Stability and Range
There are no complaints about the Moondrop Alice’s Bluetooth connection. There were no noticeable drops and lag when using them on the go, with the phone in the pocket. Even leaving the source on a desk and moving around doesn’t change. It’s pretty stable and ok to use.
Since Alice runs on Bluetooth 5.2, latency is almost nonexistent. There were no noticeable delays when making phone calls and when listening to music. It is pretty seamless in day-to-day use.
The Moondrop KATO is a single 10mm dynamic driver universal monitor featuring Moondrop’s new-generation flagship dynamic driver which is being pitched as delivering a tight, fast, and low distortion performance. The Alice has the same internals but in a TWS form.
KATO is a wired IEM and the design is very different between the two. For one, the KATO is made of a CNC alloy shell while the Alice is made of a plastic shell. In terms of design, the KATO is all polished silver – both its shell and cable, while the Alice has a clean white matte finish.
In terms of size, the KATO has a smaller shell, which has a better and more seamless profile. Although the Alice is larger and chunkier, both are very comfortable to use even for long periods.
I had high expectations of the Alice since it has the same internals as the KATO. It does have very similar tuning, but it’s overall inferior to the KATO.
First of all, the bass of the KATO is deeper and with more substantial impact. The KATO has a more dynamic overall presentation, especially with the sub-bass wherein the Alice is rather flat. Mid-bass is present on both monitors with a similar presentation.
Midrange region is rather similar between the two. Although, the KATO displays better timbre in terms of both vocals and instruments. It has a thicker texture compared to Alice. KATO also has more overall clarity.
KATO and Alice have a relatively similar treble extension. Both displays extended highs but the KATO has a more distinct and airier top. Cymbal crashes have more impact when heard with the KATO.
Soundstage and imaging are a notch more accurate with the KATO. The Alice sounds flat and narrow at times, whereas the KATO projects it with wider horizontal and taller vertical landscapes.
Apple AirPods Pro (1st Generation)
$159 – $249
Alice has a far longer listening time of 8 + 40 hours compared to the Apple AirPods Pro’s 5 + 20 hours. AirPods Pro’s tech is also a little outdated with Bluetooth 5.0 compared to Alice’s newer Bluetooth 5.2
There is not much information about the AirPods driver but the tech specs say it’s a custom high-excursion Apple driver. The Alice on the other hand has a 10mm ULT Ultra Linear Dynamic Driver with a DLC Diamond-like composite diaphragm.
The Apple AirPods Pro has an iconic Apple white packaging with both the buds and case having a white glossy finish. The Alice looks alike such that it also has a white overall finish – although with a bigger cradle and in a matte finish.
The shape of the buds is also very different with the apple having a head with a stem setup while the Alice has a single bud setup.
The AirPods pro doesn’t have boomy bass but it does have more bass quantity compared to the Alice. It also has a tighter and deeper bass compared to Alice.
The Alice has a more forward midrange with a good highlight on the vocals. There is some veil on the AirPods Pro that is noticed when comparing the two side by side. Although, the timbre on the AirPods Pro is relatively thicker than that of the Alice.
The treble on the Alice does have a better extension, but not a whole lot. What’s better is the emphasis on a crispier and airier top. The AirPods Pro tends to be conservative and reserved in this aspect.
The soundstage and imaging are impressively similar to the AirPods Pro. It does not feel cramped or narrow. The Alice also does imaging well but The AirPods Pro does better with its spatial placement, making the sound feel more scattered and correctly placed. The Alice comes in a respectable second next to AirPods Pro.
Alice has a far longer listening time of 8 + 40 hours compared to Zophia’s 5 + 20 hours. Both have up-to-date Qualcomm chips equipped with Bluetooth 5.2
The Zophia has a 6mm dynamic driver with Neodymium magnets. The Alice on the other hand has a 10mm ULT Ultra Linear Dynamic Driver with a DLC Diamond-like composite diaphragm.
Both monitors carry a similar design – a case and buds with a single-bud design. They are both very minimal in design.
The main difference between the two is their footprint and color. The Zophia has a smaller case, less than half in size compared to the Alice. Also, the Zophia has an overall dark finish while the Alice has an all-white matte finish.
Bass is fairly similar with both monitors. Sub-bass does not have a prominent thump but they do have a presence in the mid-bass. Compared to the two, the Zophia has a thicker mid-bass but both are rather hollow and lacking in body.
The midrange on the Alice has more clarity than that of the Zophia. The Zophia does have some veil which is more apparent when compared side by side. The Alice excels more in detail retrieval than the Zophia. Zophia tends to emphasize the vocals but lacks instrumental details.
The Alice has better treble extensions than the Zophia. Guitar strums sound rounded on the Zophia, wherein Alice displays it more naturally and sharply. It has an overall airier top and better treble presentation.
In terms of soundstage and imaging, the Alice performs better, whereas the Zophia lags behind. The Alice tends to be wider and taller with also better clarity that overall displays better imaging.
At the price of $189, it is very difficult to recommend the Moondrop Alice although sound-wise, I would have to say that Alice is better than the competition.
The problem is that TWS looks at the overall experience with it and how people interact with it. At the same price, I would personally get a renewed Apple AirPods Pro 1st Gen on Amazon as it is a far superior product overall.
Moondrop Alice suffers from occasional bugs and unpolished software companions that I feel should be more polished when offered at a premium price.
And for those reasons, the product itself feels rushed and a disappointment compared to other Moondrop offerings. Moondrop needs to polish its TWS products more if they really want to compete with other flagship TWS. For now, I would stick with Moondrop’s wired products and wait until Moondrop gets it right.
Moondrop Alice Technical Specifications
- Driver: 10mm U.L.T super-Linear dynamic driver
- Diaphragm: 3rd generation DLC composite diaphragm
- Bluetooth version: 2
- Bluetooth protocol: A2DP/AVRCP/HFP/HSP
- Codec protocol: AAC/SBC/aptX Adaptive
- Charging plug: Type-C
- Impedance: 322+15%R1kHz
- Working distance: about 15m (barrier-free open environment)
- Input: 5V-0.5A
- Battery Life: about 8+40hours