Review: Edifier TWS NB True Wireless headphones with active noise-canceling
Another solid showing from Edifier.
The market is getting pretty saturated with true wireless headphones now, but that isn’t stopping manufacturers from adding new features to get in on the action. Edifier might be better known for its speakers, but they also make some pretty compelling headphones, one of which we’ll be looking at today.
The Edifier TWS NB brings Active Noise Canceling to TWS earbuds, at a staggeringly low $119.99. The real question is: can that noise-canceling drown out its higher-priced competition?
So, what’s it all about?
Okay, so Edifier already has a handful of true wireless earbuds and other noise-canceling options, with the TWS name and numbers 1 through 6. Now they’re adding Active Noise Canceling from industry leader AMS, and dropping the numbering to call it the TWS NB (presumably the NB stands for Noise Blocking).
READ MORE: Review: Edifier MS50A wireless smart speaker
That Active Noise Canceling does drastically lower the listening time of the earbuds, from 11 hours per charge with it off, to five with ANC cranking. It’s also got an ambient sound mode that uses the microphones to relay what’s going on around you into the earbuds, so you have situational awareness. Fantastic for joggers or cyclists, presumably with a similar reduction in battery life.
The drivers used in this set of TWS earbuds are 13mm graphene diaphragm ones. Now, graphene has the potential for reducing both physical deformities that would affect the sound produced, and also the amount of power needed to create that sound. That should result in both longer battery life, and tighter sound when listening.
It’s got Bluetooth 5, using one of the latest Qualcomm chips so there’s more power savings to be had here, as well as rock-solid connectivity. The only thing I’ve noticed making it glitch so far was when I was stood next to my microwave while reheating my coffee, but admittedly my microwave breaks all Bluetooth devices. Codec wise, you’ve got A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, and HSP, so don’t expect the high-quality of LDAC or others here, but it’s still acceptable.
All of that needs a fairly hefty enclosure, with the TWS NB’s looking more like early Bluetooth headsets of the early ’00s. The faux metal coating is kinda nice though, and the control button on each earbud is easy to press even when inside your ears.
The charging and carrying case is metal on the outside, so don’t worry about it in your pockets or bag. You’ll get two more charges of the earbuds from the integral battery, bringing your total to around 15 hours when using ANC and 33 hours when not using the ANC feature.
While the lid is magnetically closed, the earbuds actually have a small clasp that you push them under, like the waist bar on a roller coaster. No chance of them slipping free, even when I did my best to shake them loose. Removal is easy, just pull hard enough that the bar moves away. I haven’t broken them yet and my hamfisted nature normally breaks any breakable linkages by now, so I’m fairly confident they’ll hold up in daily use.
Oh, and they’re IPX4 rated for splash resistance, so sweat and the occasional rain shower shouldn’t cause too much of a fuss to their operation.
The packaging has multiple silicone eartips, a couple of sizes of foam ones, and two sizes of earhooks for them to stay inside your ears more securely.
So, how do they sound?
Okay, so if the TWS NB didn’t have noise-canceling, they’d be a fairly good midrange set of true wireless earbuds. There’s a lot more bass from that graphene driver than you’d expect from wireless IEMs, and the rest of the frequency range is pretty tight.
Then we get to the ANC on the Edifier earbuds. When it’s on, the bass becomes more apparent, with the mids and highs slightly suffering, as with all ANC systems. It’s not bad though, with only minor changes to whatever you’re listening to.
The biggest change is that the ANC really does a good job of removing exterior noise. My A/C fan disappeared, so did the drone-y bathroom exhaust fan. I even tried to simulate a commute with a white noise maker set to “road noise” and that also disappeared into the ether. It’s not perfect, some louder, less repetitive noises will still creep past but it’s impressive from a set of earbuds.
So, should I buy them?
If you want to drown out the noise on your commute, and don’t want to pay the price of AirPod Pro’s or the like, the Edifier TWS NB earbuds are well worth a look. For $119, you get decent sound, great battery life, and active noise canceling that definitely punches above its price bracket. You’ll have to deal with the bulky design though.
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Just a heads up, if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the sale. Click here for more. A sample unit was provided for the purpose of this review.