Is it possible to get a good pair of ANC headphones for under a 100 dollars? Edifier thinks so with its new W820NB Plus. Can it compete with the likes of Cleer, 1More and even itself?
That’s right guys – Edifier already had a sub-100 dollar headphones, the W820NB. But let’s break down the newer Plus version first.
Build, Comfort & Design
We weren’t fans of the original W820NB’s build quality. It had creaky plastic and clackity buttons. That has luckily been addressed with the Plus. You can also get the Plus in 5 different colours. But don’t jump the gun just yet – the overall build is still very much budget feeling – there’s nothing premium about it. Near the hinge where the earcups rotate, the corners are even quite sharp. The W820NB Plus is an all plastic, non-foldable, case-less pair of headphones. Although the padding on the headband isn’t too plush, we found the headphones to be quite comfortable all around with a little bit of force on the crown after an extended period of use. The ear cups are spacious enough, the clamping force is reasonable and it should be ok to fit smaller heads too.
The only other thing you get in the box except for a bunch of plastic and paperwork is the USB Type C cable. You can use it for charging and for wired audio. More on audio quality later. Now speaking of charging, Edifier claims 33 hours with ANC on and 49 hours with it off. But what did our DHRME battery test say? Well, even better! Instead of 33 hours we got 36 hours. On the whole this is plenty, even for our use case. But compared to the market – we’re looking at north of 40 hours with ANC on. But thankfully the fast charge is decent – 10mins gets you 7 hours of playback.
The way you operate the Edifier is using buttons like we said before. You get your basic bunch for play-pause, volume and an ANC toggle. All housed on the right ear cup in fingers reach of your thumb. Double clicking the play-pause button brings up your voice assistant. And holding down either of the volume buttons gives you track control. The buttons are nice and raised – not as much as the Cleer Enduro ANC, but still enough that you don’t hit the wrong buttons too often.
⋯⋯⋯⋯⋯⋯🛒 Links For Latest Prices⋯⋯⋯⋯⋯⋯
🎧 Buy the Edifier W820NB Plus: (coming soon)
🎧 Buy the Edifier W820NB: https://geni.us/EdifierW820NB
🎧 Buy the Cleer Enduro ANC: https://geni.us/CleerEnduroANC
🎧 Buy the 1More SonoFlow: https://geni.us/1MoreSonoFlow
If you plan to take calls on the W820NB Plus – then pay attention. Else skip ahead. You’re still here? Sit back and get ready to pop some popsicles and test some testi..
CLICK HERE for the microphone samples.
What did you think? We thought they were fine for situations without too much background noise. Because due to the aggressive cutting out of background noise it affects the voice of the speaker too. This is one of the most aggressive we’ve ever seen.
In terms of controls you get your answer-hangup and volume. There’s no vakman specials like muting on the headphones and unfortunately you can’t change the ANC mode either. The ANC mode just turns off on calls.
That ANC button on the right earcup can be customised in the app and you can choose if you want to toggle between ANC on, Ambient mode and ANC off. The default configuration of cycling between ANC on and Ambient mode is just the way we like it. Once you get past all the weird permissions the Edifier Connect app needs you’ll see that it’s quite a basic set of settings that you get. Apart from selecting ANC modes, you get a limited number of EQ presets and finally a low latency game mode. You get no custom EQ. And that’s it. The rest is Edifier building in their website and webshop into the app. If you’re on the android app then you’ll see the option for LDAC. Pretty cool that Edifier supports LDAC in their budget category. More on sound later though.
At this price point you’re not getting any additional features like a wear sensor to pause your audio automatically and there’s also no multipoint. This means you stay connected with one device at a time. If you want to switch you need to put the headphones into pairing mode again. You cannot pull the connection from a previously paired device. There’s also no 3.5mm headphone jack and no fast pair of any kind.
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Back to the review. Overall, if you’re someone who doesn’t use a companion app and plan to use the headphones primarily with one device at a stretch then you’d be plenty happy with this Edifier.
The noise cancelling on the W820NB Plus did improve compared to its predecessor. We rank headphones on a scale from S to F. S being top tier and F being the lowest. The first iteration came in at respectable Tier B. What about the Plus version? Um.. also Tier B. That’s right, we didn’t quite notice a difference. It’s also in good company with its other recently released cans, the Edifier WH950NB. But more importantly if we’re comparing to competitors under $100, then we see the 1More Sonoflow also in Tier B and the Cleer Enduro ANC all the way down in Tier E. Overall, if these are your first pair of noise cancelling headphones, you’ll be happy with how much these can block out noise, especially the low end noise.
Ok, enough of trying to ignore the outside world. What about the ambient mode? Here the Plus really pulled ahead of its predecessor from Tier E to Tier C. And using the slider in the app actually did help bring in more of the ambient noise levels. There is also very little white noise in quiet environments, so that’s great! The 1More Sonoflow on the other hand has a lot of white noise and for transparency came in at a lower Tier D. The only pair under $100 that provided the most amount of clarity is the Cleer Enduro ANC. It came in at Tier A, but it also has a fair bit of white noise!
Again, we didn’t have any problems going about our business and even talking to people in a pinch while wearing the Plus in ambient mode. A lot of the low end is piped in, the voices can get a bit lost but do keep in mind that even in the highest ambient setting, the volume of your environment isn’t as high as it would be without headphones on. Very usable though without all that effort to take off your headphones.
So – is the W820NB Plus worth listening to music on? Specs wise we’re happy to see you get LDAC support on Android and wired audio over USB! And it very much borrows from the DNA of the Edifier W820NB. You get a bit more customisation though in the form of 4 EQ presets in the app.
Overall, the sound is clear, with a slight V-shape and has crisp treble. Easily one of our favorite stock tunings, much like its predecessor. We liked the default preset called the ‘classic’ best. With things like the ‘rock’ preset, that treble can border on ‘fizzy’. And with many genres of music, this doesn’t come across.
But it does in something like podcasts, where the voices stand without any bass to hide that. The S’es stand out. The OG W820NB has the same flavour, but the main difference was in the treble. It’s very much focused on the lower frequencies and the lack of LDAC shows in the higher frequencies.
CLICK HERE for sound samples.
Cleer has the biggest mid-bass thump. For those of you who like that sound – the Cleer is an excellent choice, but comes with APTX Adaptive – which not many phone brands – including Samsung – support. Its stock tuning is rather bass heavy – and reminiscent of the Sony WH 1000 XM3s to us. Luckily, it does have a powerful 5 band EQ that can help with that. Out of the box, the Plus has a way more balanced and pleasing sound to our ears – and it’s not like it lacks bass, it’s just not overdone. The 1More SonoFlow also sounds fine and offers the most customisation here – EQ capabilities, presets – you name it. You get a neutral-ish sound signature out of the box. The bass and sub-bass are both solid! But the treble feels a bit weak and the soundstage is on the narrow end. So – for music – we’d pick the Edifier Plus or the Cleer – depending on which phone we had. But the 1More and the OG Edifier aren’t bad by any means.
Should you buy it?
The Plus version of the W820NB definitely added improvements and very much worth those extra $20 compared to the older model. You get improved transparency performance, a creak free build quality and LDAC with improved sound quality. But if you already own the W820NB and these improvements don’t affect you as much, then take a friend out to lunch and save yourself those $20 bucks and feel good about curbing potential e-waste! We’ll be proud of you either way.
But, a big but. If you want more bass in your sound, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a massive 60 hours of battery life, a custom EQ, an even better transparency mode and okayish multipoint support then you might want to consider the Cleer Enduro ANC. You will sacrifice on poorer ANC and less spacious cups and padding on the headband though. The price of these cans can swing below and above the $100 mark. For latest prices, check out the links below.
And finally, there’s the 1More Sonoflow which launched and still retails at the $99.99 price point. Compared to the Plus it brings more than 1More things to the table. An impressive 50 hours of battery life, a hard case, a headphone jack, a more action packed app with a custom 10 band EQ and solid multipoint including LDAC. You do however sacrifice on worse transparency performance.
Let us know what you would get with $100?
You’ve been looking at the pluses and minuses, and we’ve been DHRME. Namaste!