vivo is the latest smartphone company that shows strong interest in the TWS niche and we have its latest product with us - the vivo TWS Neo.
vivo is trying to be a brand for the young and successful people and is doing its best to make its devices look appealing. The Neo earphones have a plastic case with neat gradient color - it goes from Silver through Blue all the way to Black - it is indeed as beautiful as the night sky. The earphones follow the same color scheme, but their build quality leaves us somewhat disappointed.
The vivo TWS Neo feel rather cheap and plastic in the hands, while the hinge of the case feels on the verge of breaking, when you hear how it clicks and unclicks. Also, the whole setup is a fingerprint magnet which takes away from the otherwise appealing looks. The glossy finish of the earbuds also gives an uneasy feeling that the earbud might fall out the ear any time.
vivo says there is a 14.2 mm driver in the earbud for deeper bass and richer sound - basic physics says the bigger the driver, the mightier the sound. While this is true in theory, in practice it is a bit more complicated. vivo’s acoustic team developed DeepX Stereo Sound Effects that aims to further boost performance, resulting in cleaner sound.
Truth is the TWS Neo performs better than any other wireless earphones in its price category but its full set of audio customization options is only available on select vivo smartphones. While the company website lists a dozen of compatible flagships, in real life we had an issue with every vivo phone that isn’t called X50 Pro.
A really neat feature is the slide volume on the TWS Neo - just slide your finger up or down on the outer side and the volume of the device changes. Of course, you might need to adapt your smartphone volume as well, because the Bluetooth does not send this information to the device.
Speaking about the connectivity, vivo phones find the TWS Neo immediately and there’s a quick prompt on the screen, allowing for seamless pairing. Third-party smartphones must go through the ordinary pairing process of finding the device in the Bluetooth menu.
The charger case has 400 mAh capacity, with each bud having 27 mAh, totaling at just over 450 mAh typical capacity. The charging is rather slow through the USB-C port - around 1.5 hours, but the playing time is worth - the buds can live comfortably for over four hours.
When you factor in the extra charge in the case the battery life reaches 22.5 hours, which is more than you will realistically ever need.
One feature that we are missing is ambient noise cancellation, but there is at least in-call noise filtering, leveraging the two outer microphones to make sure the other party can hear you well.
Having spent a couple weeks with the vivo TWS Neo we can say it's arguably the best sounding pair in its price range. The build quality will hardly impress anyone, but being priced at about €60, we doubt many people will find it to be a deal-breaker.
A far bigger issue might be availability - the TWS Neo is only officially present in a handful of markets. Of course, you can always import them, but going through the trouble and paying the fees involved really hurts the value for money proposition. Still, if you happen to live in one of those few countries where vivo officially sells the TWS Neo and really care about audio quality we can't imagine you'll regret purchasing a pair.