TOZO has become a popular and best selling brand in the last few years, mainly because they’ve produced a variety of high quality and feature rich wireless earbuds at a minimal price.
The NC9 originally came out in 2020 and was subsequently updated in mid 2022, and it has become one of the most popular and talked about noise cancelling true wireless earbuds on the market. The aesthetically slick and aptly named Crystal Buds are a newer TOZO product that has some neat new features, and they’re quickly becoming popular as well.
They look pretty similar, but how do they actually compare? What are their differences? and is one better than the other? I have fully reviewed both the Crystal Buds and NC9 and will answer those questions in this comparison article.
TOZO Crystal Buds vs NC9 Side by Side at a Glance
What Are the Main Differences Between the TOZO Crystal Buds and NC9?
The Crystal Buds and NC9 are mostly similar – the housing is a full sized contoured piece that fills the outer ear canal, in the style of a traditional in ear monitor. I’ve read that the NC9 (as opposed to the NC9 Pro) isn’t compatible with TOZO’s EQ app while the Crystal Buds is, but I was able to get both to link up to it and work.
There are a few noteworthy differences between the two products though:
Active noise cancellation/transparency – the NC9 has active noise cancellation and transparency modes, while the Crystal Buds don’t have any listening modes or presets that you can cycle through.
Weatherproofing – the Crystal Buds have an IPX8 certification, meaning they’re fully waterproof up to immersion, whereas the NC9 has an IPX6 certification, which is only waterproof up to moderately pressured jets.
Battery Life – the Crystal Buds have about 25% more purported battery life than the NC9, and probably more if you’re always keeping the NC9’s anc or transparency mode on. You can turn both anc and transparency mode off to get more battery life, but that kind of misses the whole point of the NC9.
Case – the Crystal Buds case has a better rounded and compact design that’s more pocket friendly than the NC9 case. The Crystal Buds case also has the LED charge percent indicators for both the case and each earbud while the NC9 only has an approximate charge gauge (4 dots) for the case itself. The Crystal Buds case also has the transparent lid, which is actually a really neat idea – it prevents you from not realizing the buds might not be inside to charge or transport.
Do the TOZO Crystal Buds or the NC9 Have Better Fit and Comfort?
Both these earbuds fit solidly with no seal issues. The Crystal Buds and NC9 both also come with a plethora of different size and style replacement tips, so I’d expect just about anyone to be able to achieve the same.
The NC9 is a bit bigger and heavier and the tip fit is firmer and deeper feeling, probably as a necessary compensation to a degree. The Crystal Buds are smaller and lighter and the fit is shallower. Which feels better I would say is a matter of personal preference here.
Does the TOZO Crystal Buds or the NC9 Sound Better?
Out of the box, the NC9 has a little better balance and detail as a result, while the Crystal Buds are more bassy and a little looser. But the NC9 is also a little thinner with some slight boxyness in comparison. With no EQ adjustments I’d say the NC9 sounds a little better overall.
However, the Crystal Buds balance improves a lot with the “Bass-” preset, which can probably be improved further with some more custom tinkering of the sound curve.
The NC9 also seems to fill up and lose the boxy sensation with the “Bass+” preset, and can also probably be further improved with some tinkering.
With EQ tinkering the potential sound quality of these two products is very close, enough so that I’d also say it’s a matter of personal preference here. But you have to be willing to utilize the TOZO EQ app.
Which Should You Choose Between the TOZO Crystal Buds or NC9?
If you just want something that sounds better out of the box, I think the NC9 is the overall better choice over the Crystal Buds. But, if you’re willing to use the TOZO app and adjust the EQ of either, I think they both have comparable and overall very good sound quality for the price-point.
I still choose the NC9 though, because having noise cancellation and better isolation matters more to me than LED charge indicators and a compact case with a clear lid. But I will say those are still neat features, and if that and a lighter and shallower fit appeals more to you then that’s a perfectly valid reason to choose the Crystal Buds over the NC9. The Crystal Buds are also fully waterproof while the NC9 is merely splash proof if that matters to you.
Get the Crystal Buds wireless earbuds on Amazon (affiliate link)
Get the NC9 noise cancelling wireless earbuds on Amazon (affiliate link)