How often have you left the house only to be caught hours later by a warning beep or low battery warning on even the best wireless headphones and silently cursing yourself for not prioritizing battery life over every other spec on the sheet?
With the release of the new W820NB Plus hybrid headphones with ANC and LDAC, Edifier says you won’t have to worry about it over two days solid game time. That’s 19 hours more than the class-leading Sony WH-1000XM4, but way less.
A quick look at our guide to the best headphones shows that the Sony WH-1000XM4 review is pretty much at the top. No surprises – these are excellent cans. But the LDAC-enabled XM4s initially cost $349 / £349 / AU$549 and – although you can find them for slightly less now due to their relative age and the arrival of the newer Sony WH-1000XM5 – the Edifier option will set you back less than a quarter of that charge above .
And while Sony’s cheaper 2020 noise-cancelling earmuffs, the Sony WH-C710N (which have recently been replaced by the newer WH-CH720N variant), are now much closer in price to the new Edifier W820NB, you’ll win support for Sony’s built-in higher resolution LDAC codec. Oh, and the battery life is around 35 hours on any affordable Sony model, so the Edifier wins both ways.
Opinion: If the sound meets the spec sheet, for well under $100 the Edifier just made it home
Edifier’s W820NB Plus (yes, a bit of a mouthful) is billed as an upgrade to the LDAC codec and certified Hi-Res Audio. What’s more, their “high-capacity” battery is rated for nearly 50 hours of battery life and recharges via USB Type-C, offering seven extra hours from just a 10-minute charge. Impressive.
To dig a little deeper into these high-resolution claims, the Edifier boasts a transmission bandwidth of up to 990 kilobits per second (kbps) on the W820NB Plus – in other words, top-notch LDAC support. This is because LDAC supports the transfer of 24-bit, 96 kHz audio files over Bluetooth (the closest competitor codec is Qualcomm’s aptX HD, which supports 24-bit, 48 kHz audio data), but LDAC actually offers three different types of connection modes.
Stay with me now. Each of these LDAC flavors offers a different bit rate; 990, 660 and 330 kbps respectively, i.e. audio quality priority, normal and connection quality priority. So while slower bitrates will take a toll on that 24-bit 96kHz quality that LDAC boasts, the new Edifier cans are still price-flexible.
In terms of hardware, the W820NB Plus features 40mm drivers with a titanium-coated composite diaphragm, as well as a hybrid ANC package, rated for a surprising 38dB noise attenuation claim.
While Edifier has yet to wow us in the headphone department, the company has audio prowess – see our review of the Edifier MR4 studio monitors and review of the Edifier G2000 computer speakers for reference.
The new Edifier W820NB Plus headphones just arrived in blue, green, gray or ivory colors (in addition to the more traditional black, of course) and are available on Amazon for just $79.99 / / £79.99 / about $120.
And with these claims at this price, they might get a coveted invite to our best noise-canceling headphones, coming soon. Watch this space.