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September 12, 2022
Charging case: 77 x 37 x 33mm
Ear tip sizes: 9-13mm
Charging case: 54.3g
When shopping around for true wireless earbuds, you might be wondering how much you really need to spend to get good performance. For a lot of people, that price might be significantly lower than expected with the TOZO T12. While it’s missing some premium features, there is a lot to like with these uber-affordable earbuds.
Editor’s note: this review was updated September 1, 2023, to add the TOZO NC2, Jabra Elite 3, and Jabra Elite 4 to Alternatives.
The TOZO T12 is ideal for someone looking for no-nonsense earbuds that just work. There’s no app to fidget with, listening modes to toggle through, or gimmick features. Instead, these cheap buds simply provide a great listening experience at an affordable price.
What’s it like to use the TOZO T12?
With the aim of keeping costs down, TOZO hasn’t included many extras with the TOZO T12. Open the box, and you’ll just see the earbuds inside the charging case, alongside five additional ear tip sizing options. There’s no companion app for the TOZO T12, so just open the charging case and connect the earbuds to your device.
The build quality of the TOZO T12 meets all expectations for this product category. Don’t expect anything more than plastic, but at least the earbuds and charging case both feel solidly built. Moreover, the earbuds have an IPX8 water resistance rating, so they are submersible in one meter of water for up to 30 minutes. Strong magnets lock the earbuds in place in the charging case, which in turn shuts with a satisfying magnetic click.
The earbuds sit relatively deep in the ear canal, which creates a strong seal. The actual earbud module is quite large, so during long listening sessions I often experience minor pain on the outer ear. As someone with small ears this isn’t a first — if you have larger ears, comfort won’t be a problem for you.
One of the most unique features of these earbuds is the LED display on the charging case to indicate battery percentage. It’s a useful way to quickly check how much juice is left in the system before taking the TOZO T12 out and about.
How do you control the TOZO T12?
A single tap on either earbud pauses playback, which means that every time you adjust the earbuds in your ear, you risk accidentally pausing your music. That said, the touch controls work reliably, so you never really need to grab your phone while listening to music.
|Action||Left earbud||Right earbud|
Play/pause, answer phone call
Play/pause, answer phone call
Press and hold
Volume down, hang up call. reject call
Volume up, hang up call, reject call
Is there an app for the TOZO T12?
Unlike many true wireless earbud options, the TOZO T12 doesn’t have a companion app. This means you’ll miss out on functionality such as EQ adjustments and firmware updates. There’s also therefore no way to adjust the controls of the TOZO T12 or track the earbuds if you happen to lose them.
How does the TOZO T12 connect?
The TOZO T12 uses Bluetooth 5.3 to connect to your devices. Don’t expect any fancy Bluetooth codecs from these budget earbuds, but SBC provides a solid connection to Android devices, while AAC support optimizes these earbuds for Apple devices. Throughout our testing period, we didn’t experience any severe connection dropouts with the earbuds.
To pair the earbuds, simply remove them from the charging case. They will turn on automatically, and once the light on each earbud begins flashing red and blue, they are ready to connect to your device.
How long does the TOZO T12 battery last?
TOZO states that the earbuds last 11 hours on a single charge, and a total of 48 hours including the charging case. However, in our testing, the TOZO T12 only lasted 5 hours, and 58 minutes on a single charge. This is average for true wireless earbuds but, nevertheless, quite short of TOZO’s claims. The case supports wireless charging, as well as traditional charging via USB-C.
Using a USB-C cable, the charging case powers up in 90 minutes, while it takes about 120 minutes to charge wirelessly.
How well does the TOZO T12 block out noise?
These earbuds have some of the best isolation performance we’ve seen, let alone at this price. If you can get the right fit using the six included ear tips, you won’t hear much of your surroundings while wearing these earbuds.
Based on our scoring system, these earbuds score a perfect 10 when it comes to sound isolation. The TOZO T12 attenuates high frequencies by up to an incredible 95% reduction in perceived loudness. However, it’s in the low frequencies where the T12 really stands out from the pack, as this is where most headphones struggle. Even at the lowest frequencies of audible sound, the TOZO T12 makes everything sound at least half as quiet.
As a commuter, I swear by active noise canceling earbuds, yet I wasn’t bothered at all by its absence on the TOZO T12. The shape of the earbud housing, combined with the fit of the included ear tips, provides a tight seal that keeps your music in, and unwanted distractions out.
How does the TOZO T12 sound?
It’s not uncommon for budget consumer headphones to boost bass frequencies, and the TOZO T12 is no different. As seen in the chart above, the TOZO T12 deviates above our headphone preference curve in the lowest frequencies of the audible spectrum. Beyond the strong increase to low frequencies, the TOZO T12 performs extraordinarily well for budget earbuds.
Lows, mids, highs
The boost to frequencies below 100Hz is noticeable on any track with strong sub-bass. In the verse of Die For You – Remix by The Weeknd and Ariana Grande, each kick drum hit really seems to rattle your brain with the extra bass. When the deep sub-bass line hits during the chorus, the bass becomes overbearing. That said, anyone who really likes their music to thump will enjoy the sound signature of the TOZO T12.
Across the mids and highs, the TOZO T12 performs quite well, especially for such a budget pair of earbuds. If you decrease the sub-bass frequencies using the equalizer within your music player, you’ll get great sound quality from the TOZO T12.
Can you use the TOZO T12 for phone calls?
While the microphones on the TOZO T12 are good enough for taking the occasional call, you won’t want to use the earbuds for any serious conference calls. As seen in the chart above, the microphone doesn’t deliver a lot of high frequencies, so your voice sounds “muffled” on the other end of the line. In our standardized demos below, you can also hear how the microphones struggle to separate the voice from the background noise.
TOZO T12 microphone demo (Ideal conditions):
TOZO T12 microphone demo (Office conditions):
TOZO T12 microphone demo (Windy conditions):
How does the microphone sound to you?
Should you buy the TOZO T12?
The TOZO T12 is by no means a perfect product, but at this price, it’s hard to nitpick. You’ll rarely find true wireless earbuds at this price that perform this well. While there’s no active noise canceling, the excellent passive isolation means you can still use these earbuds in a noisy environment. Throw in bonus features such as wireless charging, IPX8 water resistance, and an LED battery indicator, and the TOZO T12 is a great bargain buy.
Our biggest gripe with the headset is the overpowering bass, but an equalizer easily removes that. The microphone quality also isn’t great, but it’s good enough for people to understand me on the other end of the line. Of course, we’d love to see advanced features like active noise canceling or a companion app, but you’ll need to look at premium earbud options for that.
These earbuds go on sale frequently, which really makes the purchase decision a no-brainer. At such a low price, the TOZO T12 makes for a great permanent resident in your gym bag or even secondary travel headphones in addition to your main set of over-ear headphones.
What should you get instead of the TOZO T12?
It’s tough to find quality true wireless earbuds under $50, but there are some good options out there. Gym rats should consider the Anker Soundcore Life A1, which also brings water-resistance and a ton of bass for $49 at Amazon. The JLAB GO Air POP ($24 at Amazon) is a solid all-around option that you might find on sale even cheaper than the TOZO T12. If you want active noise canceling, you can check out the TOZO NC2, which do a great job of filtering noise for $39 at Amazon.
You’ll get much more consistent performance if you’re willing to spend a bit more and take a look at the best wireless earbuds under $100. The Google Pixel Buds A-Series ($94 at Amazon) is packed full of features for Android users, while the Jabra Elite 3 ($59 at Amazon) and ANC capable, Jabra Elite 4 ($79 at Amazon) frequently go on sale for well under $100.
Frequently asked questions
Press and hold the buttons on both earbuds for 5 seconds until the light turns red. Press and hold both earbuds again for 10 seconds until the light turns blue. Once the light starts flashing red and blue, you can reconnect the earbuds to your device.
Nope, as of writing the TOZO Sound app only supports the TOZO T6S, T10S, NC2 Pro, NC7 Pro, NC9 Pro, and NC9 Pro Max.