Tozo HT2 ANC Headphones
Tozo’s HT2 ANC headphones: inexpensive over-the-ear headphones that sound great and are well-constructed despite being mostly plastic. Bluetooth® and wired. Would benefit from a case.
Tozo HT2 ANC Headphones Review
I‘ve said it before, and I will say it again: many inexpensive headphones punch above their acoustic class. Tozo created their innovative Open Buds that sound amazing (and fit my ears), and with the Tozo HT2s, they bring quality sound and ANC to their Bluetooth® over-the-ear headphones.
What we like
- Very good sound
- Long battery life
As I was writing this review, Amazon had the $79.99 Tozo HT2s ANC headphones listed for $49.99, with a $10 coupon, taking the price down to $39.99, which is ridiculous for headphones that sound this good. The price controls clearly come from materials, which are mostly plastic. They aren’t distinctive at all, save for the golden Tozo logo. For a nearly all plastic build, (the headband substructure is metal), they don’t squeak or feel overly vulnerable for everyday use. The other metal in the headphones is a number of screws that hold the parts in place, which add to the underlying construction quality. Tozo chose matt over gloss on the plastic, which keeps them more subdued than cheap looking.
But $39.99 headphones that sound like $39.99 headphones aren’t worth writing about. $39.99 headphones that sound as good as $200 headphones, that’s another story. And the Tozo HT2s sound as good as many headphones at two or three times their cost. The sound stage is broad and open with solid channel separation. The base is punchy enough to take on the most raucous Dua Lipa track. The opening of Hamilton’s ‘It’s Quiet Up Town’ entices, throughout, the simple piano sound precise.
I watched several episodes of “Arcane” on Netflix, enjoying the depth and richness of its soundtrack and other audio as they streamed through the Tozo HT2s.
I found the sound rich through the mids, and the highs mostly stayed in place, creating a pleasant listening experience that didn’t annoy with shrill moments, nor did it overwhelm with too much base. EQ on the app or through the streaming service can create more customized soundscapes for those who desire them.
While the headphones list as Hi-Res, a lot of things, from device to music source to streaming options, need to align for that to happen. I’m sure the headphones can hit the 40kHz threshold for Hi-Res audio, but with only SBC and ACC codecs (no ALAC) the listening experience on Bluetooth will be limited by the data, not the headphones. A lot of headphones claim Hi-Res audio capability, but few listening experiences reach that level of audio quality due to deficiencies along the stream.
The Tozo HT2 battery life hits the top of the range at 60 hours without ANC and 40 with ANC on. Using them wired does not drain the battery at all, but it does disconnect all of the on-headphone features and electronics.
The HT2s employ Bluetooth 5.3, which brings with it the latest wireless tricks to enhance connectivity, sound quality, and battery life.
The user experience doesn’t require memorization of arcane gestures. Physical buttons control volume, ANC and Bluetooth connectivity (see the image below for what button pushes do).
Like many more expensive headphones, the HT2 earcups swivel and fold. This is usually a feature of headphones made for travel. Unfortunately, the HTs don’t ship with a case.
I mostly use the Tozo HT2s with a MacBook Pro or a Lenovo X1 Nano. Any nuance to listening via an app requires iOS, iPadOS, or Android, as does firmware updates. I would love to see headphone makers like Tozo create a web-based interface to control features for those who don’t lead their listening with tablets and smartphones.
3 ENC microphones offer noise cancelation on voice input. I did not try the microphones on a smartphone, but I did use them for conversing with Siri. Siri had no problem understanding me (well, at least from a microphone standpoint).
The Tozo HT2s are available in black, blue, pink, white, and khaki.
What could be improved
- Turn on the electronics while in wired mode
- A case would be great
- Mostly plastic construction
- Smallish earcups
- Plastic wrapped box
ANC came to headphones with wires. When Bose QuietComfort headphones first arrived, they could be purchased through American Airlines miles. Every major frequent flyer owned Bose headphones. On a plane, in the good seat, chances are most people’s heads look the same from the back, with the broad black cans wrapped over the top and wire dangling down to an armrest or an MP3 music player.
Now, most headphones include some form of ANC, and for those that don’t, I wonder why not. IF the Tozo HT2 can include ANC at its price point, then most headphones can afford to integrate the microphones and associated circuitry.
Unfortunately, the Tozo HT2 headphones don’t work with their electronics when plugged in. They won’t turn on. Powered headphones turn off when attached to the optional 3.5mm wire. I’m sure there is a reason, and it likely has to do with “high resolution” audio through the wired connection—but I would rather have ANC when my headphones are wired.
The HT2 foldable headphones scrunch down for travel or storage, but they don’t ship with a case or even a bag.
The 39.99-dollarness of the Tozo HT2s shows most in their materials. While the construction is fairly solid, they are mostly plastic. Not that more expensive headphones aren’t mostly plastic either, but the Tozo HT2s don’t have any accents or other details to push their design to the next level. They look nice enough, but their style proves bland.
I would also like slightly bigger earcups. Earcups, like much of the headphone experience, fall into a subjective category unless one’s ears simply don’t fit inside the earcups. That isn’t the problem here. But more room would equate to even more comfort.
Finally, on the sustainability front, I would like to see Tozo adopt paper-based stickers or some other means of keeping their boxes secure as a replacement for the clear, hard plastic film they currently use. Plastic-wrapped cables and non-recyclable foam should also be engineered out of the packaging design.
Tozo HT2 ANC Headphones: The bottom line
Tozo continues to impress. It’s hard to think of sub-$100 headphones that can match the sound quality of the Tozo HT2s. The plastic construction shouldn’t put off buyers looking for binge-worthy listening companions with wired and wireless experiences. A bag or case would be nice. The 3.8 score doesn’t reflect the audio quality of the headphones, but the plastic styling and packaging that detract from solid electronics and acoustics.
Tozo provided the HT2 ANC Headphones for review. Images courtesy of Tozo unless otherwise noted.
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