Tozo OpenBuds Review 1

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Following on from my review of the excellent Tozo Golden X1, I have been checking out their new OpenBuds.

These are an open fit style of earbuds where the earbuds sit on top of your ear and are held in place with hooks that go around your ear.

This design is a good alternative to AirPod style of earbuds that fit in your ear but lack the silicon tip to create a seal or bone conduction earphones, which are popular with runners.

Specification

Tozo OpenBuds Review 3

The Tozo OpenBuds are open-ear true wireless earbuds featuring 14.2mm dynamic drivers and Bluetooth 5.3 connectivity. Key specifications include:

  • Driver: 14.2mm dynamic driver with Tozo’s OrigX acoustic tuning
  • Bluetooth: Bluetooth 5.3
  • Codecs: SBC, AAC
  • Water resistance: IPX6
  • Battery life:
    • Earbuds: Up to 6 hours (at 50% volume)
    • Charging case: Up to 36 hours total
  • Charging time: 1.5 hours (earbuds), 2 hours (case)
  • Touch controls: Capacitive touch controls for playback, call control, volume, etc.
  • Weight: 20.8g (0.73oz) for earbuds, 50g (1.76oz) for case

Tozo App

Tozo OpenBuds App

The Tozo OpenBuds are complemented by the Tozo app available on both Android and iOS platforms. The app offers a range of features, including firmware updates and five preset EQ settings. The EQ settings range from Standard, Bass +, Classical, Dance, to Treble +. Despite the lack of customisation in the EQ settings, the app still provides enough flexibility to suit most users’ preferences. The app also allows for the remapping of the touch controls, adding to the versatility of the OpenBuds.

Design and Fit

Tozo OpenBuds Review 2

The Tozo OpenBuds feature a distinctive open-ear design with the speaker driver positioned over the ear canal rather than sealing inside it. This provides an airy, open sound while allowing you to remain aware of ambient noise.

The earbuds have a pill-shaped housing with an angular protrusion that sits over the ear canal. Integrated ear hooks with bi-axial rotation help secure the fit.

In contrast, I have previously reviewed the Mu6 Ring air conduction earbuds, which use a neckband that the earpiece sits in front of your ears, projecting the sound into your ear. Then you have bone conduction earphones, which sit in a similar place but rely on the sound being transmitted through vibrations on the bones of the head and jaw.

Tozo OpenBuds Review 4

The ear hooks are quite stiff with limited flex. This provides a very firm fit that stays locked in place.

I personally found that these are comfortable to wear for long sessions, you don’t get the same sort of fatigue you have with in-ear earbuds where your ears start to ache a little bit. The ear hook design also works perfectly for fitness; there are little to no adjustments needed.

Even though I didn’t have a problem, I imagine that some may find the rigid ear hooks uncomfortable over extended listening sessions.

Overall, the adaptable ear hooks accommodate a wide range of ear shapes and sizes. The fit feels secure while maintaining comfort for most. I prefer this overall design to the neckband style of bone conduction or the Mu6 Ring.

Sound Quality

Considering the open design, the Tozo OpenBuds deliver pleasing sound quality with strong bass response and crisp treble. The large 14.2mm dynamic drivers provide impactful bass, given the lack of seal. You can really feel the bass reverberate against your ear canal.

The sound has a nice width and imaging that creates an immersive bubble around you. The separation between instruments is also impressive, with elegant layering in the mix. However, the open design does reduce spatial depth compared to sealed earbuds.

Mids are well-balanced, with vocals and instruments coming through clearly. Treble is smooth and non-fatiguing. The sound signature emphasises bass and mids over higher frequencies.

The four EQ presets in the app provide simple ways to tweak the sound:

  • Original: Balanced default sound
  • Bass+: Boosted bass response
  • Treble+: Brighter treble
  • Vocal+: Emphasized mids

Keep in mind that the open-ear design does limit overall bass impact and immersion compared to sealed earbuds.

Like all open fit earbuds, once you enter a noisier environment, these earbuds suffer badly from sound leaking in, and there is no active noise cancellation to try and counter this. I found that walking outside down a main road, I had to dial up the volume, they still sounded good, but it’s just not as good as a quiet environment.

Furthermore, for outdoor fitness such as running or cycling, you will introduce quite a bit of wind noise, which is why bone conduction is the preferred technology for runners.

But in quieter settings, the OpenBuds deliver highly enjoyable sound with a surprising bass presence.

Microphone

One downside of the Tozo OpenBuds is the mediocre microphone quality for voice calls. The dual beamforming microphones struggle to separate speech from ambient noise. Wind, in particular, causes distracting interference on calls.

Voices sound thin and hollow rather than full and warm. The open design means noise isolation is poor, so calls don’t sound very clear unless you’re in a quiet environment.

For voice calls, sealed earbuds or headphones with better noise reduction tend to perform better. The OpenBuds are not ideal if you frequently take calls on the go.

Battery

You can get up to 6 hours of continuous playback from the earbuds themselves at moderate volume. Combined with the charging case, you get around 36 hours of total battery life.

Quick charging provides 1 hour of playtime from a 10-minute USB-C charge. The case also supports wireless charging for added convenience.

Price and Alternative Options

The Tozo OpenBuds retail for £69.99, but have been as low as £55.99 on Amazon. At the time of writing, they were out of stock on Amazon UK.

For Amazon US, they are listed at $69.99, but there is an on-page voucher for $20

Some alternatives to consider:

  • TOZO OpenReal
    • Available for around £40
    • Neckband style open ear headphones using air conduction
  • Oladance Open Ear Headphones
    • Available for around £150
    • Similar concept to the OpenBuds but with larger dynamic drives
  • SHOKZ OpenFit
    • Available for around £180
    • SHOKZ first attempt at open fit earbuds, which are supposed to be excellent but a bit expensive.
  • Cleer Audio ARC II
    • Available from £200
    • Perhaps a bit too expensive, considering the Oladance and SHOKZ are well-reviewed and cheaper.

Overall

The Tozo OpenBuds deliver quality open-ear sound with impactful bass at an affordable price point. They accommodate a wide range of ear shapes with a secure yet comfortable fit. Battery life is also excellent.

For listening in quieter environments, the sound quality is excellent. However, in noisy settings, the lack of noise isolation and sound leakage becomes more apparent. Microphone performance could also be better.

Still, for the price, the Tozo OpenBuds are easy to recommend if you’re seeking quality open-ear earbuds that won’t break the bank, especially considering he price of the alternative popular options.

I’d say this design, in general, is a good alternative to the Airpod design or bone-conduction. I find them more comfortable to use and much better than bone conduction in quieter environments.

TOZO Openbuds Review

Summary

The Tozo OpenBuds are easy to recommend if you’re seeking quality open-ear earbuds that won’t break the bank, especially considering he price of the alternative popular options.

Overall
75%
75%
  • Overall - 75%
    75%

Pros

  • Comfortable fit that won’t fall out or require regular adjustments
  • Good sound quality in quieter environments.

Cons

  • Open fit design struggles with environmental noise leaking in

Last update on 2024-06-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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