Headphones come in a varying spectrum of shapes and sizes that range from electrical ear muffs to bite-sized buds.
Across the endless ocean of headphones, Tozo has created three affordable models of earbuds for the consumer who wants decent quality without having to sacrifice half a paycheck. Tozo is a relative newcomer to the audio world, founded in 2015 in the northwest metropolis of Seattle, Washington.
Wireless headphones have been around for a lot longer than you might imagine, first popping up as early as 2004. It wasn’t until the last decade however that they became a popular alternative to the archaic wires of our tangled past.
To give you, my dear reader, a better idea of the optimal noise cancelling earbud for your daily commute, we will go over every aspect of each model that separates itself from its Tozo siblings.
The NC2 has an MSRP of ~80 and offers very solid battery life, audio quality, and the best highs of the three devices. Its design sticks out a bit more so if you do lose track of them you may find these more easily than the other two, though all three products are very minuscule.
Overall, it is a good product if not a bit pricier than it may deserve. Having said that, it is pretty common to find the NC2 available for a steep discount, sometimes even going on sale at half-off.
The NC7 is the star of the show, even if it is only slightly superior to its stablemates. Sitting at an MSRP of ~50, this product has the best sound quality of the three to my ear, a very impressive 10+ hour battery, and an exceptionally minimal design. Like all the products, it is water-resistant and will block out external noise while offering a clear, crisp sound.
The NC9 feels a bit like the dark horse of the three at an MSRP of ~60. I love its simple, illuminated design and how comfortably it fits in my ear. With that said, several people have expressed concerns about its deceptive battery life. On top of this, its sound quality falls short of the other two, if only by a slim margin. It offers a bit more flair than the other two devices, though possesses less technical depth.
Contrary to what the endless horde of 5-dollar headphones found in most retail stores would lead you to believe, wireless earbuds can pack a surprising amount of depth in such a small package. Now, these products are not gonna come anywhere close to the ability of some of the 500+ dollar earbuds out there, but you also don’t have to suffer an anxiety attack every time you misplace them either!
All three products are noise canceling and put a notable emphasis on the bass found within, though this at times will make it feel overpowering in certain genres while the highs and mids fall into background roles.
We’ll start with the NC2 which offers noise cancellation of up to 35 decibels. If I had to judge this product on the crispness of sound, it would fall in the middle of the pack. It doesn’t have poor audio quality, though it does feel a nudge worse than the other two. To its credit though, the NC2 seems to have more present treble than its peers.
The NC7 is not going to blow the competition away with its auditory advantages, though I do believe it edges the other two mildly in terms of sound quality. The bass is very solid and offers a good bit of bump, more than the other two products. The range of these earbuds feels far-reaching and gives off an impression of a far more expensive product. The biggest drawback would be that vocals and string instruments will fall behind the percussion and bass, more so than in the NC2.
Bringing up the rear are the NC9 earbuds which offer the least among the three, despite how closely contested it may be. None of these products are blowing the others out of the water, but the NC9 is hesitant to exceed anywhere in terms of audio. When it comes to frequency response, it is edged out by the NC7, which also possesses superior bass. The mids sound crisp and clear, though inferior to the NC2 which also provides superior treble. Where these do feel particularly impressive is in their ability to replicate spatial location within their audio, in a way that is rarely seen in headphones, never mind earbuds.
Verdict – The NC7, though you would really have to pay attention to notice a dropoff in audio quality between the three. Its bass is really pleasant and the sound feels smooth throughout.
As anyone who owns a pair of headphones knows, they have an irritating ability to find themselves in compromising situations. Whether you drop one in the sink, spill your morning coffee next to them or lose them in the separate dimension localized entirely within your couch cushions, they need to be tough. Regardless of who wins this category – in my humble opinion – all three products were made proficiently durable and can be counted on to survive a spill or three.
All three products are comparable in size with the NC9 being slightly bigger than the other two. Attach a bell to these guys, they will be hard to find should you misplace them. Another similarity worth mentioning is the silicone ear tip found on all three. If you are alright with these, it isn’t an issue, though I personally find them a bit invasive in my ear after a while.
The NC2 earbuds are sleek, small, and sneakily complex. They are clearly made to offer an isolating sound that blocks out the hustle and bustle of your immediate environment while offering a convenient and simple design. The pairing is simple, the microphone is almost impossible to notice and the aesthetic is attractively minimal. This product comes with a waterproof rating of IP6 so you can listen to them on a run or in a shower.
Moving over to the NC7 this product has a much less noticeable outer ear design, for those looking for a bit more discretion. The tail found on the NC2 is not on this product, though the impressive IP6 rating is, meaning they are safe to use on rainy days. The design contours to the ear well and really make it feel like the earbuds are eliminating the clashing noise outside of the headphones. The pairing is also delightfully easy, which we certainly appreciate.
The NC9 are not only worth mentioning, they are worth looking at. While the design isn’t extravagant or overbearing, the simple bite-sized fit feels reminiscent of the NC7 and the illuminated light on each earbud makes me feel like a trendy cyborg. The water resistance is once again IP6 so durability-wise, these three products are identical. In terms of design, I can’t help but admire the tasteful flare of these earbuds over the competition.
Verdict – The NC9 looks the best in your ear and feels excitingly futuristic, yet modest. All products are satisfyingly durable.
If you are going to take the time to purchase a wireless headphone, the least it can do is stay charged for a few hours. Nothing feels more deflating than breezing through a shift listening to your carefully constructed playlist only to be met with the infamous “battery-low beep” that signals your day is about to get real slow going. For those new to these earbuds, each headphone case offers a certain number of additional charges should your ears be met with the infernal beep of a dying battery.
Battery life is dependent on volume and the higher the decibel level of your music, the quicker it will drain, so times may vary depending on personal preference.
The NC2 has an average battery life of eight hours on one charge, although with the additional case charges you can get a full thirty-two hours out of this product. The charge time is also surprisingly quick, so if you do get stuck having to listen to a coworker you will only need a little under two hours before you are back to a full battery. The case is charged with a USB-C cable and a USB adapter is not included. There are no substantial criticisms I can toss at the NC2, it is a solid battery for a small product.
The NC7 has an estimated battery life of about 10.5 hours, with a total of 32 hours when utilizing its charging case. The recharge time is very close to the NC2, being just under two hours for a full battery if utilizing the USB-C “fast charge” cable that comes with the product. The slight advantage in battery life gives this product the edge over the NC2, though everything else feels nearly identical.
Finally, the NC9 has a reported battery life of 10.5 hours with a total of 34 if you utilize the charging case. This estimate comes with a very fat asterisk, as many reviewers report that it has severe problems with its battery constantly draining via “pairing issues” and others say a full battery lasts a bit longer than four hours. These are credible sources and several understandably frustrated consumers, so take the listed specifications with a healthy amount of skepticism.
Verdict – The NC7 has an impressive amount of battery life and additional charges in the earbud case, edging out the NC2.
All three products have a surprising amount of features for such small pieces of audio tech. Like all products that come from the same company, several of these features are found throughout all three pairs of headphones. To give you the full rundown of all listed features, let’s discuss what they all have in common.
All three offer an IP6 Water-resistance, Bluetooth compatibility (5.0 or higher), a transparency mode that allows you to listen in to what’s happening around you, noise cancellation via the earbuds and the microphone, smart touch controls, and one-step pairing. The NC2 and NC7 offer “optical sensors” which can identify when the earbuds are in your ear, pausing once you remove them.
While certain individual products have minor updates compared to the others (The NC2 offers 5.2 Bluetooth in comparison to 5.0), it doesn’t feel like anything substantial enough to pick a clear favorite. All products feel like they have a good amount of options with a fairly intuitive user interface.
Verdict – Tie
If I had to pick one of three and considered their price, I would likely go with the NC7. It has a solid battery life, good sound quality, and is fairly inexpensive. With that said, all three products have their upsides and I couldn’t begrudge someone for choosing differently. For the price these are listed at, all three feel like solid purchases and a good direction for Tozo to be headed in.