With Bluetooth Around the Neck
- Sound fairly true to the profile of the connected IEMS.
- Clarity and definition.
- Comfort and lightness.
- Battery life.
- There is no connection possibility with IEMS MMCX.
- It looks like an exclusive product for IEMS TFZ, due to its connectors.
- The cable to the IEMS is thin.
- Slight loss of emphasis at the sub-bass end.
Link to the Store
TFZ has released a new Bluetooth cable/amplifier. It is a rubber neckband, which rests lightly on the shoulders. It obviously uses the same 2Pin 0.78mm connection as all their IEMS models. It supports APTX and APTX-HD, its distortion level is very low and it is powered by the Qualcomm QCC3034 chip. Of course, it has a microphone and uses CVC noise reduction technology. It has a battery life of up to 16 hours and supports up to Bluetooth v5.1 specification. It incorporates three linked buttons for operation and volume control. It is very light and comfortable and fits perfectly with any TFZ model. In particular, it pairs very well with the TFZ T2 Pro, which I recently reviewed. They will be one of the protagonists for testing this inexpensive Bluetooth alternative.
- Bluetooth chip: Qualcomm QCC3034.
- Bluetooth version: v5.1
- Codecs supported: aptX and aptX-HD.
- Battery capacity: 110mAh.
- Charging time: <30min
- Battery life: 16H
- Effective distance: 10m.
- Connection interface: 2Pin 0.78mm
The TFZ Coco comes in a relatively large, flat, rectangular case that follows the aesthetics of the TFZ T2 Pro. It is white in colour and the edges are a shiny silver. Its size is 150x192x21mm. On the front side only «COCO Ultra Clear Audio» can be read, in the centre and in the same shiny silver colour. On the back side, the brand logo is at the top and as you scroll down, the product description, the type of connector, the holographic warranty seal and the product details are displayed. Once the box is opened, you can see a large velvety, off-white, velvety pouch with the word «COCO» inscribed on the bottom third. There is a white USB charging cable, with Type-C connection. There is also an instruction manual, in Chinese and English. Inside the bag is the Bluetooth cable. There’s not much else to note. The set is fairly economically priced, the bag is fine, it has a clip closure which seems secure. The instruction manual, fortunately, is also in English and is quite explanatory. The cable is the other minimal accessory that is a must. Not much more can be said, just that the colour of the bag could be a little more discreet and suffered.
Construction and Design
The cable has an orange rubber band, soft and very flexible. The useful part is slightly forward of the shoulders. It consists of two almost cylindrical, somewhat flattened, white, very hard plastic parts with gold-plated ends. The right side has the piece containing the three buttons, on its outer side. It is also made of orange rubber. The bottom button is marked «-«, the middle one is slightly recessed and the top one is marked «+». On the underside of this part is the charging socket, covered with an orange rubber sleeve. Nearby, there is a small hole. On the inner side there is another hole, closer to the end near the connection cable to the capsules. This one, also white, is thin and covered with soft, slightly rubbery plastic. The over-ear shape is achieved with a slightly stiffer transparent plastic sleeve. The classic 2Pin 0.78mm TFZ connector is translucent and angled.
On the right side, only the model name can be read on the outer side, inscribed in silver.
The product is available in grey and orange, like the one in this review.
I understand that the microphone is on the right inner side. The other hole has an LED to indicate operation.
I must comment that I don’t really like the cable that goes to the capsules. I find it too thin and its connection to the control band is a bit flimsy. I would have preferred a braided cable that would have raised the quality level of the set, as well as a more protected connection.
I don’t think you can choose any other option than 0.78mm TFZ type, which limits the pairing with other IEMS, which is always something to take into account.
In the end, this is a relatively inexpensive product, whose design is not bad, but could be improved.
Adjustment and Ergonomics
As a Bluetooth interface I find it an excellent alternative to the other over-ear products. Each has its pros and cons. But this cable is very light and comfortable. In addition, it allows you to rest the IEMS, leaving them hanging. This can be a great advantage for not losing them.
As a TFZ cable and connection it has no mystery, its coupling is as natural as any other. The over-ear feel is good and light, the hooks are hardly annoying. The wires undulate in a way that they don’t touch the face, forming a loop. Although if you turn your head, you do rub against them. The weight of the cable on the neck and shoulders is negligible and not at all problematic to use. I don’t think it’s the most suitable for running, but for walking and everyday use, I don’t find it a problem at all.
Operation and Connection
The manual is quite explanatory and I am not going to copy all its contents here. I will only introduce some important functions:
It has 3 buttons, the central one is the function button. It turns on/off if this button is pressed for 3 seconds. When it is turned on for the first time, it goes into pairing mode. This state can also be reached by pressing the function button for 5 seconds. The device is called «TFZ COCO».
An important feature is that it can be paired with two devices at the same time and switch between them.
The function button is also used for off-hook/on-hook calls, as well as pausing the music. Three-second presses of the + and – buttons change the song.
The LED is two-coloured, red and blue. The different modes are represented by their flashing and cadence. Red and blue flashing is pairing mode. Music playback mode is reflected by a slow flashing blue. Red light indicates low battery. When charging the red light is on steady. When charged, the blue light is steady on.
The cable says it has a range of 10m and it does. Within this radius the operation is effective.
The voice of the assistant is loud and clear.
The power and volume achieved when paired to the T2 Pro is superior to any TWS I own and have tried. It is a great advantage that this is the case.
The codecs are aptX and aptX-HD, with my smartphone it always pairs as aptX-HD and the voice assistant reports this.
The connection process is fast. Returning to pairing mode is no problem. The pairing state lasts 240 seconds.
The microphone performance is average, listeners feel a slight remoteness of my voice during the conversation, although I am not a loud talker.
Voices sound very good, very crisp and clear. Paired to the T2 Pro it produces a very clean and bright sound.
I could say that my thinking towards TWS is progressing well. However, it is true that I think that at the same price, a wired IEMS is clearly superior to a TWS of the same price, or even higher. This may sound like a truism, but the whole process of converting the information transmitted via Bluetooth to music in such a small space as a TWS IEM certainly has its disadvantages. How can it be improved? Well, divide and conquer. It is clear that we would all prefer one device instead of two. But the TFZ Coco Bluetooth cable has many other advantages. First of all, it is compatible with IEMS TFZ models and certainly with some other brands. This means that with the same product, many more sound profiles can be obtained, increasing the versatility. Secondly, the power level is higher. This is quite important, because IEMS drivers tend to be more robust, more efficient and with lower distortion than the smaller TWS drivers. Thus, both the dynamics and the signal-to-noise ratio will be higher in a set like this. Thirdly, battery life. The possibility of a larger space allows for a larger battery. Bigger battery, more power, better features and better performance. This also influences the other components, which can be more common, even cheaper and of higher quality.
The result is that this set sounds better than a $60 TWS, having a profile that is hard to find in these wireless in-ear headphones. Normally, TWS usually have a V or U-shaped frequency response. In the TFZ Coco + T2 Pro set, this is not the case, as the Bluetooth cable respects 90% of the frequency response of the connected IEMS. This is an indicative and totally subjective estimation. But when a product is sold under the slogan «Ultra Clear Audio», there is bound to be some truth to this claim. And, so there is. The TFZ Coco Bluetooth cable has the virtue of slightly brightening the profile of the connected IEMS, as it has a tendency to smooth out the low end. This effect seems to start above 100Hz, while at lower frequencies, the result is slightly higher, without reaching a high value. As a consequence, the sound is perceived as brighter, clearer, cleaner, as the low end is usually softened to produce this effect. Otherwise, finding big differences in the rest of the profile is fruitless. The timbre may be more vivid, but it is very much in line with the original IEMS. What do you get? For very little money, many of our IEMS can be converted to TWS, without having to compromise on quality. If our favourite or most used IEMS are TFZ, why give them up? With the Coco cable, it’s easy to make the move to Bluetooth.
Qualitatively speaking, the sound quality offered by the Coco is remarkable. But it is also true that we have better sources than a Bluetooth transmitter, this must be taken into account. Another factor is the price, we are talking about a device whose price is less than $35. What source do we have with that price? Any current smartphone offers aptX-HD and, in reality, you don’t need more to enjoy the whole package. Taking all these issues into account, a Bluetooth device that ensures a high degree of fidelity and respect for the connected IEMS, even improving some aspects, such as clarity, is difficult to beat, especially for the price of the TFZ Coco.
Continuing with the description of its sound, the low end is slightly attenuated at the lower end. The texture is very similar to that of each IEM, but subtly less descriptive. I find that the lower range offered by the Coco’s is not as revealing, smooth and detailed, as when using the cable, but this sensation may also be conditioned by the nuanced bass and that subtle loss of energy in the sub-bass.
In the mid-range, the level of transparency seems to feel enhanced, while details, at micro and macro level, are preserved compared to wired use. The dynamic range, as usual with Bluetooth devices, I find more compressed, which also affects the level of scene, separation and holographic feeling. But this is just a perception on an ear that is used to finding differences.
I find the high end a bit more concrete, with a subtly harder definition. With cable, quality sources tend to offer more delicate, softer treble, without losing definition. But, it is true that this more abrupt level gives it an emphasis that fits very well, again, with the slogan: that accentuated clarity that allows observing a slightly more evident and marked upper range, adding a pinch of analytical character to the mix.
Timbre is preserved in all ranges and only a slight tendency towards brightness can be noted, which does not detract from the realism and intrinsic naturalness of the IEMS themselves.
It is clear that the primary advantage of using the TFZ Coco cable is to maintain the essential quality of each connected IEM, which is actually achieved at a very high value. In addition, there is added clarity and a more analytical point about the character of each model.
There are many ways to get into the wireless world and I think the TFZ Coco Bluetooth cable is one of them. I would recommend this cable to those who are very susceptible to TWS. If you have a pair of TFZ IEMS and you like them, going wireless at a great price is possible. The great thing is that you are not going to lose the soul of the connected headphones, but the respect for their sound will be very high. Most often you will gain in clarity, but you will certainly also gain in freedom. In addition to the fidelity of the sound offered, it is worth mentioning the higher power output compared to a TWS and the long battery life. Even the button operation can be superior in terms of ease of use and ergonomics. And if several cable-compatible models are available, the level of versatility is increased. Very little more can be asked for such a low price. The TFZ Coco is a very light and comfortable device, a different way to enjoy Bluetooth.
Sources Used During the Analysis
- Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro
- HiBy R3 Pro
- JWD JWM-115
- Tempotec Variations V1-A