From its inception, POCO has maintained a singular focus on crafting smartphones; however, the brand is now moving in a new direction by diversifying its product offerings. The first result of this expansion is evident in the POCO Pods, a set of truly wireless earbuds. This move has been anticipated, with POCO hinting at these TWS earbuds since the onset of the pandemic.
The company finally pulled the trigger this year. Despite their affordable price of INR 1,199, these earbuds deliver impressive features including solid bass, robust construction, and extended battery life, all encapsulated within a sleek design. So, should these be your new TWS buds? Let’s find out in our in-depth review.
The POCO Pods feature an in-ear design accompanied by a short stem. Available solely in a sleek matte Black color, a contemporary choice for TWS buds these days. The buds have white LEDs on them, that act as indicators for charging and connectivity status. Despite their lightweight build, these buds ensure exceptional comfort and come with additional silicone ear tips in varying sizes, optimizing the fit.
Turning our attention to the charging case, it boasts a pebble-like design and is made from premium-grade plastic. While the case effectively repels fingerprints, it’s prone to scratches which are very much visible on the matte finish. A white LED is placed on the back that lights up during the charging/pairing process. Alongside that, there is a USB Type-C charging port positioned at the bottom, while the front of the case has the POCO logo.
Let’s dive into the initial setup and pairing procedure for the POCO Pods. These earbuds have a hassle-free pairing experience, facilitated by Bluetooth 5.3 and the convenience of Google Fast Pair technology. To begin the pairing process, just pull out the buds from the case and you’re good to go. Once you enable Bluetooth on your smartphone, a pop-up featuring the POCO Pods animation along with a “connect” button will emerge. Tapping the “POCO Pods” option will promptly establish a connection.
The POCO Pods get 12mm Bass Pro drivers on both sides, that are capable of handling high and mid-range frequencies quite easily. This results in a mild audio punch, though intriguingly, the bass isn’t as pronounced as one might expect from true wireless earbuds in this price bracket.
Surprising as it may seem, these buds, despite their compact size, manage to deliver a punchy audio experience, thanks to their secure fit and effective sound isolation. Although the sole audio codec available is SBC, the potential addition of AAC could enhance the listening experience. However, SBC’s limited bandwidth and the standard 100ms latency might pose issues. POCO tackles this by adding a low-latency mode that reduces latency to under 100ms, perhaps even as low as 60ms, although the exact figure isn’t confirmed.
Turning attention to call quality, the POCO Pods feature dual microphones that generally perform well. Nevertheless, in noisy environments, they do struggle quite a bit to relay noise-free audio. POCO tries to remove these audio quality issues by integrating Environmental Noise Cancellation (ENC) as a built-in feature.
Navigating the buds’ touch controls is easy. Removing the earphones from their case triggers automatic activation while placing them back in the case after 10 minutes of inactivity conserves power by turning them off. For call management, a double-tap on one earbud answers calls, and a triple-tap declines them. Activating the voice assistant takes a triple tap, while a press-and-hold action handles the play/pause functionality. Furthermore, both earbuds can be put into a low latency mode through a simultaneous press-and-hold action.
The POCO Pods come with a 34mAh battery in each earbud, promising approximately 5 hours of continuous use. However, in our testing scenario where we maintained the volume at 50%, we consistently got an average of about 4 hours of battery life. These buds do offer support for fast charging, allowing for a 90-minute music-listening session with a mere 10-minute charge. On the flip side, a full charge of the takes a bit over 40 minutes.
As for the charging case, it adds a 440mAh battery, taking the overall listening time by an additional 20 hours. The case itself can be fully charged in less than 2 hours.
POCO Pods Review – The Verdict
If you’re looking for budget-friendly true wireless earbuds from a reputable brand, the POCO Pods present a dependable option priced at INR 1,199. These buds provide a satisfying overall user experience, boasting respectable audio quality, good battery life, and a compact form factor. Nonetheless, if you value solid bass output and a larger battery capacity, it may be worthwhile to consider spending a bit extra and going with the OPPO Enco Buds 2.