation, we haven’t noticed it yet; using these buds, we could hear most of the outside world. Whether this is due to the poor seal offered by the silicone-free tips or a problem with the active noise canceling technology itself is unclear – in any case, the noise cancellation is definitely less than the normal.

For the price, however, the sound quality on offer isn’t bad at all. These headphones offer an extremely wide soundstage, with highly visible left and right panning, making them very natural, almost as if you are listening to speakers rather than closed earphones.

In A Simple Beautiful Truth by Wild Beasts, this broad soundscape reveals new details in the delayed guitar riffs and sinuous bass lines.

Generally, TicPods 2 Pro are incredibly heavy, which can sometimes seem harsh. Using the Mobvoi app, we switched between the various preset equalizer settings, including Classic, Pop, Heavy Metal, Bass and Megabass, in the hope of finding something a little richer and more user-friendly. bass. Unfortunately, these settings did not offer a huge noticeable difference, apart from the increase in volume.

Listening to Venom by Little Simz, we found that his voice appeared with a good level of detail, but a lot of mid and low frequencies were extremely set back, with the frenzied wasp-like cellos in the background.

Moving to 101 FM, bouncing synth melodies and a floating flute magnificently accentuated the young vocal performance of Little Simz; however, the bass was still significantly lacking.

(Image credit: Ditching)

Final verdict

For their price, there is a lot to like about the TicPods 2 Pro. They’re comfortable, the touch controls work well, and the use of TicHear technology means you can easily control your music playback and invoke the voice assistant of your choice with your voice alone.

However, the sound quality is not excellent; despite an exceptionally wide soundstage for this form factor, the TicPods 2 Pro really lack warmth and richness, especially in the mid and low frequencies. (For better sound, we recommend the Lypertek Tevi or the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1, which are priced similarly). Noise cancellation is also almost nonexistent and we have found that TicMotion gesture controls rarely work as they were supposed to.

For this reason, we would not recommend them to audiophiles or anyone specifically looking for noise canceling headphones – however, if you need a pair of low-cost authentic wireless headphones for casual listening and don’t want shell out for a pair of AirPods, the TicPods 2 Pro should do the job.

  • Read our TicWatch E review

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