Edifier W860NB Headphone Review
The Edifier W860NB were another pair of headphones shown to us at this years CES that we hadn’t tried before. I spent a bit of time with them at the show but have recently been using them a lot more over the last few weeks and this is what I thought of them.
Before we get too deep into this, let’s talk price. These currently retail for $119, which would likely be around the £99 mark here in the UK. They are one of Edifier’s top tier products but let’s remember that price point. It’s fantastic but at the same time, I’m not expecting the quality to match something like the PX7 or QC35’s.
Look & Feel
The appearance of the W860NB is subtle, minimalist some might say but I like the way they look and they do go some way to offering a premium experience. The headphones are available in black or a rose gold/cream. In both instances, there is a brushed paint finish, with matte coloured headband and earcups. The casing is made from plastic with the addition of a cushioned metal band connecting to the two earcups together. These are over the ear headphones, so they cover your ears entirely. The headband has a fair amount of flexibility to it and the earcups swivel slightly and fold into the headband, allowing for them to be put inside the provided carry case.
The headphones come with a clamshell hard case, complete with USB cable for charging, 3.5mm jack lead, instructions and of course, the aeroplane adapter. I have not used one of those adapters in at least 15 years, they really aren’t required anymore, are they? You get everything you need to get started and the hard case is a nice touch, which I wasn’t sure I’d see, considering the RRP of these but I’m glad they included one.
Each earcup is labelled either L or R so you can easily put them on the correct way. On the left earcup are the power in port for charging and the 3.5mm jack port too. To the right, the power and ANC buttons, three holes which I assume is the microphone for taking phone calls.
Let’s discuss spec for a moment. The W860NB’s are active noise-cancelling headphones and included Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity with Apt X (no Bluetooth 5, these are over a year old now) and NFC pairing, which allows you to tap your NFC enabled device against your ear and the two will pair. Each earcup includes a 40mm neodymium driver and Edifier state a 25hr battery life with ANC turned on, 45hrs with it turned off.
Set up was very straight forward, just pair the headphones with your smart device as you would usually pair any Bluetooth device. Connection distance between device and headphones is around 10 metres. Unfortunately, iPhones do not have NFC technology, or a least my 7 doesn’t so I wasn’t able to try this feature.
At this price point, I’m really impressed with the audio performance of the W860NB’s. They offer a fairly well-balanced sound profile, with plenty of boom from the bass and just about enough on the mid and high fronts, suitable for many different genres and they’re very enjoyable to use.
I’m impressed with the ANC and it works pretty well. If you turn it on and off, without any audio playing, you hear the usual light hum associated with ANC. Put some music on, turn the ANC on and off again and it’s quite an obvious difference. I wasn’t able to test these too intensely like on an aeroplane but walking around London, it was a benefit to have the ANC on.
Moving onto the controls, they’re actually touch-sensitive. Slide up and down for volume control, left and right to change track and tap twice to play/pause. The touch controls are only available on the right earcup and you should use one finger to control. Most of the time the controls worked ok but it could be more responsive. Changing the track was fine and volume up/down was ok but it wasn’t overly obvious that the volume was changing until you swiped several times. I also found my finger stuttering sometimes when swiping along the plastic.
I’ll go back to the price, $119 for ANC, touch controls and circa 25 hour battery life is pretty darn impressive. I’ve heard better, albeit from more expensive headphones and I’ve heard worse but the W860NB hold their own and are worth a purchase in my mind.
For more info, head over to the official Edifier website.
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