NEW DELHI :
The wireless earbuds segment, also called hearables, has been growing gradually in the world, including India. The segment now accounts for a major portion of overall wearable sales, and the prices are falling.
Like the Realme Buds Air we reviewed earlier, the TicPods Free belong to the affordable segment. The company offers them in three colours, they are water resistant and support voice assistants such as Siri and Google Assistant. Mobvoi, the company that makes these headphones, is known for its TicWatch smartwatches.
The TicPods Free have a bass-heavy audio signature and will do well for those who listen to bass-driven music. That covers a lot of genres, including most music Bollywood produces these days. However, being bass heavy can be a problem, too, as bass guitars and drums will overshadow other instruments in many tracks. As a result, vocals-driven music such as Jenny of the Oldstones from Game of Thrones will sound somewhat off and less impactful than they should.
Similarly, because it doesn’t do particularly well with the high notes, the audible twang of a guitar in Joe Satriani’s Flying in a Blue Dream is missing. It doesn’t deliver the overall experience that the artist wants.
That said, the audio quality won’t bother most mainstream listeners. The TicPods Free would pale in comparison to say the Bose Soundsport Free, but compared with the Realme Buds Air, these are cleaner.
However, the gesture controls seem to fail quite often when you’re sliding your finger to toggle volume. Similarly, in-ear detection fails, too, with music not pausing when you take them off your ear.
In sum, at ₹8,499, it doesn’t have a great value proposition. This would have been worth buying at the ₹5,000 or lower range.
■ Design is functional and light
■ Audio quality suits the mainstream
■ Water resistance is handy
■ Not the best value-for-money buds
■ Supports micro-USB charging only
■ Gesture controls are wonky