Technics A800 headphones review: long battery life

Technics A800 headphones review: long battery life

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The Technics A800 headset enters the big leagues with serious arguments to make, starting with an autonomy that exceeds 50 hours. Active noise reduction included.

A subsidiary of Panasonic, Technics wants to rub shoulders with Sony, a Japanese neighbor who dominates the market for wireless headphones with active noise reduction with its WH-1000XM4 model (or the WH-1000XM5). Launched at 350 €, the A800 model is cut to rival the references.

Because Technics has put a lot of things in its high-end headphones: complete companion application, active noise reduction, transparency mode, gargantuan autonomy and, of course, high-end acoustic reproduction (since it is the specialty of the house). And, frankly, the A800 has serious arguments to carve out a piece of the pie.

The tactile surface of the Technics A800 headset // Source: Maxime Claudel for Numerama

Sobriety above all

The Technics A800 is first and foremost a beautiful headset. Japanese designers rely on an argument to convince: sobriety. The result is a product with impeccable finishes and, above all, which does not intend to fall into the too conspicuous look. For those looking for a discreet accessory, the A800 will appeal at first glance. On a robust structure are inserted well finished plastic elements and others in brushed metal (the most beautiful effect). The very thick ear cups extend a headband with asymmetrical attachments. For the colors, it will be black or silver. Again, there is no eccentricity in the catalog.

The A800 will please at first glance

The A800 comes in an excellently crafted padded shell, knowing that the headset can fold up on itself to fit in it without any problem (a diagram is even recalled at the bottom of this egg-shaped pocket). Technics has also provided the small compartment to accommodate the few accessories provided (USB to USB-C cable to recharge, jack cable and adapter for the plane). For transport, we can hardly do better, despite an imposing size that requires a bag.

Setup a bit tedious

The first contact with the helmet is not a model of ergonomics (except with Google Fast Pair). If the companion application, to be downloaded on iOS like Android, explains everything, the association with its smartphone forces you to hold the ignition button for several seconds to switch to Bluetooth communication mode (the indicator light will flash blue and red) . We have experienced more practice.

In terms of physical controls, Technics relies on two interfaces. First there is a shortcut bar with two volume keys flanking a multifunction button – the rear placement is questionable. One click allows you to manage playback, two to go to the next song, three to the previous song… among other less obvious manipulations (one click + long press to move forward). There is also a large touch area on the right atrium, dedicated to active noise reduction. By default, just double tap on it to switch between options.

From the application, it is possible to completely personalize the experience. You can activate/deactivate multipoint (connection to two devices at the same time), optimize noise reduction, adjust the ambient mode (we recommend the ‘Transparent’ parameter, which is more natural) or modify the behavior of the touch zone (example : add a triple tap). The features are not lacking with this A800, ultra-complete.

Customizing the Technics A800 headset
The customization of the Technics A800 helmet // Source: Maxime Claudel for Numerama

The benefits of memory foam pads

With its approximately 300 grams on the scale, the A800 may appear to be a heavy helmet. Some do better, others do worse (the 384.8 grams of the AirPods Max). But Apple’s headphones have proven that weight is ultimately just a number, and only how it’s distributed matters when it comes to comfort. To do this, the A800 relies on shape memory pads. The texture is very pleasant and, of course, thought to adapt to a maximum of morphologies. This choice of design is very profitable, and it is the ears that thank Technics.

Nevertheless, the manufacturer could have been just as generous with the padding located under the arch, in contact with the top of the skull. The fact is that it is sorely lacking in thickness to cushion the support, which may cause discomfort during the longest sessions. It’s a shame, because the clear round was really not far away.

The physical buttons of the Technics A800 headphones
The physical buttons of the Technics A800 headset // Source: Maxime Claudel for Numerama

Heading for the bass

When you listen to music with the A800 for the first time, you are immediately surprised by its very round sound signature. It must be said that Technics relies on the bass register to convince and ensure a good dynamic. The result is a rendering that is far from flat, which may prove to be a little too exposed for some – depending on the genre played (fans of rap and hip-hop will necessarily find their account here). It owes this specificity to its design, which combines 40 mm speakers with acoustic control rooms.

A good stereo scene

Otherwise, the A800 stands out for its ability to provide a good stereo scene, with precise and, inevitably, punchy cutting. It is not naturalness that is sought, rather swagger. We like it or we hate it, knowing that we can always adjust as needed (via the equalizer available in the application). At least the A800 doesn’t lack personality, and there’s a nice depth to what it reproduces.

We keep repeating it: on active noise reduction, there is Sony and the others. With its hybrid system, the Technics A800 does quite well in its ability to attenuate annoying noises. Note first that the passive insulation does a good part of the work (the ears are perfectly encompassed). The active component, adjustable with a wheel from 0 to 100% (good luck detecting differences), will seek to reduce outside sounds even better. When the music is started, we hardly hear his keyboard or the voices. Note, moreover, that the active noise reduction plays a lot on the acoustic performance. Without, everything is very flat. In short, it is better to use it.

The Technics A800 headset
The Technics A800 headset // Source: Maxime Claudel for Numerama

Record autonomy

50 hours: this is the autonomy announced by Technics for its A800… with noise reduction activated. It’s really colossal, and it’s a knockout argument in the helmet’s wallet. Even the WH-1000XM4, market reference, does not compete (30 hours). The Bose Headphones, on the other hand, are far from it with their 20 hours of listening time on a single charge.

The verdict

The Technics A800 stands out as an attractive alternative to the market reference: its Japanese neighbor WH-1000XM4. If it does a little less well in the field of active noise reduction (which is still very efficient), it makes up for it with a neat design and, above all, record autonomy. With 50 hours of use on a single charge, the A800 won’t let you down on your many journeys.
You will still have to accept its default sound signature, very focused on the bass (they drool a little), a signature that you can rectify in the companion application rich in features and customization possibilities. In short, like the WH-1000XM4, the A800 shines with its versatility.

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