Mobvoi Ticpods Free wireless in-ear headphones for $49.99
The Mobvoi TicPods Free In-Ear Headphones are the next Apple AirPod clone on the China Gadgets test bench. After the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air set the bar pretty high, I am curious if the counterpart of the TicWatch manufacturer has a chance here. With the volume control via handset they have at least one obvious advantage.Mobvoi Ticpods Free at Amazon for $49.99
|Name||Mobvoi TicPods Free|
|Driver||2x 6 mm Ø Graphs Driver|
|Frequency range||20-20.000 Hz|
|Battery capacity||2 x 85 mAh + 700 mAh|
|Weight||Per handset 6.8 g|
|Dimensions||41.7 x 18 x 7.1 mm per handset|
|IP protection class||IPX5|
|Audio formats||ACC, SBC|
Packaging and scope of delivery
The TicPods Free arrived undamaged in a comparatively small package. The package is labeled on the outside in English language, besides some specifications of the in-ear you can find a CE-mark here.
The box contains a micro-USB charging cable, a multilingual user manual, two pairs of ear pads, the charging box and a small rubber band for it.
Design & Processing
Even though the Mobvoi TicPods Free are at first sight a rather clumsy clone of the AirPods, there are some subtle differences in detail. First there is the charging box, which has the shape of an oversized pill in the TicPods Free. Inside it the in-ears lie next to each other, while in the original they are vertical.
There are two charging contacts on the inside of each handset, their counterparts are located in the box accordingly. The 2-pin connector is spring-loaded to ensure a permanent contact during the charging process.
One handset weighs about 6.8 grams including ear pads and measures 41.7 x 18 x 7.1 mm. Although the earpieces are just as long as the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air, the ear cup of the TicPods Free is larger, which makes the entire headphones look a little sturdier.
The in-ear headphones are available in classic white, dark blue and red. It’s nice that Mobvoi is showing its colors here, as most in-ears are only available in black and white.
Both the charging box and the headphones themselves are made of plastic. Only the hinge of the transport box is made of metal. All in all, the TicPods Free are very well made, I couldn’t find any material or workmanship defects on either the box or the headphones. But for the rather proud original price of ~$130 this is an absolute must, they are definitely not a bargain.
Sound of the Mobvoi Ticpods Free
The in-ear headphones are each equipped with a dynamic loudspeaker. Due to the size of the housing, it will probably have a diameter of ~6 mm – as with the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air. In the test I liked the sound of the Mobvoi TicPods Free quite well overall. Although there is only one dynamic driver here, the headphones dissolve precisely in the trebles and sound high-resolution.
In the midrange, the wireless in-ear is a bit thin for my taste. In my opinion, a little more emphasis here wouldn’t have been wrong. Of course, this can be individualized according to personal taste via equalizer settings.
I like the low frequency range again, where the TicPods Free have a lot to offer! The headphones have a rich and powerful bass, but in a form that does not dominate the overall sound – very nice.
TicPods Free or Liberty Air?
The question, of all questions – which wireless in-ear sounds better now? There are indeed simpler questions; the two TWS in-ears not only look almost the same, but also sound similar. Of course, as always in this field, it is a question of personal taste. In the high frequency range I can hear practically no difference, both in-ears have a precise and clear high tone.
However, the midrange and bass range differs somewhat, albeit marginally. The Mobvoi TicPods Free are a bit more reserved in these areas for my taste. Meanwhile, the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air sounds a touch more powerful and voluminous. I noticed this in the vocal range as well as in the low frequencies. However, the difference is so small that it is only noticeable in direct comparison. In this case, I wouldn’t sweepingly say that one headphone sounds better than the other.
Unfortunately, the Mobvoi TicPods Free only come with ear pads in two different sizes. Usually there are three pairs, Xiaomi usually even includes four pairs. Unfortunately, I did not get along so well with the included ear pads in the test.
During sports, it was mainly the right earpiece that didn’t sit properly with me personally. I often had to replace the in-ear because it didn’t seal properly after a while, which caused the sound to deteriorate.
Since the pads themselves are the right size, I later compared them with the ear tips of the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air. I noticed that although the pads themselves are almost the same size, the pads of the TicPods Free are made of a thicker material, which makes them less flexible. Without further ado, I exchanged the ear tips of the Mobvoi TicPods Free with those of the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air and these earpieces hold bombproof in my ear.
You shouldn’t pay too much attention to my experiences at this point, as it is well known that every ear is different. With the left ear, which is a little smaller in my case, I had no problems. What you can chalk up to the Mobvoi Ticpods Free, however, is the generally thin selection of ear pads included. With a ~$130 headphone you can expect a decent selection of ear pads, which unfortunately is not given. Mobvoi could have easily invested a few cents more in this price range. With the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air you have four pairs to choose from, so why not here?
Well thought-out operation via touch pads
The operation Moboi TicPods Free is overall very successful. All important commands can be executed via the touch panels in the handsets and, compared to the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air, the volume of the Mobvoi TicPods Free can even be adjusted. In addition, the touch panels are also larger, extending over the entire grained area on the back of the handset.
There are basically three gestures with which the smartphone or music is controlled. These include double tapping on the handset, touching and wiping for 2 seconds.
The only command that I miss here is the playback of the previous track, which is personally less important to me than adjusting the volume. In addition, another gesture was copied from Apple’s AirPods. If you take a receiver out of your ear, the music automatically pauses and starts again as soon as you put the receiver back into your ear. In tests this works reliably in ~98% of cases, a nice feature!
While most TWS in-ears are only used as mono headsets, the Mobvoi TicPods Free allows you to make stereo calls. During the test calls my conversation partners said that they could understand me well overall. There were only isolated interferences, in general the In-Ear is also suitable for longer conversations.
Overall the headset works better than the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air. They also offer a stereo headset, but the microphone quality is worse.
The Ticpods Free work with the older Bluetooth 4.2 standard, which is no criticism at this point. In the test, the Bluetooth connection between smartphone and headphones remained stable at a distance of about 9-10 meters. As soon as massive obstacles are added, another 5-6 meters are realistic without any connection problems.
The connection between the handsets is also solid, and during the test the connection between the right and left handsets remained basically stable. Only when the battery is very weak does the connection to the left handset break off briefly from time to time, in my experience. Since the battery is completely empty five minutes after the first drop-out anyway, this is not a point of criticism.
Each handset has an 85 mAh battery, plus 700 mAh in the charging box. In the test, the headphones lasted about 3.5-4 hours at 50%-70% music volume. This is roughly in line with the manufacturer’s specifications and is a solid value.
The renewed, complete charging process in the charging box takes about 45 minutes. After 15 minutes, however, there are already about 85 minutes of music enjoyment in the charger – I like it!
The Mobvoi TicPods Free were well liked in the test, apart from a few small things. The Wireless In-Ear is well made and looks absolutely top quality. At its regular price, this should be a matter of course.
In terms of sound, I like the In-Ear, it has a solid midrange, powerful bass and clear trebles. Compared to the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air, I could only notice marginal tonal differences, which for me personally are in favour of the Anker headphones. However, I think that you should not let this influence you, as this is actually only audible in direct comparison.
Because the Mobvoi Ticpods Free also offer some advantages, like a better or more extensive operation via touch panel and gesture control when you take the receiver out of your ear.
All in all, the headphones are not exactly a bargain, but with the right offer you can get a very good TWS in-ear with the Ticpods Free, which is another very good AirPod alternative besides the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air.To the gadget