When you assume of the best wireless earbuds, Technics might not be excessive in your record. Let’s face it, the Panasonic-owned hi-fi model might not be in your record in any respect. The legacy audio imprint has been working onerous to vary that in recent times, and the brand new EAH-AZ80 are the end result of that journey.
These buds supply tons of options, nice noise canceling, and glowing sound. Their design is cozy and classy, providing a selection of ear tricks to tailor your match and a tempered contact of premium flash. Features like three-device multipoint pairing assist set them aside from rivals like AirPods Pro (9/10, WIRED Recommends) relating to multitasking within the work-from-home period.
At $300, the AZ80 are pushing the envelope contemplating you possibly can usually get prime selections like Sony’s getting old WF-1000XM4 (9/10, WIRED Recommends) on tremendous sale lately. But these buds show Technics deserves to be part of the dialog alongside Sony, Bose, Apple, and others.
Style and Substance
The AZ80 are a little bit massive, however they’re the best-looking buds I’ve tried this yr, particularly trendy within the silver/grey model. While the fake brushed aluminum on the case’s lid seems a little bit glitzy, the metallic caps on the buds themselves supply simply the suitable sparkle, instantly recalling Technics’ glimmering turntables and receivers.
In the field you’ll discover a QR code for the helpful Audio Connect app, setup directions, and 7 pairs of ear suggestions. Google Fast Pair is without doubt one of the few huge options the AZ80 lack, which means each Android and iPhone customers might want to dive into the Bluetooth menu, however they join in seconds. The app permits you to select between your cellphone’s voice assistant or Amazon Alexa (or neither) and refine just a few different setup choices.
If I’ve to complain, I don’t love how Technics’ voice prompts blurt out connection standing. But like most AZ80 options it’s adjustable, so I merely turned it down. Other adjustable choices embody all the things from a multiband EQ to noise canceling, transparency mode (there are two variations, together with one designed to focus on voices), and even ambient sound suppression for cellphone calls.
Speaking of changes, the AZ80’s mound of ear suggestions helps you discover simply the suitable match. When mixed with ergonomic housings, even at a comparatively weighty 7 grams per facet, the earbuds are snug for a number of hours of wear and tear. It’s a significant enchancment over final yr’s AZ60, which was a unbelievable general package deal that was just too bulbous for smaller ears like mine.
You also can rearrange the contact controls, although the default appears to be the most suitable choice. The format is a bit odd at first; single faucets for pause/play are mirrored on each buds, however different controls are unfold between the buds through a collection of multi-taps and lengthy holds. Most necessary, although, you get entry to all main features, together with quantity, with out the necessity to fish out your cellphone. That’s one thing you possibly can’t say about loads of opponents, together with Sony’s WF-1000XM4.
There are a number of different options to futz with, however three-device multipoint pairing is arguably the largest get, setting the buds aside from nearly each competitor. The characteristic works fairly properly, letting you swap between a cellphone, pill, and pc with relative ease. That fulfills most use instances for the AirPods Pro’s Auto Switching characteristic, however as a substitute of being chained to iCloud units, you get the liberty of blending and matching gear throughout ecosystems.