Specialist in connected watches, Bluetooth headphones and treadmills, Mobvoi is launching new True Wireless headphones with active noise reduction, at a nice price. The Mobvoi Earbuds ANC also feature “large” 13 mm transducers, promising powerful sound. However, they suffer from major flaws.
Mobvoi enriches its range of Bluetooth headphones and offers, for less than 60 euros, true wireless intras with an active noise reduction system, large 13 mm transducers and support for SBC and AAC audio codecs.
Mobvoi Earbuds ANC
Active noise reduction
This test was carried out with headphones loaned by Mobvoi.
Mobvoi has demonstrated a certain conformity for the design of its Earbuds ANC and the result is convincing. These in-ear earbud headphones are made of glossy black PVC, with an assembly above suspicion. Their shell is shaped so as to rest in the pinna of the ear.
A quick look at the surface of the headphones reveals two microphones on each of them – one at the base of the stem, the other at the top of the shell – as well as a touch zone on the top of each stem. Each earphone finally has a status LED that lights up when it is taken out of its storage case.
Very satisfying wearing comfort
The Mobvoi Earbuds ANC headphones are very comfortable and do not move when put on. Wearing them does not cause any discomfort, even after two hours of listening. The only criticism we can make of them lies in the length of their rod, the end of which may possibly rub a little on the listener's face.
On the other hand, the headphones are easy to handle, thanks to their imposing stems.
Minimalist storage case
The storage box calls for few remarks. It's basic in design, with a magnetized lid and a status LED inside. Nothing to report on the outside, except for its USB-C charging port and that it is a little slippery. In addition, its rounded shapes prevent it from standing upright and it is not compatible with Qi wireless charging.
Use and application
No unpleasant surprises when using the Mobvoi Earbuds ANC headphones, which are easy to use. The touch zones respond appropriately, according to predefined pressure sequences. The controls for reading, taking calls and managing the ANC are satisfactory, once the user manual has been deciphered.
A useless app
On the other hand, Mobvoi offers a control app, Mobvoi Smart Life, without any interest. Apart from the battery status of the headphones and some information on the touch controls, the app does not allow any sound adjustment or equalization.
The Smart Life app is not so smart since you have to choose the product used yourself.
Some texts are not translated.
The functions are very limited.
Fortunately, you can do without the app to use the Mobvoi Earbuds ANC.
Noise reduction does not convince
Mobvoi Earbuds ANC headphones have an active noise reduction system. This offers inconclusive results across the entire audio spectrum. Loud noises are certainly reduced, but not enough to eclipse the rolling noise of a car or a train. As for the clearer parasitic noises, they are not filtered at all. As the passive isolation of the headphones is correct, we still gain a little serenity with the ANC in the street.
Another downside, the activation of the ANC generates the appearance of a background noise (hiss) audible when no music is played. As for the transparency mode, it generates even more background noise and insufficiently amplifies the surrounding sounds. You can follow a conversation, but at the cost of concentrating. Pity.
A solid Bluetooth connection
Mobvoi Earbuds ANC earphones are equipped with 13 mm diameter dynamic transducers, a size often prized by manufacturers to deliver powerful sound and incidentally improve the effectiveness of ANC with bass sounds.
To evaluate them, I listened to the Mobvoi Earbuds ANC with an iPhone 13 Pro Max, a Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G and a Macbook Air M1, in Bluetooth AAC from Apple Music (Lossless and Dolby Atmos).
A lot of bass, a suitably placed medium and… almost nothing beyond that. Mobvoi has obviously decided to skip the high end, as our frequency response measurement shows.
The latter also leaves doubts, because the transducer seems rather nervous in the treble, as evidenced by the two peaks around 7 kHz and 17 kHz. It therefore seems that Mobvoi decided to apply a kind of low-pass attenuation filter beyond 2 kHz, with a rather steep slope. In short, the signature lacks finesse and a lot of information at the top of the spectrum. This is necessarily frustrating and could have been corrected by digital equalization at the headphone amplification.
Bass: low resolution and limited extension towards the infra-bass, the whole thing is sorely lacking in resolution, weight and speed
Medium: fairly precise, but amputated in its upper part
Treble: infinitely too set back, at the limit of the audible
In short, for lack of treble, most of the harmonic frequencies go by the wayside — poor guitars! — and the listener feels wronged. It's very simple, almost no instrument is fully restored. To make matters worse, as the Mobvoi app does not allow any equalization, you have to rely on the possible equalizer of your smartphone, with the disadvantages that a correction upstream rather than by the amp of the headphones implies, namely an equalization that is not always precise and a clear reduction in the maximum volume.
Soundstage and dynamic behavior
The Mobvoi Earbuds ANC plant a narrow and frontal stage, with therefore little marked lateralization. The sound planes are all intertwined and packed, with hardly any relief, which is the sign of mediocre dynamic behavior. Objectively, nothing is going well.
Do the Mobvoi Earbuds ANC headphones make up for it in the quality of their chat microphones? Unfortunately not. Due to the lack of filtering of the noises surrounding the listener, his interlocutor is constantly (excessively) bothered by parasitic noises. Also, during my tests, my voice was frequently distorted.
Mobvoi announces up to 5 hours without ANC and 4:30 with. In practice, at 50% volume on my iPhone, the Mobvoi Earbuds ANC gave up after 4h ANC inactive and around 3h30 ANC active. These headphones are clearly in the lower middle range. The charging case offers approximately two recharges and requires nearly 2 hours to recharge the earphones.
Price and release date
The Mobvoi Earbuds ANC headphones are available in a black color and priced at €59.99. It's not excessive, but there are even cheaper and very attractive alternatives, for example the Realme Buds Air 2.