POCO launched the POCO Pods, the company’s first TWS wireless earbuds, in India this week. It has Bluetooth 5.3 support, features low-latency gaming mode, fast charge and promises up to 30 hours of total playback. Here is the review of the budget Bluetooth earbuds.
- POCO Pods with the charging case in USB Type-C cable colour
- Ear tips in Small and Large size (Medium pre-installed)
- User guide
It doesn’t come with a USB Type-C cable in the box.
Design and Build
Starting with the design, the headset comes in a round shaped charging case that fits in your pocket. You can see the POCO branding on the front. The case has a matte finish that offers a good grip and doesn’t attract fingerprints.
The charging case measures 63.2×53.4×24mm and weighs 41.2g (Charging Case+Buds) that makes it compact to carry it in our pocket.
There is a tiny LED on the bottom next to the USB Type-C port. You don’t have a function key, since the buds directly pair with the Bluetooth devices. There is a bar running along the side that has a glossy finish.
The earbuds also come with a white LED that are hardly visible when it’s off.
The headset has a plastic body with matte finish. The earbuds weigh about 3.6 grams, which is light.
These feature an in-ear design and also come with medium-sized ear tips pre-installed to effectively block out external noise while ensuring comfortable wear. You can change to bundled Large or Small sized ear tips if you wish. Passive noise cancellation is decent.
Overall, the headset offers a decent build quality for the price and fits your ears perfectly so that they don’t fall off your ears easily during workouts, running or cycling. The earbuds also have IPX4 water resistance rating to prevent splash, rain, and sweat in everyday use scenarios, but you can’t use it when swimming.
Connectivity, Pairing, and Controls
The POCO Pods support Bluetooth 5.3 with SBC audio codec. The connection range is around 10 meters, which is common in most headsets, but the connection quality is good. The pairing process is very easy, take out the earbuds from the charging case, put them on, and them triple top the left and right ear touch areas. Now, open the Bluetooth settings on the phone and connect to the POCO Pods. There is also Google fast pair option which pairs the headset with the phone instantly.
The touch controls are easy to access.
|Left earphone (L)
|Right earphone (R)
|Play / Pause, Answer call / Hang calls
|Reject incoming call or move to Next track
|Enter or exit gaming mode
|Press and hold both earbuds for 1.5s
The headset doesn’t have Smart wear detection, so it can’t automatically pause the music when taken out and resume when you put back. Wish the company had offered option to move to previous tracks.
The Xiaomi Earbuds app on Android and iPhone just shows the battery life, and enable low latency gaming mode. However, you can change the actions for touch controls.
Audio Quality, Call Performance and Call Noise Cancellation
The POCO Pods pack a 12mm driver designed for Pro bass, which offer good audio output. This offers a bass driven sound, so this offers a punchy bass, but the mids and highs are just average. Volume was good as well, and it is loud enough in 60% or 70% volume.
It packs the Sub band Coding (SBC) that is capable of bit rates up to 328 kbps for listening to 320-bit MP3s. This is common in Bluetooth devices with Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP). Difference between audio quality in SBC and AAC is minimal, but the latency is more with SBC, which is not suitable for gaming.
However, this comes with a dedicated gaming mode for that which useful when gaming since it reduces the latency, and I could feel the difference. The company says that the latency is reduced to 60ms in the gaming mode. It is also easy to enter the gaming mode when you long press on both sides of the earbuds for 1.5 seconds. You get a notification tone when you enter and exit the mode.
Wish it had AAC, which is present in some headsets in the price range. Audio quality is good, with clear vocals and good amount of bass, thanks to the 12mm driver.
The earphones also reduce the background noise to a certain extent that helps in a crowded or noisy environment and wind when you are travelling, thanks to its ENC noise-cancelling algorithm. However, when riding in a cycle or running, the wind noise affects calling. You can’t expect much in a budget headset.
The earphones with a 34mAh battery promise 5 hours of standalone battery. During my use, I got about 4 and half hours in about 70% volume, so it is decent. It also has fast charging support. The company says that you get 90 minutes or 1 and half hours of playback on 10 minutes of charge. This is very useful when you need a quick charge.
With the 440mAh charging case, it promises up to 30 hours of total battery life. Since the case doesn’t pair with the phone, you will have to place the earphones in the case to view the charge left in the case. Charging the case takes about 1 and half hours to charge fully over a USB Type-C cable, and the buds take about 45 minutes when placed in the case.
Overall, POCO Pods are a decent budget true wireless earbuds for the price, if you need an in-ear design and a matte finish. It offers good audio quality, good fit, comes with a gaming mode, but doesn’t offer custom touch controls option. Even though it has Bluetooth 5.3 that offer a good connectivity, wish it had AAC support. It will be available at an introductory price of Rs. 1,199 from Flipkart starting from today, July 29th, 12 noon.
- Good audio quality tuned for bass
- Bluetooth 5.3 with Google Fast Pair
- Low-latency gaming mode
- Decent build quality for the price
- Decent battery life with fast charging
- No AAC codec support
- Xiaomi Earbuds app doesn’t offer customizable touch controls
- Call noise cancellation could be better