TicPods ANC review

The TicPods ANC are the latest to join Mobvoi’s headphone portfolio, and as you may have guessed, it includes active noise cancellation. And while this feature is a welcome addition, the buds lost some of the smart features other TicPod headphones are known for. Keep reading to find out more about the new buds.

Thanks to Mobvoi for sending these out for review.

Design

The TicPods ANC now mimic the AirPods design more than ever, utilizing a compact top-loading case design for the headphones. The buds are easy to insert and are held securely in place with strong magnets.

In my TicPods 2 review, I remarked how impressed I was by how lightweight the case and buds are. In fact, they were so light, I easily forgot I had them in my pockets on some days.

The TicPods ANC aren’t quite as light, but still not heavy, coming in at an extra 12 grams. Fortunately, part of the reason for that slight weight increase is a larger battery, and that’s a good thing because ANC is battery hungry tech.

The TicPods themselves have a familiar design, featuring the earbud with a long stem, which has been popularized by Apple. Each bud is held in your ear with a silicone tip that is used to help isolate sound.

Unlike previous generations of Mobvoi headphones, the TicPods ANC lack the convenient “tickle” gesture to adjust the volume. However, they still feature a touch-sensitive button on each side to control playback and cycle through the different noise cancellation modes.

Comfort

As someone with smaller than average ear canals, it’s not always easy for me to find the best fit when it comes to headphones. In the case of the TicPods ANC, I would have loved if Mobvoi had included a set of smaller ear tips.

Regardless, the smallest size wasn’t uncomfortable, and I was able to wear them without issue for a couple of hours. It just would have been more comfortable for me if they were smaller.

User Experience

When connecting true wireless earbuds there are usually two different methods employed. One has the buds connect after they are removed from the case, while the other connects them as soon as the case is opened. Mobvoi chose the latter with the TicPods ANC, which means as soon as the buds get in your ear, you’re ready to start listening.

Speaking of pairing, the TicPods ANC earbuds work independently, which allows you to use one bud at a time or both. This way, you can choose to wear both when enjoying music and blocking out distractions, or you can wear one as a Bluetooth earpiece for when you need more awareness of your surroundings.

Along with noise cancellation, the TicPods ANC includes a passive mode to allow sound in from the outside world. This is fantastic for when you need to speak to someone or be aware of your surroundings while allowing you to leave the buds in your ears.

Unlike some other buds I’ve tried with this feature, the TicPods ANC don’t lower the volume of the music which makes having a conversation more difficult. However, it should be good enough for helping you stay aware while commuting.

I must admit, previous TicPods have spoiled me with their app support. Unfortunately, Mobvoi didn’t see fit to add support for the TicPods ANC. That means, there is no app where you can change the equalizer, view the battery level of the case, and certainly no way to adjust the level of noise cancellation. That’s a real pity, because one of the main strengths of Mobvoi’s products comes from the additional features the app provides.

Sound Quality

The TicPods ANC lacks aptX support and an equalizer like some of its predecessors, yet they still manage to impress with sound quality. They skew slightly to the highs providing plenty of clarity and instrument separation, while still preserving the low-end with the help from the silicone ear tips which aids them in producing deep thumping bass.

While I would have preferred more customization with an equalizer and a higher bit rate Bluetooth audio codec, AAC is fine and maintains compatibility between Apple and Android devices.

ANC

I tested the noise cancellation on the TicPods ANC in a couple of different scenarios and found it does a good job at significantly reducing repetitive sounds. These are the sort of sounds you might hear while on an airplane or when your air conditioner is running. However, while it does reduce the noise, it does not completely silence it, but if you listen to your music at around 30% or higher, you’ll essentially block it out.

Battery Life

Mobvoi rates the TicPods ANC for five hours of battery life with ANC off and 4.5 hours with ANC enabled, and along with the case, that gives you 21 hours of battery life overall. In my experience, they live up to this claim, but without being able to monitor it in the app, it’s a bit more difficult to keep track of the number of recharges left.

Final Thoughts

More and more headphone makers are adding ANC to true wireless headphones these days. These earbuds are the latest from Mobvoi to do so–and while it skimps in features compared to its previous models–the TicPods ANC provide active noise cancellation, good battery life, and decent sound at an affordable price.

If you do decide to pick up a pair for yourself, our friends over at Mobvoi have sweetened the deal with a 15% discount. Just enter the code Droid15 at checkout, but make sure to hurry, the code expires on September 30, 2020.

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