Best daily deals

All products featured are independently chosen by us. However, SoundGuys may receive a commission on orders placed through its retail links. See our ethics statement.

The TOZO NC2 sits on a bit of concrete with the lid open to show the buds with some flowers in the background.
Jasper Lastoria / SoundGuys

TOZO NC2 review

Surprisingly affordable ANC performance and stable, fast pairing.
By

Published onSeptember 5, 2023

6.9
TOZO NC2
The bottom line
If you can get onboard with the idiosyncrasies the TOZO NC2 sports, its ANC is quite impressive. The connection and touch controls are effortless, and the battery life is good. Downsides include the exaggerated bass and that the charging case doesn't seem as long lasting as the IPX6 rated earbuds. Still, for the bargain price tag it's difficult to think of a better ANC capable set of earbuds.

TOZO NC2

If you can get onboard with the idiosyncrasies the TOZO NC2 sports, its ANC is quite impressive. The connection and touch controls are effortless, and the battery life is good. Downsides include the exaggerated bass and that the charging case doesn't seem as long lasting as the IPX6 rated earbuds. Still, for the bargain price tag it's difficult to think of a better ANC capable set of earbuds.
Product release date
04/12/2021
Price
Original: $42.99
Dimensions
‎62 x 25 x 45mm
Weight
119g
Model Number
‎TOZO-NC2
Waterproof
What we like
IPX6 rating
Fast pairing
Good ANC
Battery life
Touch controls work well
In-ear detection
What we don't like
Some features don't work as advertised
Case doesn't seem long lasting
Too much bass
Microphone noise rejection
6.9
SoundGuys Rating
8.6
User Rating
Rating Metric
Our Rating
User Rating
Isolation / Attenuation
4.3
-
0.0
Active Noise Cancelling
7.9
10.0
10.0
Durability / Build Quality
8.3
-
0.0
Value
8.3
10.0
10.0
Design
5.5
-
0.0
Connectivity
5.0
10.0
10.0
Portability
8.5
9.0
9.0
Battery Life
6.7
3.5
4.0
Feature
6.8
8.0
8.0
Comfort
7.8
10.0
10.0

With the TOZO NC2, the usual true wireless earbuds rules don’t necessarily apply. Undercutting nearly everything on the market, TOZO’s active noise canceling (ANC) earbuds make plenty of promises, including 35dB of noise attenuation, and a long battery life. All of that goes for under $50. Does it work without hassle?

Editor’s note: this review was updated September 5, 2023, to update charts, and to add the Jabra Elite 4 to Alternatives.

About this TOZO NC2 review: We tested the TOZO NC2 over a period of one week. SoundGuys purchased the unit for this review.

Bargain hunters who prioritize feature sets above trusted name brands will like the value of the TOZO NC2. Folks who want ANC without shelling out big bucks will be surprised by its performance. Anybody looking for a back up pair of earbuds to take where you don’t want to risk your premium earbuds should pay attention. Students on tight budgets can get the focus needed to study with the noise cancelation on tap.

What’s it like to use TOZO NC2?

Like a lot of TOZO products, the TOZO NC2 requires some guesswork on the user’s part. The NC2 does not totally follow its own instructions, so people who never look at manuals can feel justified in this case. Fortunately, pairing works as outlined in the manual (more on that later), and getting started isn’t too difficult.

Both the stemmed earbuds and case are quite lightweight and somewhat cheap feeling, but better than expected for the low price. Compared to the latest generation of earbuds, these are somewhat large, and protrude from the ears a bit, occasionally catching on my hoodie. The touch controls and in-ear detection work with better-than-average reliability. If you do not enjoy in-ear auto-play, be aware there’s no app to disable it. Generally speaking, that’s the blessing and curse of an app-free Bluetooth product: no updates or customization.

On a bit of concrete you can see the buds, case, ear tips, USB-C cable, and case for the TOZO NC2.
Jasper Lastoria / SoundGuys
Without close inspection, you might have trouble telling the difference between size and shape of all the included ear tips.

You get six different ear tips to find your in-ear fit, ranging 10mm to roughly 16mm in diameter. Each ear tip is an oblong shape in order to achieve a better fit. These ear tips feel a bit thin, and are prone to stretching out of shape, but do just fine. The 12mm and 13mm ear tips fit my ears best, with both TOZO NC2 earbuds staying in on a windy walk.

The touch controls successfully differentiate between a command and a fit readjustment without misfiring.

The case is tall to accommodate the long stems of the NC2 buds, but it’s pretty compact overall. The lid has a strong magnet to stay shut with very little flex. After a few days of use, the hinge loosens and won’t easily stay open (to prop up the case, or if held at a less-than-ideal angle) because the notch in the hinge that holds the lid open wears down. This doesn’t inspire great confidence in the long term durability of the NC2. It’s entirely made of a rather slippery, smooth plastic, which may cause trouble for butter fingers. However, the plastic remains resilient against scuffs and superficial scratches.

The TOZO NC2 has an IPX6 rating, which is more than suitable for workouts however, the looser fit does not lend itself well to dynamic movements. It’s not completely waterproof, but it’s still very good.

Yes, you can listen to the TOZO NC2 in mono mode by either removing one earbud from the case, or replacing just one. Due to in-ear detection, playback will pause when you first replace an earbud, so you will need to manually start playback again.

How do you control TOZO NC2?

A macro shot of the TOZO NC2 buds shows the different textures and shades of black in sunlight on concrete.
Jasper Lastoria / SoundGuys
Interestingly, the touch control zone is on the flat, slightly sparkly area towards the top of the earbuds.

You’ll find the touch control surface towards the top of the TOZO NC2 buds. It’s an intuitive placement when you’re wearing the earbuds, even if it’s not very obvious at a glance. None of the controls are on the stems, taking a different approach to the Apple AirPods (2nd generation) and its clones.

ACTIONLeft earbudRight earbud
ACTION
One press
Left earbud
ANC / Transparency mode / standard listening mode
Answer phone call
Right earbud
Play / pause
Answer phone call
ACTION
Two presses
Left earbud
Previous track



(Android only)
Resume last played Spotify track
Play recommended Spotify track when Spotify app open
Right earbud
Next track
Reject call

ACTION
Three presses
Left earbud
N/A
Right earbud
Smart assistant (only when no media is playing)
ACTION
One press and hold
Left earbud
Decrease volume
End call
Right earbud
Increase volume
End call
ACTION
Press and hold for five seconds
Left earbud
Turn off earbuds
Right earbud
Turn off earbuds

Essentially, a few of the controls in the chart deviate from the ones outlined in the manual, because like the TOZO NC9, the TOZO NC2 does not work as described. Our definitive guide to the controls on the TOZO NC2 is as shown above. Fortunately, once you know how it works, the TOZO NC2 touch controls almost never misfire, which is impressive.

When out of the case press and hold the TOZO NC2 touch surface for 20 seconds to perform a factory reset.

How does the TOZO NC2 connect?

A hand holds the closed case of the TOZO NC2 pressing the button on the back.
Jasper Lastoria / SoundGuys
The button on the back of the case is needed for pairing the first time with a device.

The TOZO NC2 connects pretty easily using Bluetooth 5.2. Subsequent reconnections occur very quickly when you pop the buds out of the charge case as well. Your codec options include AAC and SBC, which are standard. Throughout the testing period, the connection never drops out.

Interestingly, despite the steady Bluetooth connection with my iPhone over AAC I still experience some minor latency when watching YouTube videos. It’s not an incredibly distracting amount of latency, but enough that voices and mouths don’t consistently match up. Your experience may differ; latency remains tricky to predict in generalist terms depending on variables such as your device, internet connection (particularly for streaming), Bluetooth codec, and the earbuds in question.

In order to pair the TOZO NC2 over Bluetooth initially follow these steps. Once paired, it should automatically connect when you remove the buds from the case in the future.

  1. Enable Bluetooth in your device’s Settings.
  2. Flip open the lid of the case, and leave the buds inside.
  3. Press and hold the case button for three seconds.
  4. Select the TOZO NC2 on your Bluetooth Settings.

How long does the TOZO NC2 battery last?

In a park a man looks to the right while wearing the TOZO NC2.
Jasper Lastoria / SoundGuys
The upshot of the larger (for true wireless) earbuds is the capacity for a pretty long battery life to a single charge.

In our standardized battery testing with ANC on, the TOZO NC2 battery lasts 7 hours and 13 minutes. That battery result is rather good for ANC earbuds. Having a greater battery life means fewer charging cycles, and potentially prolonging the lifespan of the earbuds. You get approximately four more charges in the case too.

On the bottom of the case, you’ll find the USB-C charging port, and although some sources (including TOZO’s website) state the NC2 can charge with a wireless Qi pad, our unit does not. Four white lights on the case indicate when it’s charging and how charged the case is — pretty standard stuff.

TOZO claims that you can get 90 minutes of playback from fast charging. However, it remains unclear how many minutes the TOZO NC2 needs to charge for to gain that 90 minutes.

How well does the TOZO NC2 cancel noise?

Loading chart ...

One of the winning features of the TOZO NC2 is its overall noise canceling capabilities. Sure, it’s not the best out there, but it competes with some of the pricier premium brand offerings. Assuming you’ve got a proper fit, the NC2 isolates decently, tackling mainly very high pitched noises. Where the NC2 shines is its ANC that really does quite a lot of filtering from the lowest pitched noises through some relatively higher pitched noises, like laundry machines and fans.

Noteworthy is that the noise canceling filters somewhat unevenly, leading to some sounds reaching your ears partially and sounding sort of odd. That uneven noise filtering is not singular to the TOZO NC2; many ANC products do this. The graph shows some impressive results; in reality, the NC2 helps soften the noise in your surroundings.

A surprising amount of clangs still make it through because it does not isolate middle and high pitched sounds as well as some earbuds, and ANC isn’t as effective with incidental noises. TOZO does not include an app to adjust the ANC levels, or personalize the settings, but for plenty of folks, this is precisely all they want to do: tap an earbud to turn on ANC, transparency, or standard listening modes.

How does the TOZO NC2 sound?

Loading chart ...

As frequency responses go, the TOZO NC2 is somewhat “hyped” compared to our headphone preference curve. First of all, the good news: from 600Hz up, the NC2 gets very near on where it ought to be.

In the sub-bass and bass frequencies TOZO tunes the NC2 to play 3dB to 7dB louder than our preference. Combine that bass boost with the volume drop from around 150Hz to 550Hz, and the volume reduction from 5500Hz to 9kHz, and you’ve got a somewhat distractingly bass-focused sound. A volume boost above 10kHz mainly impacts high harmonics. It works okay with more minimal compositions where instruments won’t battle for your attention, and is fine for podcasts.

Loading chart ...

In use, I notice some uneven channel balance with the right earbud receiving more highs and the left earbud playing more mids and lows than the other. Ideally, in the chart you want to see a flat line across 0 to illustrate that both left and right earbuds allocate audio frequencies at the same volume.

Except for frequencies above 5kHz to 9kHz, and above 10kHz, the TOZO NC2 test unit plays back frequencies through to 5kHz up to 5dB more loudly in the left earbud than the right. The difference is not enormous, and while some folks won’t even notice, this kind of variation is likely a consequence of the low production cost, so your mileage may vary.

Lows, mids, highs

With some genres the TOZO NC2 relays music just fine. Listening to Royal T by Crookers and Róisín Murphy, this vocal and bass dominant track is conveyed reasonably well. Bass fans will like the earbud tuning here, where the low end almost (but not quite) overwhelms Murphy’s voice. The chk chk of the drum machine’s cymbals play at a good volume too. However, some of the synths sound relatively quiet in comparison.

Where the more universally pleasant-sounding nature of our ideal curve shows is when listening to other music genres that challenge the NC2’s tuning. Putting on I Can Feel the Fire by Ronnie Wood, the low end frequencies play so loudly that by comparison the other instruments like organ fall out of attention. Interestingly, the vocals sound more or less okay, just too quiet overall. Meanwhile, electric guitar variously comes through somewhat quietly relative to the bass, or at a fine volume depending on how busy instrumentation is at a given section. The effect is nearly everything besides bass sounds comparatively restrained, making you want to reach for the volume up button even though it won’t solve the central issue.

You can EQ the TOZO NC2 with some success using an equalizer app. Begin by reducing volume at 100Hz and below and upping volume between 150Hz to 500Hz. Also, you may want to increase the level between 6kHz to 8kHz.

Can you use the TOZO NC2 for phone calls?

Loading chart ...

You can use the TOZO NC2 for calls, but its mic isn’t very good outside of a perfect setting. The NC2 mic captures your voice with relative accuracy until exposed to environmental noise. In an office, it tends to pick up a lot of sounds like keyboard clacks and office kitchen appliances, making it difficult for the other person to listen. Trying to take a call on a busy street results in your voice coming through rather quietly, and sometimes the unwanted environmental sounds will cause the NC2 to cut out sections of your speech.

When you’ve got an incoming call, a somewhat British-sounding woman announces the contact calling you, which is a nice feature, especially if your phone isn’t directly in view. Some earbuds will simply pause music playback instead. Props for that feature.

Take a listen and let us know what you think of the NC2 mic performance:

TOZO NC2 microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

TOZO NC2 microphone demo (Office conditions):

TOZO NC2 microphone demo (Street conditions):

How does the microphone sound to you?

192 votes

Should you buy the TOZO NC2?

A hand holds the open TOZO NC2 case above a sidewalk.
Jasper Lastoria / SoundGuys
Despite its quirks, the TOZO NC2 is rather good for most budget minded people.

Measured against all other earbuds, the TOZO NC2 is not the best one you can buy. However, most folks buy within a budget and have some willingness to make exceptions for quirks to save cash. In this regard, TOZO gets a lot right: it connects quickly and stays connected, has a moderately long battery life, and attenuates an impressive amount of lower pitched noise. Certainly, the price tag of the NC2 doesn’t leave you hurting either.

What TOZO misses out on is some of the user experience, like accurate descriptions of the product and instructions. The fact that you can’t reliably grab a TOZO product and know it’ll do what the box says breeds distrust. For instance, the TOZO site states the NC2 can wirelessly charge, and this one doesn’t. Ordinarily, that might be a sign there’s something wrong with a test unit, but we’ve seen similar promises concerning TOZO products that simply don’t meet the specs. Plus, the controls in the manual aren’t all correct.

Besides those uncertainties, some things are true. In-ears, the NC2 feels pretty good, if a bit loose and on the larger side. The touch commands (once mastered) usually work without hypersensitivity, and when combined with the speedy pairing, the daily experience is generally pleasant. Most folks will want to equalize the NC2 to get the most out of it, but for not much money whatsoever it’s worth a try if you’re willing to look past some of the surprises.

TOZO NC2TOZO NC2
TOZO NC2
IPX6 rating • Fast pairing • Good ANC
MSRP: $79.99
If you can get onboard with the idiosyncrasies the TOZO NC2 sports, its ANC is quite impressive. The connection and touch controls are effortless, and the battery life is good. Downsides include the exaggerated bass and that the charging case doesn't seem as long lasting as the IPX6 rated earbuds. Still, for the bargain price tag it's difficult to think of a better ANC capable set of earbuds.

How does TOZO NC2 compare to TOZO NC9?

The inner and outer facing housings of the TOZO NC9 are shown as they sit on top of a synth keyboard.
Jasper Lastoria / SoundGuys
Unlike the NC2, the TOZO NC9 lacks stems.

If you’re looking at TOZO earbuds for noise canceling, you might’ve seen the TOZO NC9. While usually a higher model number indicates better, or newer, that’s not necessarily the case here. Both the NC9 and NC2 have competent noise canceling capabilities, with the NC9 focusing generally on more low pitched noises and isolating more high pitched noises than the NC2. In contrast, the NC2 cancels more noise between 150Hz and 400Hz.

Neither has an app to adjust the ANC (or any other settings). In regards to noise canceling, the TOZO NC9 seems probably better for most people based on the chart, however, the NC9 introduces some of its own noise when you listen with ANC on, defeating the point of ANC somewhat.

A chart compares the combined isolation and ANC of the TOZO NC2 and TOZO NC9.
More low to mid frequency noise is eliminated with the NC2, but the NC9 filters more low pitched and high pitched noises.

As for which set is a better daily driver, the TOZO NC2 generally has fewer quirks than the TOZO NC9. The NC2 doesn’t do things like max out volume when you try to turn off the earbuds like the NC9. You still feel the budget with both sets, but the TOZO NC2 wears more comfortably than the TOZO NC9 and works more predictably.

TOZO NC9TOZO NC9
TOZO NC9
Affordable earbuds • ANC • IPX6 waterproof
MSRP: $39.99
Afforadble true wireless earbuds with ANC
TOZO NC9 true wireless earbuds provide Active Noise Canceling to remove background noise. They pair via Bluetooth and come with five different tips size.

Loading chart ...

Whether the TOZO NC2 sounds better than the NC9 is a bit of a wash because neither sounds perfect by default. Both boost bass too much, with the NC9 boosting an enormous amount of bass, about 5dB more than the NC2. You’ll certainly hear treble parts better on the NC9. Even though the NC2 plays back treble more in line with our house curve, comparatively, the output of bass is closer in relation to the treble output on the NC9. However, the exaggerated curve does your ears no favors on the NC9, making some midrange fundamentals difficult to hear.

Anyway, you’ll want to equalize both. According to our score, the NC2 fares better for its frequency response.

What should you get instead of the TOZO NC2?

The TOZO T6 case and earbuds on a white desk in front of a phone with Spotify open.
Sam Smart / SoundGuys
The TOZO T6 ditches the stemmed look of the NC2.

In some regards TOZO is in a class of its own when it comes to value priced wireless earbuds. Its also in a class of its own with its idiosyncrasies. The TOZO T6 strikes a good balance between cost ($26 at Amazon) and functionality, with a better sounding frequency response and an improved IPX8 rating. However, you lose out on ANC even if the isolation isn’t bad.

Assuming you want something more predictable and ANC, you’ll likely have to pay more money. A reliable alternative can be found in the Jabra Elite 4, which do not have great ANC, but isolate quite well. They work very predictably like most Jabra products, although Apple users won’t get the AAC codec typically found on Bluetooth earbuds and will have to live with SBC, Android users get aptX support. Plus, the frequency response sounds great for most applications for $79 at Amazon.

The Anker Soundcore Space A40's case open with the earbuds inside, resting on a person's hand.
Sam Smart / SoundGuys
The Anker Soundcore Space A40 connects over Bluetooth 5.2.

The Anker Soundcore Space A40 comes in at $79 at Amazon which is more than the TOZO NC2, but it also supplies a capable app, and works pretty much as described by Anker. For Android users, the A40 boasts the better LDAC codec as well, plus you still get the usual AAC and SBC codecs.

If it was the IPX6 rating in addition to the noise canceling that makes the TOZO NC2 attractive, you might also consider the JLab Epic Air Sport ANC and its IP66 rating alongside secure over-ear hooks, which is better suited to exercising. The price isn’t terrible ($89 at Amazon) and the frequency response is far better. Rounding out the package, JLab basically doubles the battery life of the NC2 with 15 hours, 33 minutes of juice to a single charge.

JLab GO Air Pop case and earbuds on a black table.
No frills here, the JLab GO Air POP doesn’t have an app.

For the truly budget minded who don’t care about noise canceling, but want good sound for not much money the JLab GO Air POP deserves attention. For the cost of this month’s Netflix subscription you get some impressive sounding earbuds. Like all budget minded earbuds you’re met with concessions and quirks, like slightly hypersensitive touch controls. Otherwise, the IPX4 rated earbuds are cheap, colorful, and the battery lasts over 11 hours and 4 minutes. It’s worth a look for $24 at Amazon.

Frequently asked questions

Nope, what you see is what you get with the TOZO NC2. It does not use any additional apps. You’d need the TOZO NC2 PRO for app support.

No, the TOZO NC2 does not have Bluetooth multipoint compatibility.

You might like