Though they’re primarily known for their TicWatch line of smartwatches, Mobvoi is definitely no stranger to the wireless earbud game. The Mobvoi Earbuds Gesture is the latest set of wireless earbuds released by the company and the first to depart from their usual “TicPod” branding. A change in name aside, though, by simply browsing through their products I was able to see that the Earbuds Gesture ended up taking a lot of elements from a few previous iterations of the TicPod line, and bringing them together in this brand new set. So what does Mobvoi carry over into this latest model of their earbuds? Let’s start off by taking a look at some tech specs!
- Gesture Control: TicMotion Head-gesture Controls
- Touch Control: Long-press, double-tap, triple-tap
- Voice Assistant: Siri and Google Assistant (via phone)
- Bluetooth: Bluetooth 5.0, lo-latency within 10m (32 feet)
- Independent Connection: Yes
- Phone App Support: Yes ( Mobvoi App)
- Dual-mic Noise Cancellation: Yes (ENC noise cancellation)
- Microphone: Dual-mic for clear phone calls
- Speaker: 6mm
- Extra Silicone Ear Tips: Mid and small size (two pairs)
- Water Resistance Rating: IPX5
- Ergonomic Fit: Yes
- Music Playing Time:
- Up to 50 hours (with the charging case)
- Up to 10 hours (with single earbuds)
- Talking time: Up to 7 hours
- Charging time (charging case): 1.88 hours
- Charging time (earbuds): 1.5 hours
- Battery Size of Earbuds: 85mAh premium Li-ion button-cell battery
- USB Charging: Type-C
So right out of the packaging, my immediate impression is admiration for just how attractive the physical design is. The case is sleek and clean, with some nice raised texture with the lines at the top of the case. It also appears to be at least a little smudge proof, which I always appreciate. Inside the case, the earbuds sit snugly in their charging ports, and the top is lined with some rubber to keep the earbuds snug inside the case, as well as offer a bit of extra protection. The earbuds themselves have a sort of consistency with the case; the back has a similar raised texture to the top of the case, while the actual earbuds have that same sleek, smudge resistant flat black as the rest of the case. The build on both products are very high quality, with nothing feeling cheap on either the case or the buds. But they’re still lightweight, to the point where I often forget that I’m carrying them in my pocket, and they feel like a natural extension of my ears when I’m using them. Finally, the whole setup is a perfectly petite size, fitting perfectly in the palm of my hand and taking up little to no room in my pocket. Included with the earbuds are a single set of extra silicon tips, and the trademark “too short” USB-C charging cable that all wireless earbuds seem to come with. All very no frills and standard, but comes with everything you’ll need.
For sound quality, I was honestly impressed with what I got in such a tight package. That’s not to say that I think these buds are going to win awards for sound quality, but for a 6mm driver I was shocked at how crisp and balanced everything sounded. Playing through my usual suspects for testing a set of buds, I found that everything comes through with crystal clarity, all mixed without any one element overpowering the other, and with a clean, pleasant output. Unfortunately, one area where the Earbuds Gesture does fall short is the bass. It’s still present and audible, but it’s definitely on the lower end of the spectrum. The passive noise cancellation provided by the silicon tips and the in-ear design does help with this, though, as it creates a bit of an isolated atmosphere for listening to music while canceling out ambient environmental and background noise. They’re not active noise cancelling earbuds like the TicPods ANC, but they do a good enough job passively that even at mid volume, I’m able to block out most environmental and background noises. In terms of the mic quality, voice comes across in phone calls clearly, with the dual mic’s working to cancel out background noise and isolate the speaker's voice. All in all, these buds have some pretty good sound quality for the comparatively lower price.
The Earbuds Gesture gets their name from the gesture tracking motion control gimmick they feature. Answering phone calls while using the earbuds is as simple as nodding your head “yes” twice to accept, or shaking it “no” twice to reject. It’s a fun gimmick that I’ve definitely put to use as often as I can. That said, it really does feel like just that; a gimmick. It’s useful, but not a necessary function in the slightest. It’s also not unique to the Earbuds Gesture, as it’s also present in the TicPods 2 and TicPods 2 Pro+, albeit at a higher price point. Outside of these gesture controls, there are also on earbud touch controls that allow you to answer calls, play/pause/skip music, and activate the phone’s voice assistant with a few taps. There’s an issue here though when controlling music on the earbuds, and that’s the activated “beep” that plays to signify that your command registered. The beep plays as the control is being executed, and cuts off the beginning of the song which is a big annoyance, in my mind. One major missing feature is the ability to raise or lower the volume on the earbuds. It’s a massive oversight that sort of bothers me to not have included, as I feel like it’s almost become a standard inclusion on earbud sets. It’s especially confusing, as the earbuds marketing touts a hands free, active lifestyle but the inability to adjust volume without grabbing your phone prevents that from being entirely true.
The strongest point these earbuds have in their favor is, easily, the battery life. On the buds themselves you can get up to ten hours of listening time by using each earbud individually, or seven hours of talking time, on a single charge. The earbud case, meanwhile, can hold a whopping 50 hours worth of charging time to bring on the go. It’s quick charging, too, bringing the buds from zero to a hundred percent power in just 1.25 hours, and charging both the case and buds in a hair under two hours. Compared to other wireless earbuds on the market, this is definitely on the higher end when it comes to battery quality. If holding enough power to make it through a couple days on the go, while not being too ridiculously large, is an important factor in your wireless earbud purchasing decision, these are an easy, top contender.
I think the best way to sum up the Mobovi Earbuds Gesture would be “very good.” It admittedly doesn’t bring a whole lot of anything “new” to the party, instead borrowing much from previous TicPod iterations. But rather, they take some of the best pieces from these previous models, and brings them together in a set of new, moderately priced earbuds. The getsure gimmick is neat and useful, albeit a bit unnecessary, and the passive noise cancellation brings enough that it doesn’t leave me wanting despite the lack of active noise cancellation. Combine that with some incredible battery life, and some above average sound quality, and it’s easy to recommend the Earbuds Gesture - despite the somewhat silly name.