After making a strong first impression with its original TicPods true wireless earbuds, Mobvoi is back with two updated models that bring a bunch of improvements and new features that hopefully address some of the shortcomings we found on the first-generation.
Last year’s TicPods Free weren’t the best sounding true wireless earbuds we’d ever heard, their gesture controls left a lot to be desired, and their charging case could have been better about communicating when your battery was getting low.
Despite all that, we gave them a review score of 8/10 for being supremely comfortable and convenient. After being paired with a smartphone for the first time, they would automatically connect the second you removed them from their charging case on subsequent uses, and this turned out to be one of the biggest reasons we kept reaching for the TicPods over the other options we had on hand.
Mobvoi has undoubtedly learned a thing or two from its previous iteration and the company has just launched two new models: TicPods 2 and TicPods 2 Pro. Both are equipped with Qualcomm aptX Audio that is said to boost the sound quality (though this can be disabled if you disagree), and Mobvoi says their 13mm moving coil produces better sound than higher-priced true wireless earbuds. Actually, they go as far as saying they’ll blow the competition out of the water. Them’s fightin’ words, Mobvoi. The company also went out of its way to add new equalizer settings to the Mobvoi companion app (for iOS and Android).
Along with better sound, the second-generation TicPods come with a charging case that is 40% smaller and supports USB-C. There’s also mention of support for fast charging—just five minutes in the case can juice your earbuds up for an hour of playtime. Less exciting specifications include IPX4 dust and water resistance, in-ear detection, and support for Bluetooth 5.0 so you can get further away from your playback device.
From there, the specifications deviate depending on which version you buy. The standard TicPods 2 are set at an attractive $99, while the TicPods 2 Pros are a pricier $139 but gain dual-mic noise cancellation and a snappier Qualcomm chipset that enables some “AI-powered” features. The Pro model has quick commands that let you pause your music, change the track, or answer calls without using a wake word. They’re also equipped with “TicMotion” head controls so you can nod or shake your head to answer or ignore phone calls.
Janky gesture controls were one of the biggest complaints we had about the first-generation TicPods, especially with how long the “long-press” gestures were. It looks like some of the new features on the second-generation Pro version may address some of those shortcomings, though we’ll have to wait until we get hands-on to make that statement definitively.
For now, it’s safe to say that the TicPods 2 seem to be a step in the right direction. Bringing the base model down to $99 is a big deal for what is becoming a highly competitive territory. And you’ll even get better battery life on the base model thanks to its use of a single-mic with noise cancellation instead of dual-mics. Both models get up to four hours of continuous playtime but the cheaper $99 version cites 23 hours when charging off the case, while the Pro model gets 20 hours.
Pre-orders are wide open on Mobvoi.com for both the TicPods 2 and TicPods 2 Pro, and if you buy them before they launch for real on January 15, you’ll get 10% off. They’re also listed on Amazon and should be available for purchase there soon. Color options include Navy, Ice, and Blossom.