8.9
Score

Pros

  • Extremely lightweight
  • ANC is pretty good
  • Audio quality is decent
  • Voice assistant is really good
  • So comfortable that you forget you have them on
  • Bluetooth 5.0 is very stable

Cons

  • Can't connect to multiple devices simultaneously
  • Battery life isn't great
  • Controls are okayish
Design & Look
9
Comfort in Wearing
10
Audio Quality
9
Bass
7
Noise Cancellation
9
Battery Life
8
Bluetooth Connection
9
Price
10

Wireless earbuds are here to stay, thanks to the low power Bluetooth 5.0 technology. During the last decade, the rise of Bluetooth headsets is directly in correlation to the advancing BT technology. If you search online, you can probably find over a thousand wireless headsets, including over the ear headphones, in-ear headsets and true wireless earbuds.

But before buying anything, make sure you are selecting the one that is suited for your needs. I am saying that because most of the TWS earbuds aren’t good for movies or sound recording while many headphones are not good for workouts or running. Nonetheless, if you are in the market for TWS earbuds, I am going to introduce the latest product by Zendure called ZenPods. Thanks to Zendure for sending out this test unit.

Unlike many other bluetooth earbuds, ZenPods features Active Noise Cancellation Technology (ANC). ANC is a feature that is present in most premium earbuds but Zendure took a step further to introduce it in their newest product. I think that’s enough for the intro, so let’s get to the review.

If you have any questions regarding this product, feel free to leave them in the comments at the end of this post. I am very happy to answer.

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Unboxing

The product comes in a pretty compact box inside which you will find,

  • Earbuds
  • Charging Case
  • USB C to USB A cable (for charging the case)
  • Two extra eartips (different sizes)

Strange enough, there was no user guide or warranty card. Maybe because mine was a beta testing unit. Also, the earbuds will be inside the charging case, so don’t fret if you don’t find them as soon as you open the box!

First Impressions

Design & Look

ZenPods look very similar to Apple Airpods pro but weighs way less. The material is plastic but it looks very premium. The earbuds feature a 13mm driver which is not bad at this price point. The silicone ear tips are soft. Overall, I like the look and feel of these earbuds.

ZenPods come in two different color variants, white and blue. The blue version is not entirely blue as it has a bit of purple tint to it. Personally, I think the blue variant looks sick while the white gives you a decent look.

Controls

ZenPods has different touch controls. The following table shows you different controls.

Tap x 1 Play / pause music

Answer / hand up a call

Tap x 2 Left: Previous song

Right: Next song

Tap x 3 Voice Assistant
Long Tap Long tap for 2s: Reject a call

Long tap for 3s: Switch listening mode (ANC on, off and transparency mode)

Accidental touches will happen. Since there are no physical buttons on the earbuds, you will have to rely on the touch. Touch can go wrong at various times. In fact, I always pause the video/audio when I try to snuggle the earbuds in. It happens accidentally because even a minor touch will trigger something. Honestly, I hate it.

There is no way to turn these earbuds on if you don’t have the charging case with you. Also, it automatically turns off after a while of inactivity. So, when you are going somewhere without the charging case, make sure the earbuds are connected to your phone. This way, they won’t turn off automatically.

Audio Quality

The audio quality is good. I’ve tested many wireless earbuds including Apple AirPods, galaxy buds, havit, etc but when it comes to audio quality, most of them are very similar, so is ZenPods. The audio clarity is very good but if you are too away from the phone, you might face some audio modulation.

One thing to note that the audio quality is nowhere near that of BT headphones. So, if you are considering this as a replacement for your headset, just don’t do it. A headset is always better in audio quality.

The base is not that great, higher tones are missing. Keeping the volume too high during rock/band music hurts your ears. But again, you can’t expect much from a tiny earbud with a 13mm driver. Just like the audio quality, the base quality is comparable to any premium earbuds like galaxy buds.

Comfort in Wearing

Best of the best. ZenPods are the most comfortable earbuds I’ve ever tried. They are not bulky, super lightweight and you can wear them for hours together without hurting your ears. In fact, if there is no audio playing, I won’t even feel them on me. That is how lightweight these earbuds are.

ZenPods are so lightweight, sometimes I forget I am wearing them

If you are wondering how well they fit, I would say pretty good. I wear them during workouts, running, and whatnot. They stay tight and comfortable. Sometimes I find the right earbuds loosening but it never fully came off. Partly because I keep adjusting it every 5 minutes lol.

I haven’t tried them in the pool yet, maybe I should give it a try.

Microphone

Each earbud has a microphone that lets you record voice, talk to others and do voice search. The earbuds feature an algorithm called ENC that would allow clear phone calls. ENC means environment noise cancellation and I don’t know much about it. Personally, I did not face any issues during the calls nor does the person I am talking to.

Noise Cancellation

ZenPods are equipped with ANC which cancels out the surrounding noise up to 30 dB. Almost all the TWS earbuds you find online aren’t equipped with noise cancellation but it doesn’t mean they are bad. Active Noise Cancellation is very popular in headphones but it is being incorporated in earbuds as well. I am a big fan of ANC and when I tested ZenPods with ANC on, I was kinda amazed at how well the noise cancellation is in such a tiny product. I wear these buds while I am running. I can clearly hear the difference in sound with and without ANC. Some of the traffic noises are diminished if not eliminated. But please keep in mind that the ANC on ZenPods is nowhere near ANC on a headset. Even a $40 headset like MPOW H12 outperforms ZenPods.

Voice Assistant

Oh my god, I just loved this feature. ZenPods is equipped with google assistant, so you can pretty much do everything that you would do with your google home as the earbuds use your phone’s google assistant to perform tasks. Tapping the surface three times would trigger voice assistant. You will hear a sharp tone and then you are allowed to ask any questions or perform tasks. Unlike ANC, this feature only works when the earbuds are connected to your smartphone.

Some of the things you can do are, call someone, check the weather, ask Spotify to play music, and more. Please note that some tasks require you to unlock your phone.

I use this feature everyday to check my calender, play music and check weather

Battery Life

The battery is one of the top 5 aspects of any wireless gadget. ZenPods features a 35mAh battery per earbud which lasts for about 6 hours per charge. This is not a great backup as there are similar earbuds with a higher backup duration. But keeping the weight in mind, ZenPods is doing better than many others. The charging duration is about 90 minutes which is ridiculously slow but unlike smartphones, earbuds don’t support fast charging.

Also, note that the charging case can charge the earbuds a couple of times. So, carrying the charging case with you definitely helps. Also, there is no other way to recharge the earbuds.

Bluetooth Connection

Connecting ZenPods to your phone, laptop or any other devices is very straightforward. Take the earbuds out of the charging case. If the earbuds are not connected to anything, it will be in pairing mode. If it is already connected to another device (say phone), disconnect it by turning off bluetooth on your phone and the earbuds go to pairing mode. Now, you can search for a device named Zenpods 01 on your phone and connect. That’s all. Also, if you have it connected to your phone, you can’t simultaneously connect it to another phone or your laptop.

Zenpods can’t connect to multiple devices simultaneously. This sucks!

The bluetooth connection is very stable. I haven’t experienced any latency or jitter either during a call or audio streaming. I haven’t tested BT distance tho but normally earbuds will not have a great range. So if you are going on a walk or working out in a large gym, you might need to keep the phone with you.

Charging Case

The charging case is so small that I will definitely lose it one day. The case fits in your pocket and it is easy to carry around. It has got a USB C input for charging purposes. The earbuds go inside the case easily as there is a magnetic attachment.

There is an LED indicator as well. The following image shows you the specifications of the earbuds as well as the charging case.

LED Indicator

On the case, you have an LED light that shows various statuses. A white light appears when the charging case’s battery is low. A flashing red means the case is charging. A white light means the case is charging earbuds. When the earbuds are fully charged, there will be no light in the case.

On the earbuds, you have an LED indicator as well. Blue appears during Bluetooth connection. Red means they are being charged. When they are fully charged, no light appears.

Key Takeaways

  • Zenpods are super lightweight and comfortable. You can wear them for hours together
  • ANC is good when you compare it to other ANC earbuds
  • Audio quality is good but the base is not
  • Bluetooth is stable but it can only be connected to one device at a time
  • Battery life is not great but carrying the case with you helps
  • There are no physical buttons on the earbuds, so accidental touches may happen often
  • Zenpods are super affordable, so it is definitely worth the price

Final Verdict

ZenPods are a great choice if you are looking for affordable TWS earbuds with ANC capability. These earbuds are extremely lightweight making them super comfortable to wear. Also, Zendure is a very popular brand that has delivered quality products to date. So, you don’t have to worry about product performance over time. I would definitely recommend these earbuds for anyone who is looking for one under $100. Also, these earbuds are the best alternatives to Apple Airpods Pro.

Update (November 8th 2020): Facing some pairing issues lately. The earbuds automatically unpaired from my smartphone and I had to repair them. Faced this issue twice over the last two weeks.

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