Moondrop continues their foray into the TWS market with an eye-CATching cat-themed set!
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- Good fit and comfort
- ANC available
- Moondrop Link App allows configuration of touch buttons and 5 preset EQ settings
- Good timbral accuracy
- Below average technical performance
- Poor passive isolation lets in wind-noise
- Hiss present
- Mic quality not the best
- No fast charging/wireless charging
- No support for aptx, aptx HD, LDAC
- No customized EQ options
- No waterproofing
Where to Buy
The Moondrop Nekocake are available at:
Moondrop formed in 2015, and since then, they have come leaps and bounds to now be considered one of the preeminent leaders in the CHI-FI industry.
Moondrop is highly popular among CHI-FI enthusiasts, and they have released some crowd favourite IEMs, such as the KATO, Blessing 2, Dusk, Aria 2021 and Starfield (just to name a few), and even ventured into earbuds, some of which are considered best-in-class (eg Chaconne and Liebesleid).
- Battery Life: up to 12 hours
- Connector: USB-C
- Wireless Charging: No
- Battery Capacity: 380 mAh
The Nekocake does not support wireless charging nor fast charging, and this set only operates via a standard USB-C charge port.
- Can be open easily with one hand: Yes
- Pass the shake test: Yes
- Light Indicators: One light indicator on the front of the case
There is an LED light in the centre of the case to indicate the charging status: when the battery level is > 10%, the LED is green, and when it is < 10%, the LED light turns orange.
Interestingly, there is a “function button” at the centre of the case (on the posterior side) that allows for resetting and reconnecting of the Nekocake; just put the earpieces into the charging case and long-press this button until it enters pairing mode.
A magnetic hold grips the earpieces well, and only on hard shaking do the earpieces get dislodged. This strong grip may be a double-edged sword, as the Nekocake earpieces are difficult to be removed with just one hand, as the long stem is embedded deep into the case.
- Shape of the case: Cuboidal
- Material: Plastic
- Build Quality: Average
The case is made of plastic, and there are no sharp edges. Admittedly, in terms of quality, the plastic casing feels a bit on the cheaper side, but no biggie considering this is a budget TWS set.
- Weight: 44g (With earbuds inside)
- Volume: 6.5 cm length x 2.6 cm x 4.4 cm (74 in cu)
- Portability: Good
The Nekocake (with the case) weigh in at 44g, which is lighter than a newborn kitten!
- Battery Life: up to 4 hrs
- Charge Time (15mins): around 60 mins playback time
The Nekocake battery life is as advertised, reaching 4 hours with a single charge, and 12 hours with the charging case (when used at moderate volume). The battery life is also dependent on whether the ANC function is on.
Admittedly, such numbers are average at best for a TWS set, and I’ve used other TWS sets with more robust battery life (e.g. Tronsmart Apollo Bold). Additionally, you should bear in mind that with repeated charges, you should expect battery life to decrease.
The Nekocake require around 1 hour to get fully charged, so this cat isn’t as fast as a cheetah!
- Control Mechanism: Touch
- Touch Accuracy: Good
- Control Symmetry on both earbud: Can be customized on the Moondrop Link App
- Mono Use: No
- Cannot turn on/off TWS outside the case
The touch control of the Nekocake is quite accurate and I didn’t find the controls to be overly-sensitive.
- Profile: Low
- Material: Plastic
- Comfort: Good
- Fit: Good
No complaints with the ergonomics or the weight on this set, and as a result, comfort is top notch. In fact I didn’t even notice the Nekocake were inside my ears for hours. They do not drop out even with vigorous head turning, but of course this is a YMMV situation, as we have different ear anatomies.
- Noise Cancellation: Average
- Voice Pick-up: Average
Unfortunately, it may seem like the cat has got your tongue during calls.
Using the Nekocake on a few Zoom and conference calls, the feedback I received was that the words were intelligible, but sounded muffled as though I was speaking through a towel. The mic quality on the Nekocake isn’t the best.
The ANC is decent enough, and this can be activated with a long press on the earpiece. It isn’t as good as the ANC on the Tronsmart Apollo Bold, but the Nekocake’s ANC can counter a huge chunk of lower frequency outside noise (e.g. vehicle engine rumble), but higher pitched or sudden sounds (e.g. children shouting) can still filter in.
Passive isolation on the Nekocake is disappointing, with external noise being able to get in easily and overwhelming the ANC’s good work. Wind noise also easily enters in and creates a whirlpool of unwanted cacophony, so using them in a windy place or cycling with them is a fool’s errand.
Unfortunately, there seems to be a hiss with the Nekocake on various bluetooth devices I paired them with. The hiss is more obvious with the ANC activated. While this hiss is not obvious on the go, or once music starts to play, in a quiet place and in softer parts of the music, it may rear its ugly head.
- Driver: 13mm dynamic driver (titanium dome composite diaphragm).
- Sound Signature: 5 presets available – see below. Stock setting is a basshead L-shaped tuning.
- Sub-bass: Good
- Bass: Good
- Mids: Average
- Treble: Average
- Sound Detail: Bad
Unfortunately, the app does not allow for a customized EQ. We’ll go into detail on what the 5 preset EQs bring to the table (no pun intended):
Preset EQ sound impression table
|Balanced||L-shaped (basshead)||The stock tuning is called “balanced”, which is a misnomer in my opinion. This tuning is far from being balanced, and it features an L-shaped basshead signature with huge bass quantities (crescendoing in a huge visceral sub-bass rumble).|
|Moondrop classic||VDSF (variant of Harman curve)||This setting features Moondrop’s famed virtual diffuse sound field (VDSF) tuning philosophy, which is their in-house variant of the Harman curve. Bass is much lesser in quantity (with a sub-bass roll-off), but the bass is much tighter and faster.|
|X dynamic||V-shaped (basshead)||This setting features a V-shaped sound signature with big bass.|
|No bass||Neutral||This features a neutral bass, with a rather neutral overall sound. Clarity is great on this setting, though it may sound a bit undynamic and boring.|
|Wennebostel||L-shaped (basshead)||The last EQ setting, “Wennebostel”, features huge bass quantities with a drop in treble > 10 kHz. So this setting has not much air and can feel a bit compressed and “lowFI”.|
Overall, the Nekocake have good timbral accuracy for acoustic instruments and vocals, but they fall short in technical chops; imaging and micro-details are below average, soundstage is also bang average.
A similarly priced competitor, the Tronsmart Onyx Prime has better technical performance, and offers a customizable EQ to boot.
- Audio Codec: A2DP/AVRCP/HFP/HSP/SBC/AAC
- Bluetooth Version: 5.0
- Auto-connect when: Case cover is opened
- Average drop-outs in an hour: 3 – 5 times
- Multi-point connection: No
Unfortunately the Nekocake does not support aptx, aptx HD and LDAC, which may be a deal-breaker for some.
I do not own any apple products, but I did my tests on an android phone and 2 DAPs (Shanling Q1 and Sony NW-A55). The Nekocake has decent enough bluetooth connection range and stability, the effective range is about 10 meters or so (assuming no huge obstructions), though I had occasional stutters in a crowded location and rarely, drop outs.
- IP Rating: N/A
One negative area to highlight, is that the Nekocake have no advertised waterproofing specs. I would hesitate to use them for exercising.
For our anime otaku fans, you’d be pleased to know that in tying in with the quintessential Moondrop anime packaging, there is a squeaky high-pitched anime voice to greet you for voice prompts! Definitely not a “warm voice” as advertised and it might seem irritating for some!
The Nekocake, while not being caterwaulingly bad, are just kind of meh. Technicalities are nothing to write home about, and there is a hiss present with poor passive isolation. The mic quality is also sub-par and some UI and functionality areas are lacking. On the plus side, there is an app that allows configuration of the touch buttons and 5 preset EQ settings (though no customized EQ options are available).
The Nekocake’s stock preset (“balanced”) is a misnomer and is quite bassy in tuning, but there is a “Moondrop classic” option that brings back the familiar VDSF signature that Moondrop fans should be comfortable with. This setting saves the day somewhat, as it also tightens the bass and improves technical aspects. Overall, in the big scheme of things, I would class the Nekocake as bang average for a TWS set, and honestly, there might be better options out there on offer, both from a UI/functionality, and/or a sonic perspective.