It’s fair to say that Mobvoi’s range of headphone products is a little confusing, with multiple versions of similar products, and it can be difficult for people to understand what the differences are. In this article we’ll try to explain each product version, to make it easier for you to know what you are buying.
Released in 2018, Mobvoi’s first wireless earbud product were essentially an Android version of Apple’s AirPods, but with a few added extras and a bargain price. You might still find these for sale in some retail channels, but they have since been replaced in Mobvoi’s range by newer models.
These pods featured silicon ear-tips, which provide passive noise-cancellation simply by blocking external noise from entering the ear-canal, thereby helping to isolate the audio being produced by the earphone drivers.
A range of touch controls are on offer, like sliding a finger along the stem to control volume, double tapping to skip a track, or holding your finger on the right bud for two seconds to activate your phone’s voice assistant. The pods automatically detect when they’ve been placed in your ear, and will pause audio playback when removed, until you put them back in again.
As these are standard Bluetooth headphones, they should pair with almost any phone, Android or Apple. The pod’s built-in battery lasts 3-4 hours, and the battery in the carry case recharges them when not in use – a single charge of the case should provide a total of 18 hours life.
Launched in 2019. It’s difficult to find much information about this model on the internet, as it seems to have very quickly been replaced by the TicPods 2 Pro. Fortunately, I bought a pair of these myself, so I can speak from personal experience when I say they’re great.
This version does not feature silicon ear-tips, instead just resting inside the ear. This means that external noise is not blocked, which is good if you still want to be able to hear what’s going on around you while listening to music.
As with the TicPods Free, you can use various touch-controls to control your listening experience and these can be customized in the Mobvoi companion app on your smartphone.
The battery life is improved over the previous model, offering 4 hours of continuous use from the buds’ internal batteries, and 23 hours total use when using the carry-case battery to recharge.
Sound quality is surprisingly good for a pair of buds, I wasn’t expecting much but I was seriously impressed. Another upgrade for this model is the inclusion of Qualcomm aptX HD audio, which enables much improved audio quality for Bluetooth headphones – you just need to enable this option via the app.
This version of the TicPods does not feature any passive or active noise cancelling, and features only a single mic. The chipset is Qualcomm’s QCC3026.
TicPods 2 Pro
In early 2020 Mobvoi released an upgraded version of the TicPods 2. The Pro model looks the same as the previous version, and offers the same battery life, but adds a few new features into the mix.
This model has dual microphones and active noise cancelling, which helps to reduce background noise and improve the quality of your phone calls.
Users can control audio playback and calls with commands such as “previous song” or “pick up call” and can also easily access their phones voice assistant via the headphones. Gesture control allows you to pick up or decline calls by nodding or shaking your head.
This model is based on the Qualcomm QCC5121 chipset.
TicPods 2 Pro+
Launched in the second half of 2020, the TicPods 2 Pro+ are another incremental upgrade, adding new features to an already great product.
The biggest update is the addition of Single Pairing Technology, which simply means that you can choose to use just one of the buds at a time if you want, so you no longer need to put both in if you want to make a phone call. You can also control each bud’s volume independently, if you want one side to be louder or quieter than the other.
Apart from some additional improvements to voice and gesture controls, this model remains largely unchanged from the previous version.
Released in 2020, this version of the TicPods re-introduces the silicon ear-tips to block external noise. As the name suggests, this model includes Active Noise Cancelling too, to help block out unwanted background noise – although unlike some of the other models this one only features a single mic.
Although this is a lower-cost product than the TicPods 2 Pro+, they do feature the Single Pairing Technology, which means you can use a single bud rather than both, should you choose. You don’t get the full range of voice and gesture controls from the more expensive model, but you can still use touch controls by tapping or sliding on the side of the pods.
The battery life is stronger on this model, with up to 6 hours of playtime from the bud’s battery, and a total of 21 hours use when using the case to recharge the buds.
Mobvoi will also allow you to buy individual buds at a very reasonable price, if you need to replace a lost one – which is a big concern for people using this style of wireless ear-bud.
As of February 2021, this is a current model in the TicPod range, aimed at people who want good noise cancelling and sound isolation capabilities, but don’t need gesture or voice control features.
Based on the Qualcomm QCC3031 chipset.
Mobvoi Earbuds Gesture
Released in 2020, this newest addition to the range confusingly no longer uses the TicPods brand name. This model offers all of the best features from the rest of the range, including dual mics, Active Noise Cancelling, Single Pairing Technology, as well as touch, voice, and gesture controls.
The downside is that this version only uses a 6mm speaker driver compared to the 13mm driver used in all of the other TicPod products, which means that sound quality is not going to be as strong on this model. The upside of this is that a smaller speaker driver means lower power consumption, and the battery life is significantly longer at up to 10 hours per charge for the earbud’s batteries, and a total of 50 hours usage when using the case battery to recharge the buds on the go.
If you primarily want to use ear-buds for speaking on phone calls, these are ideal. Or if you listen to a lot of podcasts and audio books, the lower sound quality won’t be noticeable. But if you’re looking for a set of wireless earbuds mostly for listening to music, it’s worth considering the TicPods ANC instead.