Review: TOZO NC9 – Exceptional Performance and Simplicity

TOZO NC9 earphones with provided silicone tip
TOZO NC9 earphones with provided silicone tip

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Do the NC9’s minor tradeoffs make for a bargain champion?

First, a sincere thank you to TOZO for allowing Headphonesty to review the TOZO NC9 Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) Bluetooth TWS Stereo Earphones. As is my standard, I did not read any reviews of the NC9 before I evaluated them.

TOZO and I have some history now. Several years ago, our relationship began with me looking to buy a ‘budget’ (less than USD$50) pair of TWS (True Wireless) Bluetooth earphones for the gym, outside exercising, at work, etc. After doing comparison homework I decided on TOZO T10s. After receiving them, I was completely surprised — in a good way. With the NC9, they are certainly keeping that trend alive with me. What exactly was surprising? Let’s find out…

The review below is based on entirely ‘real world’ testing and use, not a super-deep technical dive. Other than TOZO providing little public technical detail, these are not TWS earphones aimed at high budget audiophiles who may believe that higher cost = higher quality. Many of you will just want an answer to “how are they and how do you like them?”
Bottom Line

The TOZO NC9 is super impressive at this price point, and in my opinion, easily competes with TWS earphones costing 2x or more. These are, as of the time of this writing, my new daily ‘go-to go-everywhere’ TWS earphones.

What We Like 😍
  • Ready for immediate use out of the box
  • Light and comfortable with a secure fit
  • Easy operation via earphone faceplate touch controls
  • Product fit and finish
  • Bluetooth performance
  • Exceptional sound quality
  • Bass!!
  • Excellent value / low cost for quality, sound, and features
  • 18-month warranty with complete registration
What We Don't Like 🤢
  • Microphone performance for calls is lacking
  • No specific percentage battery level indicator on the charging case
  • No single earphone battery level indicator
  • No built-in advanced ‘smart virtual assistant’ functions
  • No smartphone app or sound customization (which they don’t really need)

First Impressions

Visually, these NC9s are simple and elegant with no sharp edges anywhere. They are small and very light (more below).

The TOZO NC9 are simple and elegant in shape and design
The TOZO NC9 are simple and elegant in shape and design

1st Surprise! They sit very well in my ears, proving to be comfortable and secure. Adequate noise isolation is achieved through a snug fit. Given how well they fit, I wasn’t tempted to use memory foam replacements. Given the unusually large array of included size and shape silicone ear tips, most buyers will find a fitting pair. It is comparatively easy to swap out the tips, and not once have I had a tip pry loose of the nozzle.

2nd Surprise!

Removing them from their case (which already had a charge along with the earphones), they pair with each other immediately and enter pairing mode. A single connection to any transmitting device is super fast and easy.

3rd Surprise!

The ANC mode is by default on when they power on. There is virtually no audible hiss with no audio transmission, or when connected to most high quality BT devices.

If you read on, there are more surprises in store!

Company Overview

TOZO bills itself as “…a leadership and lively 3C [computers, communications, and consumer electronics] digital accessory and electronic brand. TOZO provides innovative and powerful products to customers, transmit[s] the brand culture of “Essential Product Life” and [tries] to meet the customers’ requirements.”

TOZO integrates the latest science and technology, environmental materials, and fashionable elements into product design with the goal of creating products that are unique, durable, and personalized.

TOZO’s official company name is BKC INTERNATIONAL TECHNOLOGY LIMITED, Shenzhen Worgo Technology Limited (Shenzhen Wogou Keji Youxian Gongsi). The head office location in China is in Shenzhen, with a United States office located in Ontario, California.

Technical Specifications

  • Transducer Driver: 9.2mm Dynamic Driver
  • Frequency range: 20 Hz – 20 KHz
  • Style: TWS (True Wireless Stereo) earphones
  • Bluetooth Version 5.0
    • Codec Support Type: HSP/HFP/A2DP/AVRCP
    • Transmission Distance/Range of 15 meters+ (approximately 50 feet+)
  • Portable Charger Battery Pack Case: 500 mAh
    • Charging Case Input: 5V/0.25A (USB Type-C, no wireless charging)
    • Charging Case Dimensions: 73 x 37.9 x 31.35mm
  • Earphone Battery Capacity: 55 mAh each
  • Phone call/music play time (witthout ANC): 8 hours
  • IPX6 Waterproof Nano-coating
    • Keeps earphones safe from jets of water, splashes, rain, and sweat (not for submersion or swimming)
The charging case has high capacity despite its small size
The charging case has high capacity despite its small size


The compact and well designed packaging is consistent with all TOZO earphones. Their materials, while very clean and attractive, are not wasteful at all and utilize plastic only for the case that holds the silicone ear tips and the thin outer wrapping. Many buyers will likely keep the packaging for these reasons. Minimal packaging is greatly appreciated from a consumable/recyclable standpoint.

The NC9s come nicely packaged and with a large variety of silicone ear tips
The NC9s come nicely packaged and with a large variety of silicone ear tips

In the box

  • 2 TOZO NC9 TWS earphones
  • 6 (yes, six!) pairs of black silicone ear tips plus a holding case
  • 1 Rechargeable Charging Case (USB Type-C)
  • Printed instruction and information pamphlet that provides clear, thorough, and helpful basic information in a multitude of languages


The NC9 earphones are simple, smooth, and elegant. They are understated with no logo outwardly visible while wearing — only an encircled letter ‘L’ and ‘R’ to indicate the proper side. TOZO is ink-stamped only on the inside.

The outer faceplates are finished in matte black, attached to the inner body, which is a high gloss black. The nozzle is integrated into the body with a small retention ring for the ear tips. Build quality appears to be high, with no rough surfaces and all parts fitting perfectly.

The TOZO logo, only featured on the inside of the earphone body
The TOZO logo, only featured on the inside of the earphone body
For some people, the earphones may be a bit slippery due to their small size, curvy shape, and material. With careful handling, I had no problems with them. However, they are easier to put in than to take out.

The compact pill-shaped clam shell style case is easy to open and close, and feels secure due to a magnetic closure (not mechanical). There are also magnets in each earphone cup which help to draw them into the case properly for charging. When charging and not plugged in, the earphones each have a charging indicator light and the case’s indicator lights intermittently flash approximately every three seconds.

The TOZO NC9 trade wireless charging for a USB Type-C charging case and included cable
The TOZO NC9 trade wireless charging for a USB Type-C charging case and included cable

When the case is plugged in and charging, up to 4 lights on the front of the case illuminate to indicate how much charge the case’s battery has stored. These tiny lights are not distracting, and very much appreciated.


The bodies are made of lightweight plastics or a composite material, resulting in a very light 5.5g each including an ear tip. Passive noise isolation is good with a proper seal. I found that they generally remained sealed well despite jumping rope, talking, chewing and jaw movement, etc. (not all at the same time!). The silicone ear tips are flexible and comfortable for extended periods of time; the weight does not become noticeable after hours of listening.

The TOZO NC9s are lightweights in physical weight only at 5.5g each
The TOZO NC9s are lightweights in physical weight only at 5.5g each

The NC9s sit snugly in the ear without pressure points and are small enough to not overly stick out of your ears. The nozzles insert enough to create a good seal and at a depth that most people will find comforting.

Even better, they can be physically adjusted in your ears as needed without accidentally triggering the touch controls.

The inward facing rear housing and nozzle are one seamless piece
The inward facing rear housing and nozzle are one seamless piece

TOZO NC9 Performance

Bluetooth performance

Pairing the NC9 is a painless one-step process: remove the two earphones from the charging case and they pair with each other automatically. Then enable the Bluetooth connection on your mobile phone to pair the device with your earphones. Bluetooth connectivity, stability, and range (easily 50 feet in clear view) were very good in all of my testing.

Despite no AptX Codec support (for Android), I experienced little to no noticeable lag between video and audio while watching videos from multiple sources on a computer or mobile devices (Android or iOs).

Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)

If you’d like to learn about ANC, click here for The Fascinating History of Noise-Cancelling Headphones.
Setting realistic expectations: the NC9 technology is not world-leading ANC that will make your surrounding world disappear into silence. What they will do is gently hush noise around you, taking the edge off harsh sounds, generally make you feel that your world is a calmer, more serene place.

As mentioned, with the proper seal, passive noise isolation is good. This is partially due to the shape of the earphones, the depth in your ears they go. Coupled with the ANC turned on, the effect is even better. I found myself on many occasions just keeping the earphones on and in, without listening to any source, just appreciating that I can better concentrate on my tasks at hand.

How does ANC work in simple terms? The TOZO NC9 mainly focuses on cutting out the lower frequency, fairly constant noises produced by planes, trains, and automobiles, constant environmental background noise (like busy offices or inside environments, etc. The ANC works well enough that you don’t have to crank up the volume as much as non-ANC earphones to overcome your surroundings. It most certainly helps you to enjoy what you want to hear — music, movies, videos, etc.

And how does it do that? Essentially, the NC9 ANC works by employing a 2-microphone noise reduction system. With active noise cancellation, an outward-facing microphone detects external sounds which your earphones then counter with anti-noise, canceling or reducing the external sound before you hear them. An inward-facing microphone listens inside your ear for unwanted internal sounds, which your earphones also counter with anti-noise. Amazing!

By default, ANC mode is enabled when the earphones are powered on. Touching the left earphone faceplate toggles between ANC and Transparency Mode, which is confirmed for you by a pleasant voice.

Know that the overall effect is mild and will seem subtle to those who have a lot of experience with ANC headphones. These work really well without any intrusive hiss; they are not so aggressive as to cause the nausea/disorientation vacuum that occasionally comes with other ANC technology and devices.

I tested these a number of times without sending any audio signal to the earphones. In my home office, the gym, or out on walks, the ANC did a nice job of lightly muting outside noises and making them less harsh, tuning them down to a lower grade distraction. My music sounded much clearer and more present to me at a lower volume than with other non-ANC earphones. This may save your hearing in the long run.

In windy outside environments, many earphones, especially those that do not sit so snugly in the ear, result in a great deal of unpleasant wind noise howling. With the NC9, it was greatly reduced — due in part to the ANC, the ear tip seal, and the fit of the earphone body. I have been happy with the ANC performance — very good, without overfunctioning.

The TOZO NC9's bevvy of extra ear tips on display in their provided (uncovered) case
The TOZO NC9’s bevvy of extra ear tips on display in their provided (uncovered) case

In this Covid-19 era, where most of us around the world are wearing face covering personal protective masks, the ear loops never interfered with the fit of the NC9 earphones.

Much to my surprise, ANC mode significantly improves overall sound quality and enhances bass and sub-bass without reducing or muting mids and highs.

The other option is Transparency Mode, which enhances the human voice frequency band and improves the perception of the surrounding sound. As a result, you can hear what’s going on around you without taking out the earphones.

How is this different than simply pausing your music, you ask? The NC9 hears sounds around you, interprets and lightly amplifies them, and passes that on to your ears. Incredible! This will be an odd phenomenon if you’ve never experienced that — you will determine what you like best, and when. Ultimately, the point is to not have to remove your earphones to have a brief interaction or listen more fully to your surroundings (like crossing a street).

There are only two options, ANC mode or Transparency Mode — meaning that you cannot simply turn off ANC and toggle ANC between On/Off. Also, the ANC function is not available when using only one earphone.”

Microphone performance

The NC9 has definite room for improvement with it’s voice microphone and voice call capabilities. Microphone performance seemed adequate for casual calls, though I would not recommend them for professional/business calls. My guess is that it may be a cost containment measure and not a priority to include CVC technology. There is no ANC for the onboard microphones used for voice calling.

The onboard microphones for your voice are very sensitive. Other participants on calls could hear me, with intermittent complaints of “chamber/tunnel” echo effects. To be heard well enough to make for a relatively complaint-free call, I needed to be in a virtually silent environment for background noise not to be fed through to the other(s) in a way that was more distracting for them than for me. Using them outside or in busy environments? No, just no…

Battery performance

The NC9 earphones are designed to last for over 8 hours’ playtime from a single charge. The case, when fully charged, will provide another 24 extra hours of recharge capacity.

TOZO NC9 Sound (Finally!)

For evaluation, I always listen to a great variety of music from numerous sources.

And now for our next surprise: it is unreasonable for such a reasonable earphone to sound this good!

TOZO has conjured some sort of technical, electronic, and audio engineering wizardry to produce sound that should simply not be possible out of TWS earphones with a single driver — and at this price.

I was happy to discover that the NC9s are good to go right out of the box, without the need for extensive burn-in time. They produce an overall reproduction that can be described as a smooth, warm, non-fatiguing sound. Translation: they are really easy to listen to, highly enjoyable, and don’t leave you feeling exhausted or that you really need a quiet break when you’re done with them.

They are excellent with almost all varieties of music. The sound signature is tuned for the consumer market — a flattened/stretched out U-shape, meaning heavy and full bass, with enough midrange to enhance coherence, and adequate, crisp treble to keep music sounding lively. The result is that the entire sound comes together well, another occasional advantage of a single driver.

If someone had told me that the sound from the NC9 was produced with multiple drivers per earphone, I would have believed them.
The NC9's nozzle is short enough to be comfortable and long enough to help ensure a good seal
The NC9’s nozzle is short enough to be comfortable and long enough to help ensure a good seal

The vast majority of buyers will not be using these for dedicated critical listening and I believe, will generally find these highly enjoyable and liveable for everyday use.

Channel separation is excellent and produced a fairly wide, above-average soundstage for TWS earphones. Imaging is better than I expected.


Bass! Simply astounding bass impact and extension for a single 9.2mm driver. It’s heavy and full without being boomy. You can feel it, not just hear it. Listening to multiple bass test tracks, I could hardly believe that a driver this size could produce this tactile experience.

Despite pushing them with very low sub-bass frequencies, they are not easily overwhelmed and do not demonstrate distortion. Accuracy seemed consistent across all reasonable volumes.The vast majority of listeners will be satisfied with these. If you really need more, stick with full size over-ear headphones or external subwoofers.

The NC9 provides strong evidence that multiple drivers really are unnecessary for the casual/enthusiast listener, and that well-engineered chamber construction and tuning are equally as critical factors in producing excellent sound.


Midrange feels thick — in the best possible way. Music feels full when you expect it to, and vocals forward enough to still sound clear and present. The midrange manages to stay present and differentiated despite the strong bass presence.


Treble, while a bit rolled off in higher frequencies, results in good presence and liveliness, with good detail and clarity. Treble fatigue will not be a problem for most listeners. Surprisingly (there it is again!), treble is not overpowered or significantly reduced by the prodigious bass produced by the drivers.


The TOZO NC9 is super impressive at this price point (currently USD $59.99), and in my opinion, easily competes with TWS earphones costing 2x or more. These are, as of the time of this writing, my new daily ‘go-to go-everywhere’ TWS earphones.

Thank you once again to TOZO. If you’d like to purchase a pair for yourself or a loved one, you can buy them directly from TOZO or AMAZON. They are a solid value for their standout appearance, sound, and quality. Enjoy — let us know what your experience is!

💬 Conversation: 16 comments

    1. Bart, I apologize for not seeing your comment and replying sooner. I have not heard that particular model, though have reviewed several CCA models (sub-brand of KZ). Did you end up getting these? Or something else?

  1. I agree wholeheartedly with this review. The price is great, battery life is good, and the sound quality is simply astounding for earbuds at this price. I liked mine so mush that I bought more as gifts.

    First thing out of the box for me is a sound test. I use this video for casual listening tests, as it provides bass, treble, and vocals by the incomparable Nina Simone.

    Jump to the 2 minute mark. There’s the why to buy.

    1. Yeah, it continues to amaze me that the major technology web sites (like CNet) never include the Tozo buds in their surveys of low-price ANC headphones. I feel like they’re a rather well-kept secret.

  2. Simplicity? I’m gritting my teeth after spending over an hour a third time trying to get these to factory reset because they’ve gone to one bud only again. I just had to comment given “SImplicity” in the title. I’m about ready to throw them in the trash. Your article looks good anyway.

    1. Ryan, so sorry to hear that. What I found about factory reset in the manual I’m sure you’ve already tried (it’s also listed in the questions on Amazon reviews). If both earbuds are fully charged and you’re having issues, try letting them fully discharge and remain dead for a day or two (run to complete zero), then recharge and try again. If you’ve already done that, most definitely contact TOZO, I have found them to be highly responsive to customers, especially if there is an issue. Let us know what happens, just don’t rush to throw them out!

    2. Like Eric says, contact Tozo if they continue to act this way. They have a surprisingly long warranty period, all things considered. Do you have the original NC9, the NC9 Plus, or the NC9 Upgraded (yes, that’s confusing, but the box will correctly identify which one you have)? I have used all three and so far the Upgraded is the only one that has proved to be trouble free.

  3. Tozo has crated some serious branding confusion with this product, unfortunately. The short-lived NC9 Plus, for example, had a bigger charging case and better bass but proved, in my experience, to suffer from the problem Ryan describes: one or the other bud not charging properly and requiring frequent factory resets (which are a major pain). The original NC9 (now replaced by the NC9 Upgraded) had this problem at times as well and sound was mediocre. The NC9 Upgraded (which I just bought a couple of months ago and which was apparently the model reviewed here) seems to suffer from none of these problems. My experience with this latest model matches Eric’s review.

    I wear earbuds at night to play meditation apps, sleep-aid apps (like Boring Books for Bedtime), and music. The Tozo NC9s are perfect for this because of their comfortable fit and battery life. Plus, the small size means I can even sleep on my side, which is simply not possible with either my AirPods or my Bose QCs. Personally, I have found the best sound quality to come from using third-party ear tips from SpinFit because my ears are too big even for the largest size provided by Tozo. But those tips are so cheap that it hardly matters. Bottom line is that for comfort, sound quality, and ANC, these phones are as good as brands that cost four times as much.

  4. Chuck, thanks for the excellent detail and glad to hear that your experience lines up. I just hope that I’m not one of the authors of the “Boring Books for Bedtime.” LOL

    Since the writing of this review, there have been countless new additions in the marketplace to consider. Surprising even for me, I still use these NC9 earphones.

    While TOZO seems to have released nothing new or notable in a long time, there is this coming:


    1. Boring Books at Bedtime (a wonderful podcast for falling asleep, BTW) relies entirely on public domain material from Project Gutenberg. I’m pretty sure that lets you out! 🙂

      The news about the new Tozo product is very cool. I just hope they do a better job testing this one than they apparently did on the NC9 Plus. Speaking of which: since doing a reset on my NC9 plus followed by a thorough cleaning of the interior of the charging case, I don’t seem to be having any issues with it (knock wood). Which is odd, because the charging pins certainly looked clean, but who knows?

    1. I have Tozo’s wireless charger but haven’t used it all that often because it’s noticeably slower than wired charging.

    2. Thanks Joe B for the addition! When this review was written, my test unit did not have wireless charging capability. Over time, the case was swapped, which is now standard with the NC9.

  5. There is a companion app to enable features and an eq. I’ve used these for a few months and they are fantastic!

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