Cons: No L/R labeling
Annoying Voice Guidance
At $200, the Alice is one of the more expensive TWS earbuds to come out of China. At that price, it should outperform established brands like Samsung or Apple, at least in sound, if not also the software.
The good thing is that Alice’s DSP tuning is great. In the Apple app store, Moondrop’s LINK app provides firmware updates and DSP tuning selections. There’s really only three tuning presets that are good: the Moondrop Target, In-Ear Target, and PEQ Default. The other tuning presets are garbage.
Connecting to iPhone bluetooth is seamless and much more convenient than other Chinese TWS earbuds. The Alice automatically connects to bluetooth when you take them out of the case and turns off when you put them back in the case. Previous ChiFi TWS earbuds were a bit more finicky to connect and disconnect.
The Pros end here.
Now for the cons:
1. The earpieces don’t have Left / Right indicators!! The earpieces look near identical and are shaped almost identically, so it’s really really difficult to figure out which side is L or R. You basically have to play a song and double tap on each earpiece to see if it skips forward or back, and then know that it is left or right. It’s shape isnt like typical earbuds, so you can’t tell just by the shape.
2. The shape is horrendous for ergonomics. In an era when every other manufacturer is going for smaller earbuds, Moondrop has chosen to go bigger. Their suggested wear instructions has you wearing the earpieces sticking out over the bottom of your earlobe. But it’s just a terrible wearing experience and it is completely insecure. There is no way you can exercise with these on. It looks funky sticking out of your ear, like a bluetooth earpiece from the early 2000’s. Plus, it feels uncomfortable and it falls out easily.
3. It HISSES LOUDLY. Whenever sound is playing out of the Alice, the driver has significant hiss. The hiss turns off when no media is playing. It hisses loudly enough to be audible even over music. Moondrop needed to have upped the impedance of the driver, but they didn’t, and it’s now way too sensitive.
4. Annoying voice guidance. I guess the person speaking to you is supposed to be Alice. But her voice and accent is just annoying. It’s a high-pitched, STRONG Japanese/Chinese accented girl’s voice. (I am Asian, so not being racist here). I guess Moondrop tried to go for an anime voice, but it’s not executed tastefully. Every time you turn it on, connect/disconnect, etc, you get the annoying voice guidance. I wish at least there was a way to disable voice guidance.
5. “VDSF+” doesn’t do anything really. I think it is Moondrop’s form of surround virtual sound, but it really doesn’t change the sound very much.
At the end of the day, if Alice was $100, it might make the product worthwhile. But at $200, I could never recommend Alice over Apple’s or Samsung’s TWS. Alice sounds good with DSP, but it hisses so much that it almost negates any positive thing I could say about the sound. Plus it fits terribly.
Oh one more thing. Their anime box image/design came off to me as distasteful, and borderline inappropriate. For one thing, i imagine a customer who paid $200 for a wireless earbud would want a more professional unboxing experience. But besides that, it’s just weird to see a commercial product with such a sexualized image stamped all over the box and leaflets. And that’s not even considering how young the girl looks. But I guess this isn’t Moondrop’s first strike at this sort of thing 🤷🏻♂️
Edit: i took it apart to see if there was any room to add some resistors to reduce to hiss. After modifying driver impedance, I came to the conclusion the hiss isn't from driver sensitivity, but from the chipset or some other electrical component.