I’ve used a hell of a lot of headphones over the many years I’ve been doing this job, and often it’s hard to describe why one is better than another, but when a set of headphones have a feature that sets them apart from the rest, things get interesting.
For the last two weeks I’ve been listening to my playlists on the Panasonic Technics EAH-AZ80 true-wireless earbuds, and they pack some punch and offer something I’ve never seen before.
Design wise, these are a neat, compact unit which feel light in your pocket when carrying them around, but also snug in the ear. They are a bud only design no stalk, which means a bit of bulk to the unit but not as much as some you might find out there.
The outer surface of the bud has a brushed gloss metal look to it, which gives them a really premium look and feel, that same finish appears on the top of the charging case too.
Charging is wireless, or USB-C, whichever you choose and there’s plenty of recharges in the case.
But here’s the first thing these offer that is better than most. 7+ hours of battery life. Normally we’re talking 6 hours or so. With these, in noise cancellation mode, 7 hours, a total of 24 with the case battery included.
That’s awesome, and really makes a difference when you’re travelling.
App controls tick my boxes too, the Technics Audio Connect app allows for a vast level of customisation to the headphones – to me, this is a critical feature, a must have – what’s the point of all this technology if we can’t make them as we want them, for us.
Complete control of the touch sensors on each bud, great EQ controls, and even a sliding scale of Noise Cancellation from 0-100%.
The sound quality is exceptional, legitimately in the top tier of audio in the True Wireless category, I’m certain of that.
Add to that the fact I can customise the EQ in great detail and really personalise the sound and it’s just outstanding.
Now Technics have a technology called “JustMyVoice” on these, which I will admit I haven’t tested in great detail. I’ll reserve that for my 2023 mega headphone test in the months ahead, needless to say I had no complaints from people about the quality of my voice on calls which is what you want – and it’s an area you can easily be let down.
The showstopper for these headphones is the multi-point connectivity.
In the app you configure the Panasonic Technics EAH-AZ80 to allow for a single, dual or triple device connection. What’s that mean and why would you need it?
It means you can pair your phone, your Laptop and your Tablet. When you’re on a plane listening to music and you shift to the TV shows you’ve downloaded to binge the headphones will play from the tablet without having to do the whole disconnect and re-connect.
Two devices has been done before, but I’ve never used a set of headphones that would connect to three. And that scenario is utterly perfect for someone who travels a lot.
Jumping to the three device pairing does sacrifice your ability to listen to LDAC audio, but that’s only for the purists anyway:)
Honestly, on that feature alone these headphones earn their $499 price tag. However, it’s still a huge price to pay and the Technics brand is known in Audio circles, I just wonder if they’ve got the klout to really push that further.
For me, these tick every single box, and are worthy of the consideration of anyone serious about sound, and features – especially if you’re a frequent traveller.