The TicPods ANC are Mobvoi’s offering for a pair of true wireless earbuds touting active noise-cancelling functionality, but with alternative ANC earbuds costing double if not triple the price of these – are they any good?
The TicPods ANC share a clear design similarity to Apple’s AirPods, featuring the same stem-style design and glossy white finish as their fruity competitor. As the earbuds are glossy, the white finish allows for scratches and scuffs that may appear from regular usage to stay fairly hidden, if the earbuds were glossy black, smudges and scratches could become much more prominent. Unfortunately, there are no other colour options aside from glossy white, so you’re stuck with a single colour if the TicPods ANC pique your interest.
The plastic construction of the earbuds is lightweight and therefore comfortable to wear when listening, with the silicone ear tips providing some extra grip to ensure that the earbuds have a secure fit within the ear. These are not traditional ear tips, however, but more of a sleeve for the whole top of the earbud which has an ear tip built into it, I did find this to be a rather odd implementation as it does not provide much passive sound isolation and therefore would also hinder the effectiveness of the ANC – but I will talk about that specifically later during the review.
The stems of the earbuds have a slight curve to them, giving the earbuds an ergonomic shape that fits well around the ear. The remaining design of the earbuds is fairly simplistic, with a couple of microphone holes on the stem as well as an indicator LED to show the status of the earbuds. The bottom of the stem has charging contact points for when the earbuds are stored in their charging case and the top is home to the touch controls.
Overall, the design of the earbuds is minimal and they’re very lightweight and therefore comfortable to wear but the odd implementation of ear tips does stand out to me as it seems to not offer many benefits.
The charging case is fairly compact and features a curved design that makes it more comfortable for keeping in your pockets. The case opens at the top and has a fairly loose hinge that will close by itself when held at an angle, there’s no resistance built into the hinge. The case features an LED indicator light on both the outside and inside and supports charging over USB Type-C.
The case shares the same glossy white finish as the earbuds on the outside, with a matte and glossy inside. The case is able to securely store the earbuds without the worry of them accidentally falling out as they are held in magnetically.
The TicPods ANC sound good, containing 13mm drivers which are able to provide decent coverage of the audio spectrum.
Trebles and mids are clear providing good clarity for vocals and instruments such as pianos and strings, although vocals could sound a little sharp and piercing at times – particularly on vocalists with higher-pitched voices. Despite my quarrels with the ear tips style, the bass manages to be present, and quite prominent on R&B and hip-hop genres, although it can be a bit lacking in certain tracks. These aren’t bassy earbuds, but they do have a warm sound signature.
The soundstage of the earbuds is good, when listening to tracks such as “Another Love” by Tom Odell, the positioning and stereo separation of the various instruments can be identified, although at moments when a lot is happening within the track the earbuds did struggle to convey the detail of each instrument and the sound became a little more condensed.
I think the earbuds are well suited for casual listening, but if you’re looking for a detailed listening experience, I do think that there are better options in this price bracket, I feel like the TicPods ANC can’t quite offer everything a track has to give – they sound a little restrained.
The microphone on the earbuds sounds great, it managed to pick up my voice to an audible volume and my voice sounded clear. If you want to make phone calls or voice memos using the TicPods ANC, they’re up to the task.
The TicPods ANC feature Bluetooth 5.0 and will pair with your device when you open the lid of the case, so the earbuds will be connected to your device as soon as you put them in your ears. I did find the connection to the earbuds to stutter on occasion, but overall, it was stable.
The earbuds also feature touch controls for track, phone and voice assistant controls, but unfortunately, there is no ability to adjust the volume from the earbuds directly – you’ll have to get your phone out to do that. Luckily, the touch controls were responsive and worked well and they also allow you to cycle through the different listening modes, including ANC mode, sound-passthrough mode and ANC-off mode.
Let’s talk about the ANC on these earbuds. Honestly, it’s not that good and leaves a lot to be desired, which is surprising as ANC is in the name of the product itself. I found the ANC was able to remove very quiet background white noise, but it was unable to remove any other background noise around me, there was no real difference between having ANC turned on and turned off. I even tried multiple sized ear tips to see if that would solve it, but it just seems to be not that good.
The sound-passthrough mode worked well at allowing sound through and it sounded fairly natural, there was some white noise from having this mode on, but I was able to hear the goings-on around me.
The TicPods ANC feature up to 5 hours of playtime with ANC turned on and 6 hours of playtime with ANC off, the charging case can provide up to 18 additional or 21 additional hours of listening respectively.
When it comes to charging up the earbuds, this is done over USB Type-C and will take around 1 and a half hours to fully charge again, unfortunately, wireless charging is not supported by the charging case.
I really wanted to like them, but unfortunately, the TicPods ANC just didn’t hit the mark on my expectations for what they claimed to offer. They’re a bit of a mixed bag, for me at least, the listening experience is okay but not great and they’re certainly not the best choice for a pair of earbuds with active noise cancellation – far from it.
If you want a pair of earbuds that visually look similar to AirPods, but don’t want to spend the cash, the TicPods ANC are a more price-friendly alternative as they provide a reasonable listening experience that is comfortable and lightweight.
If you’re looking for great sound and great ANC, they wouldn’t be my first choice. If you’re looking for good value-for-money sound, the TaoTronics SoundLiberty 79 are a great sounding option and if you’re adamant on having ANC, the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro are a pricier option – but they provide fantastic quality ANC.
The TicPods ANC true wireless earbuds are available to purchase on Amazon.
TicPods ANCTicPods ANC
- Lightweight construction
- Budget AirPods alternative
- Good quality microphones
- ANC is terrible
- No volume control with touch controls
- Ear-tips provide poor isolation