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Vivo TWS Neo Review: Immersive Audio Delivery With On-Bud Volume Controls
Every smartphone brand in India now offers at least one pair of 'True Wireless Earbuds'. Brands like Xiaomi, Oppo, and Realme have multiple budget TWS earbuds to cater to audio needs of price-conscious users. Add to this the wide portfolio of affordable TWS earphones from audio brands in business (Boat, Noise, Blaupunkt, 1More, etc.) and you have myriad of options to choose from.
- Rich And Immersive Audio Delivery
- Volume Slider Controls
- Good Battery Life
- Solid Connectivity
- Type-C Charging Port
- Good For Voice Calls
- In-ear Fit Is Not Confident
- Build Quality Could Have Been Better
- Audio Profile Customization Is Limited To Vivo’s Latest Phones
- Limited Touch Functions
The latest entry into the sub-10K TWS earbuds is -- Vivo TWS Neo. Vivo introduced its first pair of TWS earphones in India alongside the Vivo X50-series smartphones. Priced at Rs. 5,990, the Vivo TWS Neo true wireless earbuds are half in-ear TWS earphones with the biggest audio drivers in its price category. Most importantly, the Vivo TWS Neo also brings on-buds voice controls, a feature missing from its contemporaries. Some other highlight features of the Vivo TWS Neo include- Type-C charging port, aptX codec support, IP54 dust-water resistance, call noise reduction, etc.
The aforementioned spec-sheet is quite impressive which made us test these true wireless earphones as our daily driver. Here's how the Vivo TWS performed in our review.
Design- Glossy Finish With Rather Poor Build Quality
Like every other true wireless earbuds, the Vivo TWS Neo also ship in a tiny plastic case that also serves as a charging cradle for additional battery power. The charging capsule has dimensions- 58.1 x 51.6 x 24mm and weighs just 45.7g. It is compact enough to be easily carried around in jeans pockets. The buds inside the case are IP54 certified for protection against water and dust.
The case and the buds come in a glossy finish and gathered scratches quite easily within the first week of usage. Moreover, the build quality is rather cheap and does not justify the price-point. The Mi True Wireless Earbuds 2 and the Oppo Enco W31 are priced lower and offer much better overall build quality. The Vivo TWS Neo are available in two colors- Moonlight White and Starry Blue.
Type-C Charging Port, LED Indicator, Pairing Process
The Vivo TWS Neo support Type-C charging. The case has a 400 mAh battery that takes around 90 minutes to get fully charged. The pairing process is rather simple and hassles free if you have a Vivo smartphone. My Vivo X50 Pro instantly recognized the TWS neo with a popup that shows the battery charging levels of the case and the buds. You have to follow the standard pairing process for non-Vivo smartphones.
Simply long-press the button at the front of the case to initiate the pairing process and let your smartphone search for the TWS earphones. An LED indicator is also placed at the front of the case right above the button to notify about charging and the pairing process.
Touch Controls, In-Ear Detection And Smart Assistant Support
The Vivo TWS Neo offers touch-volume sliders on earbuds, a feature which you will mostly find in pricey true wireless earbuds. The touch sliders work as advertised and allow you to increase/decrease volume by sliding up/down the finger on either of the earbuds. The TWS Neo also offers support for in-ear detection and the feature works very well. The music stops streaming as soon as you take out either of the earbuds.
The TWS Neo also offer support for standard touch controls but the functionality is very limited as these buds do not support triple tap function. With double-tap touch function and two buds, you are forced to choose between music play/pause, voice assistant or shuffling of tracks. You can customize the right/left bud for the following functions:
- Wake up voice assistant
- Play/Pause Music
- Previous Song
- Next Song
How’s The Wearing Experience?
Similar to the Xiaomi Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 and the Realme Buds Air, the Vivo TWS Neo are also half-in ear earphones. The particular form-factor is easy on ears but fails to offer a confident fit. That said, the Vivo TWS Neo feels very comfortable for long listening sessions but they might fall out from your ears in day-to-day use, especially if you are sprinting or shaking your head vigorously for those awesome slow-motion videos.
If you are an avid runner or someone who likes to tune in to music while working out in the gym, you should look for full in-ear earbuds for a tight fit. Also, I would recommend you trying any TWS earphones before making a buying decision as the in-ear fit is highly subjective and depends from person to person and ear type.
The Vivo TWS Neo produces loud and engaging audio. The sound delivered is crisp, immersive and seamless, thanks to the bigger 14.2mm drivers and support for both AAC and aptX adaptive codecs. These true wireless earbuds ensure crisp high notes and rich treble response but the loudness seems to override clarity when music is being streamed at peak volume. This is a big design flaw with the open-air architecture of TWS earbuds like the Vivo TWS Neo. You should stream audio at 75-80% volume for an optimal listening experience but then you can't do much about the ambient noise.
I tested the Vivo TWS Neo with a variety of devices including the Vivo X50 Pro, the mighty Asus ROG Phone 3 (for latency check in gaming), OnePlus Nord and Windows-powered machines from Dell and Xiaomi. The sound delivery is immersive in general but these buds sound best when paired with high-end Vivo devices, especially the newest ones- the X50 and the X50 Pro that offer support for DeepX Stereo Sound Effect.
Audio Profiles Are Restricted To Vivo Smartphones
When paired with these devices, you can customize the audio profile to match your taste. You can choose between three profiles- Clear voice, Mega bass and clear high pitch. The mega bass profile effectively emphasized low frequencies in bass-centric tracks played on the Vivo smartphones. The other two frequencies sounded shrill at maximum volume.
The true wireless earbuds also sounded clean and engaging with non-Vivo smartphones that offer aptX support. If you are a non-Vivo user, you can download any third-party music player with a built-in equalizer to customize the frequencies for your listening preference. Vivo should also come up with an ecosystem app, like Realme, to make the best out of its audio products.
Moving on, the true wireless earbuds will not entirely please non-Vivo smartphone users who are avid gamers. The 88ms low-latency mode only seems to be functional with the latest Vivo devices. The difference is subtle but noticeable while playing games on smartphones from other brands.
Call quality was pretty solid on both network (voice calls) and Wi-Fi for WhatsApp calls. The microphones seem to work well as callers did not complain about any hearing issues even at corners in my home where I face severe connectivity drops.
The Vivo TWS Neo can easily last for one day on one full charge, including case and earbuds. The earbuds alone with 27mAh battery can last for 3.5-4 hours and can take extra five rounds from the case for additional use throughout the day. The charging case takes around 90 minutes to get full charged.
Should You Buy Vivo TWS Neo?
The TWS Neo marks Vivo's entry into the audio segment in India and we can expect more products from the Chinese brand in the coming months. Probably an affordable version of the TWS Neo as the Rs. 6,000 price tag seems slightly expensive in the times when the market is flooded with affordable TWS earbuds from brands like Xiaomi, Oppo and the leading audio brands. OnePlus have also introduced its TWS earbuds at slightly lower price-point and they look quite impressive.
As far as the TWS Neo is concerned, it won't disappoint you in terms of audio performance, battery life and voice calls functionality, especially if you already have the latest Vivo smartphone. The bigger drivers and better codec support make it sound better than the competition. Moreover, the volume sliders on buds also give the TWS Neo a definite edge over the competition. Vivo could have offered a better build quality and should have extended the audio profiles customization to non-Vivo smartphones to add better value to the overall package.