Answer calls, talk to Google Assistant, and more.
Ever since Apple released its AirPods in 2016, there's been a constant hunt for a comparable alternative for Android phones. Many have tried and failed, and now Mobvoi's taking a stab at this niche with the TicPods Free.
Mobvoi is the same company behind the TicHome Mini and TicWatch series, and at first glance, the TicPods Free look like a solid AirPods competitor. You'll find two separate earbuds that aren't connected by any wires, and they can be placed in the included carrying case for easy recharging when you're not using them.
There aren't any buttons on the TicPods Free, but you can perform a variety of gestures. Swiping up or down will adjust your volume, a double tap skips a song or accepts/ends a call depending on what you're doing, and a long press will reject an incoming call and prompt your phone's voice assistant (such as Google Assistant, Alexa, Siri, etc.)
Mobvoi is touting ambient noise cancelation and noise isolation to ensure you've got access to the best listening experience possible, and this is enhanced thanks to an in-ear detection system. Take one of the TicPods out of your ear while music is playing and it'll automatically pause. Place it back in your ear and the tunes will start playing where you left off – just like AirPods.
Add all of this together with 18-hours of total battery life (4 hours on the earbuds and 14 extra hours with the case) and IPX5 water/dust resistance, and you end up with a pretty enticing package.
Retail pricing for the TicPods Free is currently set at $129, but you can get them at a discounted price thanks to various early-bird bundles being offered with their ongoing Indiegogo campaign. If you choose to be an early backer for the earbuds, shipments are expected to begin this July.