While Vivo is very well known for its smartphones in India, the company’s audio range still has a long way to go. New launches have been few and far between, but the company recently brought in two new true wireless earphones in the affordable and mid-range price segments. The product I’m reviewing here is the more capable and feature-filled of the two called the Vivo TWS 2 ANC. It is a mid-range true wireless headset with active noise cancellation and support for the Qualcomm aptX Adaptive Bluetooth codec.
Priced at Rs. 5,999 in India, the Vivo TWS 2 ANC goes up against strong competition from brands such as Nothing, OnePlus, JBL, and Realme, to name a few. Where this headset stands out is in its design, as well as advanced Bluetooth codec support which remains relatively uncommon for affordable and mid-range true wireless headsets. Is this the best pair of TWS earphones you can buy in this budget? Find out in this review.
Vivo TWS 2 ANC design and features
The design of the Vivo TWS 2 ANC is a lot like that of the Vivo TWS Neo which launched in 2020 but with one big change; the Vivo TWS 2 ANC has an in-canal fit to ensure proper active noise cancellation The earpieces feel comfortable and balanced in the ear, thanks to the stem design which helps distribute the weight.
The Vivo TWS 2 ANC is available in two colours, Moonlight White and Starry Blue. I quite liked the unique shade of the blue review unit that was sent to me, however, the glossy finish made it particularly easy to notice grime and fingerprints on the surface of the earpieces and charging case, giving the Vivo TWS 2 ANC a perpetual messy appearance.
The controls on the earpieces use a force-touch sensor similar to that of the Apple AirPods Pro and OnePlus Buds Pro, along with a slide gesture along the stem. This allows for a bit more precision in the controls and also reduces the possibility of accidental touches affecting the listening experience. The earpieces weigh 4.7g each, and have three microphones on each earpiece for ANC and voice communication. The earpieces are also IP54-rated for dust and water resistance.
The charging case of the Vivo TWS 2 ANC is a convenient size and shape to be easily carried around in one’s pocket. It has a USB Type-C port for charging, an indicator light at the front, and a pairing button. There is no wireless charging on the Vivo TWS 2 ANC. The sales package includes a total of three pairs of silicone ear tips of different sizes and a short USB Type-A to Type-C charging cable.
As the name of the product suggests, the Vivo TWS 2 ANC has active noise cancellation, with a claimed noise reduction of up to 40db. There is also a hear-through mode, support for Google Fast Pair, multi-point connectivity for up to two devices simultaneously, and support for the default voice assistant on your smartphone. There is also a low-latency gaming mode, but this is only stated to work when the headset is paired with select Vivo smartphones.
Vivo TWS 2 ANC app and specifications
The Vivo TWS 2 ANC works with the Vivo Earphones app, which is only available on Android and not iOS. The app is well designed and covers key functions and customisations for the earphones, including displaying battery levels for the earpieces and charging case, switching between ANC and transparency modes, selecting one of four ANC modes (adaptive, depth, standard, and mild active noise cancellation), and changing the gesture controls.
The app also lets you choose from one of four equaliser presets (standard, clear voice, mega bass, and clear high pitch), as well as update the firmware of the earpieces. The pinch gestures for the stem lets you control playback, ANC and transparency mode switching, and invoking the voice assistant. There are also swipe gestures for the side of the stem, which can be set to adjust the volume level directly from the earpieces. It’s a simple, well-designed app that covers the basics.
The Vivo TWS 2 ANC has 12.2mm dynamic drivers and uses Bluetooth 5.2 for connectivity, with support for the SBC, AAC, and aptX Adaptive Bluetooth codecs. The aptX Adaptive Bluetooth codec is currently only available only on limited devices, but the codec is backwards compatible with the older and more widely compatible aptX codec. This should give the headset a bit of an edge with sound quality, when used with Android devices.
Vivo TWS 2 ANC performance and battery life
Advanced codec support on true wireless earphones can make a significant difference in sound quality, particularly on premium headsets such as the Sony WF-1000XM4 and Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3. On more affordable products, it’s usually a hit-or-miss situation and the Vivo TWS 2 ANC is one such product that sadly doesn’t seem to benefit much from the advanced codec support at all.
That said, sound quality is still decent and considerably improved over that of the Vivo TWS Neo. However, the Vivo TWS 2 ANC is more on par with more affordable products such as the OnePlus Buds Z2 and Oppo Enco Air 2 Pro despite the audio advantage it should have received from the advanced Bluetooth codec support, making it feel a bit expensive for what it delivers.
Listening to Sleepyhead (Borgore Remix) by Passion Pit, the sound from the Vivo TWS 2 ANC felt comfortable and clean, with the soundstage feeling particularly spacious. The directionality of the sound felt impressive, with the progressive beats and vocals having a distinct sense of position in the virtual soundstage far beyond what I’d expect from standard stereo encoding.
As enjoyable as the directionality was, it didn’t quite make up for the missing levels of detail. The highs didn’t quite strike as impressively and crisply as I’d have liked, and the vocals were a bit dull and rough on the whole. With Michael Jackson’s You Rock My World, the lows felt tight but there wasn’t quite as much grunt and attack on offer as I’d have liked, making for a sound that felt a bit too ordinary for a true wireless headset that costs nearly Rs. 6,000.
There was nothing wrong with the sound on the whole, but it always felt like the Vivo TWS 2 ANC simply wan’t trying hard enough. With fast and aggressive tracks such as Without You by Netsky, and the detailed and complex Truth by Kamasi Washington, the earphones often sounded strained and seemed to be struggling to keep up with such tracks, suggesting that the drivers simply couldn’t maintain the pace and cohesiveness when faced with a big ask.
Active noise cancellation on the Vivo TWS 2 ANC is interesting for its adaptability, with four modes to help you get the level of noise cancellation that suits you best. While I personally felt the Depth mode to be the best and most effective, the Adaptive, Standard, and Mild modes also worked well in certain situations.
There was a noticeable reduction in outdoor sounds, but the earphones didn’t offer as much of an effect of silence against indoor sounds such as the whir of a ceiling fan. Transparency mode was effective in making it easier to listen to conversations, but voices felt a little too amplified and unnecessarily rough. Performance on voice calls was decent for the price, with good voice clarity for short conversations both indoors and outdoors.
Battery life on the Vivo TWS 2 ANC was acceptable for the price, but fell short of what competing products such as the JBL Tune 230NC and OnePlus Buds Z2 offer. The earpieces ran for around 3 hours, 30 minutes with ANC on, and the charging case added three additional charges, for a total battery life of around 14 hours per charge cycle. There is no fast charging, and a full charge of the earpieces and case is stated to take around 110 minutes.
Although the Vivo TWS 2 ANC is a decent pair of true wireless earphones on the whole, it doesn’t quite match up to its asking price. Sound quality is decent at times, but the headset unfortunately doesn’t put its aptX Adaptive Bluetooth codec support to very good use. It’s possible to get similar performance from more affordable options such as the OnePlus Buds Z2 and Oppo Enco Air 2 Pro, or a better overall package from products such as the JBL Tune 230NC and Nothing Ear 1.
The Vivo TWS 2 ANC might be worth considering if you have a Vivo smartphone to use it with, which unlocks some of the additional features such as the low-latency mode. Otherwise, I’d recommend the OnePlus Buds Z2 for a similar overall experience and a lower price.