This story is part of our continuing coverage of CES 2020, including tech and gadgets from the showroom floor.
Remember Mobvoi’s TicPods Free? You know, the AirPods doppelgänger that hit shelves in 2018? Well, Mobvoi has refreshed them for 2020. Showcased at CES 2020, the TicPods 2 and the TicPods 2 Pro are the latest true wireless earbuds to leave the manufacturer’s Beijing headquarters, with the Pro introducing both TicMotion and TicHear. These work in tandem to allow users to interact with their TicPods Pro without having to touch them or mumble a wake-up word — it’s all done through head movement.
Mobvoi says TicPods 2 Pro owners can answer or decline a call by moving their head in a particular motion. It’s an interesting concept, for sure, but we’re struggling to see how that’s more convenient than reaching up and tapping a Pod to accept the call, then tapping it again to end it. Maybe that’s because we haven’t had the chance to test it out for ourselves yet, though we can’t be alone in assuming that it could lead to an awful lot of mismanaged calls while traveling on an unbalanced vehicle, like a bus and train.
The TicPods 2 Pro also offer what’s known as TicHear. As we said earlier, this allows users to communicate with their TicPods without first having to mutter “Hey Tic.” This means they’re always listening, ready for you to instruct them to queue up a particular song, skip to the next track, or hang up a call. But again, we have our concerns. How do they know when you’re speaking to them and not a colleague, friend, or maybe even a fellow commuter? That’s something we’ll need to test for ourselves — and we will.
Both the TicPods 2 and TicPods 2 Pro support AAC and aptX for high-quality streaming. They also offer water-resistance and quick charging, with a 5-minute charge translating to around an hour of listening time. However, that’s where the similarities end. For example, there’d dual-microphone noise-cancellation on the TicPods 2 Pro, and mono-microphone noise-cancellation on the standard TicPods 2. The Pro can last for up to 20 hours and the TicPods 2 up to to 23 hours — that includes power stored in the bundled charging case.
Interestingly, Mobvoi did away with the silicone eartips found on the original TicPods Free in favor of a fixed eartip design on the TicPods 2 and TicPods 2 Pro. The rest is much the same, though. The Pods themselves feature an AirPod-like stem that drops down from each ear. These contain the battery and touch controls. You can run your finger along the right Pod to change the volume, notes Tech Radar, and double-tap to skip a track. Holding your finger for a few seconds will boot up your voice assistant of choice.
The TicPods 2 and TicPods 2 Pro are available to pre-order through Amazon now, with pricing starting at $99 for the former and maxing out at $139 for the latter — which is still $110 cheaper than the AirPods Pro.
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