Xiaomi’s subsidiary, Poco, recently stepped into the TWS segment with the launch of Poco Pods at a very competitive price of Rs 1,199. It shares a lot of similarities with its Redmi cousin – Buds 4 Active. On paper, Poco Pods rock a great list of specs. With 12mm drivers, Bluetooth 5.3, Google Fast Pair support, low latency mode, and fast charging, these earbuds seem like a great deal under Rs 1,500. But since it’s Poco’s debut TWS product, we thought we’d take it out for a spin and see how good it is for everyday use. Here is our Poco Pods review.
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Poco Pods review: Design
For a first-generation TWS product, the Poco Pods does not have any gaping issues in its design. In fact, it closely resembles the Redmi Buds 4 Active we reviewed last month. Poco’s TWS is more compact and slightly smaller than its Redmi counterpart. The charging case gets a matte-like finish on its plastic body. The Poco branding is printed in yellow just under the lid, bringing the company’s signature dual-tone colour profile to the TWS. There are two extra pairs of ear tips inside the box, but like the Redmi Buds 4 Active, the USB charging cable is missing here as well.
We like the overall build of the Poco charging case. The quality of plastic used here is pretty good – there’s nothing flimsy about it. The hinge feels like it’s built to last. If you like to fidget with the charging case, you don’t have to worry about the hinge losing its snappiness after a while. A glossy strip runs around the circumference of the oval-shaped case and offers a nice contrast from the matte texture. The notification light and the USB charging port are positioned at the bottom of the case.
Flipping the lid open, you’ll find the earbuds magnetically locked in a vertical position. The yellow inner panel of the charging case follows Poco’s signature colour scheme. The black earbuds feature the conventional in-ear design and get yellow silicone ear tips. The matte texture has been extended to the earbuds as well. The fit offered by these earbuds is snug and does not cause any fatigue to the ears even after several hours of use.
When it comes to touch controls, however, the Poco Pods could do better. The outer panel of the earbuds failed to register touch gestures on multiple occasions. After struggling with it for a considerable duration of time, we went back to smartphone controls. Hopefully, a firmware update can fix this issue. On the bright side, these earbuds are rated IPX4 for water and sweat resistance. This means you don’t have to worry about any moisture-related damage to the TWS while working out.
Poco Pods review: Performance
Delivering the audio output on the Poco Pods are 12mm drivers on each earbud. There’s just one (SBC) codec on offer, which is pretty much the standard when it comes to budget earbuds. Once connected, the earbuds have a functional range of 10 metres. Google Fast Pair support for Android is a nice feature to have if you plan on using these earbuds with multiple smartphones.
Poco Pods offer a bass-heavy audio output that is surprisingly well-tuned for a TWS in this price bracket. If you’re looking for true neutrality in the soundstage, then entry-level wireless earbuds are not for you. The low end is unsurprisingly boosted on these earbuds, and we don’t seem to mind it that much. The thumping audio output with a very prominent envelope of bass is ideal if you like listening to classic rock, hip-hop, and modern pop.
On the downside, the mids and the highs on the soundstage are slightly muddled by the bass elements. While we enjoyed the thumping sound, some nuances in the mix were entirely lost in the output we received. The minimal clapper hits on some songs failed to create the desired impact when played on Poco Pods. This isn’t a dealbreaker by any means, just something that eludes this category of TWS products.
The audio profile maintains its composition even at the maximum volume. There is very little distortion in music even when it is being played at 100% volume. While the Poco Pods do not go as loud as the Redmi Buds 4 Active, it is a nice trade-off for a distortion-free audio profile. Overall, Poco Pods’ audio performance is pretty solid for a debut TWS product.
Poco Pods can be paired with the Xiaomi Earubds app. This app lets you toggle the low latency mode on the earbuds and update the firmware. On the home screen, you can view the charge left on either earbud. While app support is an essential feature for wireless earbuds, the Xiaomi Earbuds app is in dire need of an update. Apart from switching on the low latency mode, there isn’t much you can do on the app. At the very least, it should let you customise the touch controls.
The 60ms low latency mode does its job pretty well on the Poco Pods. The sounds relayed while playing Call of Duty Mobile reached our ears without any delay. We did experience occasional jitters but they didn’t hamper the gameplay at all. During voice calls, the ENC tech on these earbuds pulls its weight and blocks out the surrounding noise, enhancing the call quality. However, if you’re making a call in outdoor conditions amidst overwhelming background noise, you would want to revert to your phone’s microphone.
The earbuds offer 5 hours of standalone playtime, with an additional 30 hours in the charging case. Since we listen to music at a higher volume, we got around 4 hours of continuous playback on the earbuds. If you stick to 40-60% volume, you can easily push the earbuds to 5 hours. With fast charging onboard, the case can be fully charged in just 90 minutes.
Read Also: 5 Best Smartphones under Rs 10,000 in India
The Poco Pods are very similar to the Redmi Buds 4 Active, not just in design but also in performance. This works in its favour because it is Rs 200 cheaper than its Redmi counterpart. The audio output is bass-heavy but tuned very well. The bass heads will certainly enjoy this one. On the flip side, the touch controls can be tough to work with at times and the smartphone app needs to be fleshed out a bit more. Personally, the design, build quality, and audio profile of this TWS are good enough to look past its minor hang-ups. At Rs 1,199, the Poco Pods are a good purchase.
Poco Pods: Pros
- Good sound quality
- Strong build
- Low latency mode for gaming
Poco Pods: Cons
- Inconsistent touch gestures
- Xiaomi Earbuds app needs to offer more functions
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