Lately, I’ve been playing with the W830BT wireless headphones from Edifier. I’ve always been impressed with any of the products we’ve looked at from the company so when they sent us a pair of inexpensive Bluetooth over-ear headphones, I was expecting big things.
The headphones come well presented in a simple but entirely functional black box and slip case combo and you get a sturdy feeling carry-case with them too. Also in the case, you’ll find the charging cable and the always handy 3.5” jack cable so you can use the headphones in wired mode. This is a great feature as it means the headphones remain usable should the battery run out or you are in an area where wireless connections are not permitted (some airlines don’t allow it).
The first thing you’ll notice about these headphones is how big they are. The headband is very rounded, rather than a more ergonomic design, so when you have them on, they don’t sit particularly flush to the head. Some people may be put off by that but such things are, of course, a matter of personal preference. The Edifiers do feel a bit plastic, but they don’t feel cheap or flimsy, so you don’t feel the need to handle them with kid gloves. They feel comfortable on your head with a good amount of clamping force and the ear cups are well sized and well padded. There is plenty of adjustment available so they will fit even the biggest of heads. Rather handily, they do fold up into a fairly compact form for chucking in your bag.
Powering on and pairing is a simple affair and presented no issues. The headphones feature up and down buttons along with a multi-function button that I found to be big enough to be easily found whilst wearing them but still fairly discrete. I must say that the user interface is a tad clumsy, although I suppose with a number of features all being controlled by various sequences of taps, double taps, long presses etc of a single button, things can get confusing. To power off, you hold the button for a few seconds, however if you only hold the button for 2 seconds, you call the last dialed number. So when you nod off whilst wearing these at bedtime, wake up at 2.30am, try to turn them off and wonder why you are suddenly phoning your father, this is not ideal. I found that out the hard way.
Speaking of features, the headphones have built-in microphones, so allow for basic call handling, three way calling and calls with 2 mobiles connected. So with all this, plus the audio playback capabilities, it’s understandable that the user interface may seem somewhat convoluted.
Audio quality is really rather good for a set of cans in this price bracket. They can generally be found for around £60, but can often be found on sale for less. So while they will not compete with some of the big boys further up the food chain, they do offer a very decent sound for the money. There are, however, compromises and deciding if these headphones for you may ultimately depend on the type of music you listen to. The first thing you’ll notice is that they are rather bass heavy, with a resonate, rather than punchy style and the higher end is well represented too. However, there is a distinct flat spot in the mid-range of the sound profile though. You won’t notice it in, say, electronic music for example, which focuses more on the extremes of the spectrum, but for guitar based rock, it becomes more obvious. I found that songs with a bit of guitar distortion sounded throttled and flat in places. If that’s not your taste though, I think you’ll be very happy with the sound. It is detailed and dynamic and the separation is very good. I always use a variety of musical genres as well as spoken word pieces when I’m testing, and the majority sounded more than acceptable.
One of the real acid tests with Bluetooth headphones is watching YouTube videos and seeing the latency between the video and audio. I was very pleased to note that there if there is any latency on the Edifiers, it’s all but imperceptible. That’s impressive, given that many times the mighty have fallen at this hurdle.
It’s all pretty positive so far and we haven’t even got to the Edifier’s most impressive function – the battery. The box boasts a 95 hour playtime and 60 day standby time. We all know that manufacturers have a habit of being a tad generous when it comes to things like this, and real world testing of such things is difficult, but I burned these headphones in for 24hrs continuous and then listened to them as my regular headphones throughout the testing phase and they didn’t need charging!! Now that is impressive.
All said, the Edifier W830BT headphones follow in the company’s tradition of providing very good value for money. The sound quality is very good and the battery is outstanding. They punch above their weight when viewed against similar headphones at their price point and despite one or two slight limitations, I would definitely suggest adding them to your list of consideration.