You may or may not have heard of Edifier before, but they are a brand that has been around for over 20 years apparently. Most of their sales are conducted through online marketplaces such as Amazon, Ebay, and AliExpress. They seem to have done quite well for themselves with audio products that not only sound good but are fairly affordable compared to the big named brands. They’ve even won several design awards around the world, such as the Red Dot Design Awards and CES Design and Engineering Award. That means their products should be pretty good, correct? We’ll see. Right now, we’re taking a look at the Edifier W820NB headphones, their newest Bluetooth headphones featuring active noise cancellation and Hi-Res Audio.
Let’s start with the looks because, at first sight, I honestly thought I was looking at a pair of Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones. While not an exact copy, the Edifier W820NB looks very similar. It isn’t until you start really inspecting them that you’ll start seeing some of the differences and slight design changes. That being said, paying homage to the Sony WH-1000XM4 isn’t a terrible thing at all because those to me are one of the best-looking headphones out there.
So let’s talk about the differences. The headband portion only has padding on the bottom where it touches your head. It’s not all the way around the band. Also, the band does not bend anywhere so you can not fold these into a smaller size for easier storage. Instead, the ear cups portion only really twists inwards so you can twist them flat. That’s better than nothing as some headphones don’t even do this. Flat storage is the second-best option as it does make it easier to throw into your backpack. Back to the ear cups these both twist and pivot to better fit the shape of your head.
The ear cups themselves seem to be made of vegan leather and they are fairly soft to the touch with good padding inside. They feel pretty comfortable on my head and around my ears.
The headphones are made pretty much entirely out of plastic. The one we have here is flat black in color, but they’re also available in white and dark grey. There is no soft-touch coating on the plastic, which gives it a slightly cheaper feeling though I am kind of glad it doesn’t have it because, over time, soft-touch coatings have been known to break down and become a sticky mess.
Edifier also kept the branding pretty light on these with only the Edifier logos on either side of the headphone band. It’s a clean look, very modern, and very minimal.
In terms of controls, there are hard buttons for the audio controls and power buttons and I really do like that each one of them is touch recognizable. Meaning they all feel different so you can tell what button you’re actually touching. Charging on this is supplied via a USB-C port which is much appreciated that they’re using this newer standard.
There is a companion app you can download for the Edifier W820NB headphones and it’s called Edifier Connect. It’s available for both iOS and Android and will let you control all aspects of the headphones. From the app, you can turn on and off Noise Canceling, Ambient Sound, and Game Mode. Noise Canceling and Ambient Sound you can turn on and off with a button on the headphones while Game Mode can only be turned on and off through the app.
That’s basically really the only reason to download the app. If you’re not a fan of adding another app to your phone, you really don’t need this. Also as far as I can tell, I don’t see any real difference between having Game Mode on or off. You don’t even need it to update the firmware because it doesn’t look like you can anyways.
Surprisingly, the W820NB sounds really good, especially when you consider the fact that these cost only $59.99 and are a fraction of what Sony’s cost. They’re still not quite at the level of the WH-1000XM4 or even the WH-1000XM3, but they’re pretty close for those on a budget.
The audio sounds good thanks to the large 40mm dynamic titanium diaphragm drivers. They produce really clear and crisp highs and mids, the bass here is okay too. It’s deep but not super, super deep. By that I mean that it’s there, just doesn’t overpower the highs and mids like some other headphones might do. It’s good for most genres of music, though I know there are some out there who like their bass thumping and really low.
What I do like too are the hard buttons for the audio controls. I did state above that each button has its own tactile feel which makes it so easy to use them. They’re all also located on the same side and are easy to reach with your thumb. The volume controls are there and these buttons also function as forward or back in your playlist. The power button is also the play and pause button while the Bluetooth button can be used to change audio modes. It’s pretty easy to use once you figure it all out.
Speaking of the modes, the Active Noise Reduction here works really well. Even while no music is playing, if I’m standing next to a really loud AC, it completely blocks that noise to where I can’t even hear it. However, I’m still able to hear the tiniest bit of when a person is talking. If you actually want to hear what’s going on around you, the Ambient Sound mode also works really well. It almost sounds as if you’re not even wearing headphones, but you can still hear the music playing. This is best used if you need to be aware of your surroundings.
I know not everyone out there can afford something like the Sony WH-1000XM4 or the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700. These can be incredibly expensive but you can get near the same kind of performance off these Edifier W820NB for a fraction of the cost. While there are some differences with the materials used and they don’t feel as upscale, they are super lightweight and comfortable when worn. They also look pretty stylish in my opinion and look similar to the Sonys.
Mainly you won’t feel disappointed spending $60 on these and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how good the audio quality is.
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