Voice-controlled true wireless earbuds are all the rage, but not everyone is on board with talking out loud to Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant in public places; that's where the new TicPods 2 Pro come in.
Announced at CES 2020 by Mobvoi (the minds behind the Ticwatch Pro, Ticwatch S and Tichome Mini), the new noise-cancelling true wireless earbuds follow on from the TicPods Free – Apple AirPod-alikes that we awarded 3.5 out of 5 stars in our review.
- CES 2020: everything we've seen so far
- What are the best true wireless earbuds of 2020?
- Read our TicPods Free review
Alongside the TicPods 2 Pro are the TicPods 2, which sport the same audio specs and design, but don't feature noise cancellation or the ability to use voice commands or gestures to control your music.
You're able to pre-order the TicPods 2 now in the US, UK and Australia with the release date set for January 15. The TicPods 2 cost $139.99 / £85.99 / AU$139.99, while the TicPods 2 Pro cost more at $99.99 / £119.99 / AU$209.99, but if you pre-order before January 15 can get 10% off both products.
Controllable via voice, gesture, and touch Mobvoi's own artificial intelligence technologies TicHear and TicMotion come built-into the TicPods 2 Pro.
TicMotion is the technology that allows you to control your music and calls by moving your head, thanks to built-in motion sensors – that means you can nod your head to accept a call, or shake to decline.
Not embarrassed by talking to yourself out loud? TicHear allows you to control your audio playback with your voice, without needing to use a wake word to summon your voice assistant of choice, whether that's Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri.
For example, you can give commands like "play music" "previous song" or "hang up", giving you a quick way to manage your audio and phone calls. You also summon your voice assistant using a universal wake word if you prefer; simply say "Hey Tico" or long-press your earbud, and you're good to go.
Both the TicPods 2 and TicPods 2 Pro come with Qualcomm's aptX Audio encoder, for high definition sound, while the TicPods 2 Pro also feature noise cancelation, blocking out annoying environmental sound.
Like the TicPods Free, both the TicPods 2 and TicPods 2 Pro have stems that sit out of your ear that contain the battery and touch controls. You can run your finger along the one on the right to change the volume, plus you can double tap to skip a track or hold your finger for a few seconds to boot up your voice assistant and ask a question.
Those protruding stems are more than a little reminiscent of the Apple AirPods; Mobvoi has even got rid of the silicone eartips of their predecessors, opting for an Apple-esque fixed eartip design.
It's an interesting move, considering the lack of silicone eartips has long been a criticism of the Apple AirPods, something the company addressed with the AirPods Pro.
Unlike the AirPods, you'll be able to get both TicPod models in a range of colors, including navy, white, and light pink.
- Check out all of TechRadar's CES 2020 coverage. We're live in Las Vegas to bring you all the breaking tech news and launches, plus hands-on reviews of everything from 8K TVs and foldable displays to new phones, laptops and smart home gadgets.
- The best noise-cancelling headphones you can buy in 2020
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Olivia was previously TechRadar's Senior Editor - Home Entertainment, covering everything from headphones to TVs. Based in London, she's a popular music graduate who worked in the music industry before finding her calling in journalism. She's previously been interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live on the subject of multi-room audio, chaired panel discussions on diversity in music festival lineups, and her bylines include T3, Stereoboard, What to Watch, Top Ten Reviews, Creative Bloq, and Croco Magazine. Olivia now has a career in PR.