Handsfree Siri access on a budget
Mobvoi’s TicPods Free were a moderate success and offered an excellent, similar-looking but cheaper alternative to the AirPods.
With their latest TicPods 2 Pro, they are pushing ahead with a large emphasis on AI-enabled gestures competing head to head the AirPods 2 and similar TWS earbuds that have the same features.
So how do they compare?
Let’s find out in our in-depth TicPods 2 Pro review…
They retain the design of the TicPods Free with the long stems and oblong charging case. However, these earbuds are a bit slimmer, which makes them a bit more comfortable when worn for longer periods, but hinders sound isolation.
There is a downgrade in the waterproofing to IPX-4, which still makes them sweat resistant, but it means they cannot be submerged.
Exercising wasn’t easy…
We found the fit to be too loose, but getting larger aftermarket ear tips or having smaller ears might make them usable.
The earbuds are well built, feel solid, and are light enough to not cause any discomfort.
The touch controls take a lot of cues from the larger over-ear wireless headphones like the Sony WH-1000XM3. And swiping up or down on the earbud stems will control volume. The rest is done by pressing the stem for short or longer amounts of time.
There is no H1 chip present, but accessing Siri or Google Assistant is done by saying, “Hey, Tico.” This will start whichever voice assistant you currently have set as your default on your device.
Answering or rejecting calls is done using the motions of your head. Simply nod once to answer or twice to reject a call. This is quite clever, and we haven’t seen it done on any other device.
The carrying case is also well built and is just the right size. It can easily slip into your pocket without feeling too large. If you prefer keeping it in your bag, it is strong enough to withstand some knocking about.
The TicPods 2 Pro sound noticeably different than their previous earbuds.
There has been a good amount of extra bass added to these, which isn’t a bad thing for most people. The extra bass sounds nice and doesn’t lead to too much auditory masking. They sound good in a quiet room or office, but outside or on the bus, things get a little rough.
The lack of proper isolation leads to a lot of external noise leaking into the sound. This makes the music sound muddy and unclear, which isn’t very pleasant to listen to.
Volume isn’t the answer…
People tend to turn the volume up to combat this, but that can lead to permanent hearing damage, which is a bad thing.
These earbuds won’t be turning any heads soon with their sound, but are fine for people who are just looking for a nice, affordable pair of earbuds to use in the office or at home.
The microphones are fine. There is some active noise cancelling going on using the dual-array microphones, but it doesn’t make much of a difference in a café or busy street.
Connectivity and Battery Life
These earbuds aren’t the best performers when it comes to battery life.
At 70% volume, the batteries quickly drained in three and a half hours. Luckily, with the latest version, the case charges with USB-C, which supports fast charging, and five minutes of charging will get you an hours’ worth of playback.
The case itself has our full charges, which means you will most likely never run out of battery.
Quick, but no multi-connection…
The earbuds connect using Bluetooth Version 5. They quickly reconnect to the previously connected device, but there is no multi-connect function. However, they do offer automatic ear detection, which means once you take them out, they will stop playing and vice versa.
The earbuds come with aptX and AAC support, which is great for those who want to listen to high-res music. This also means there is almost no latency when watching Netflix or YouTube videos online.
Who are the TicPods 2 Pro for?
If you are looking at the original AirPods to save some cash, you might be better off buying these. They come with more premium features like the touch gestures and fast charging.
The voice assistant integration is a great selling point, and if you already have some products in your home that are compatible, controlling things from the TicPods 2 Pro will be as easy as saying. “Hey, Tico.”
If you have a more constrained budget and want a decent pair of TWS earbuds, these are great, especially if you want something that resembles the same style as the AirPods.
The biggest issue is the fact that these are quite a bit more expensive than the normal TicPods 2, which omit only a few features. The head gestures are gone, and there is only a single microphone included on the non Pros. The lesser chip also does not support voice assistants, but if you don’t care for that, then buying the more affordable “non-pro” version might be a far better and cheaper option.
TicPods 2 Pro Review – Pros and Cons
- aptX and AAC supported codecs.
- IPX-4 water resistant.
- Voice assistant support.
- Fast charging USB-C
- Lacks proper noise isolation.
- Poor battery life.
- No multi-connect function.
- Loose fit.
Looking for more excellent earbuds?
If so, check out our reviews of the Most Durable Earbuds, the Best Earbuds under 100 Dollars, the Best Earbuds for Running, the Best Headphones and Earbuds for Sleeping, the Best True Wireless Earbuds, the Best Noise Cancelling Earbuds, and the Best Earbuds under 50 Dollars on the market, for even more options.
TicPods 2 Pro Review – Round-Up
The TicPods 2 Pro do a lot of things well with a decent sound profile that favors some extra bass and decent voice assistant support. However, unfortunately, these don’t quite make up for the lack of proper isolation and the loose fit.
The Anker Soundcore Liberty Air earbuds have a similar design, touch gestures, and IPX-5 waterproofing. They also fit much tighter and form a decent seal when worn. They are also much cheaper, making them an easy buy over these earbuds, that is, as long as you don’t mind longer charging times, less intuitive controls, and no voice assistant support.
If you want the features, then as with most things, you have to pay the price.