Edifier has been on a roll these few months as they’re releasing audio products that are catered towards what the market wants – wireless audio. Not only that, Edifier is also bringing premium features more accessible. In the case of the new Edifier W860NB, they brought ANC – or active noise canceling – to this W860NB that is priced at an arguably affordable RM499 price tag.
Headsets with ANC usually cost a lot more – so how does the Edifier W860NB actually compete with the other headsets in the market?
Let’s begin with the box. The Edifier W860NB comes with a fairly simple box. At the front there is the graphic of the headphone itself printed. At the back, you can see the feature highlights and its specs.
Open it up and what you see is the hard shell case itself. Yes – it’s pretty similar to the W830BT that we reviewed here. Digging out all the contents in the box, we can see there’s another user manual inside and that’s it.
That’s not all – opening the hard shell case we find the Edifier W860NB itself alongside with the accessories. You get a micro USB cable to charge the battery, a 3.5mm audio jack if you wish to use it in wired mode, and another audio jack splitter for you to use in planes. Niche, but useful.
And oh – by the way, the microphone on the Edifier W860NB only works in Bluetooth mode. That’s because the 3.5mm audio jack that Edifier provided is only a 2-line jack, not 3-line which supports microphone.
The entire Edifier W860NB itself is pretty similar to the W830BT, to be honest. There are a few minor changes here and there. Firstly, the left and right side labeling. There a big L and R on the respective side of earcups’ inside – which I appreciate.
The earcup this time around is thinner than the W830BT, but comes with higher quality PU leather. We’ll talk more about comfort later.
The headband remains the same. It’s thick and non-replaceable, so beware of the PU leather and try to prevent it from deterioration.
Speaking of which, the earcups on the Edifier W860NB can be rotated and folded as well. Again, very similar to the W830BT.
Overall, the Edifier W860NB is built with a mix of plastic and PU leather with an aluminium frame. Pretty lightweight and flexible too.
This is where the Edifier W860NB actually got quite a big upgrade. The buttons are the first – and Edifier just threw all of it away. There’s only an on/off button with a dial to turn ANC on or off. Why? Because the right earcup is actually touch-sensitive.
Swipe left and right to go to the next or previous track. You can also swipe the up and down then hold to adjust the volume. Lastly, double tap on the earcup to play or pause the music. Pretty neat implementation.
On the right earcup, that’s where the power button and the ANC switch is found.
On the left side of the earcup, you can pair it easily via NFC. The micro USB charging port and the 3.5mm audio jack is at that area as well.
Using the Edifier W860NB
I paired it with the Galaxy S9 that I’ve reviewed here and loved ever since. I paired my phone with the Edifier W860NB using NFC, of course. It’s quick and simple – but takes a bit of fiddling to find where the NFC tag is.
For those who have ears that protrude outwards further like the gnomes (I have those ears, by the way), you’ll have some issue where your ear is in contact with the earcup itself. The padding just isn’t thick enough.
Clamping force is fine and able to isolate most of the noise. Upon turning on ANC whole the room is completely silent, there’s a high pitch whine that is noticeable. This whine is prominent in slower and quieter songs like Fortune’s Delight from Dead Rising 2’s OST and even Shy by Karnaboy.
The trackpad gesture on the right side of the earcup works pretty well – but not with all devices. When I tried it with the Galaxy S9, for some reason it has a lot of delay and the volume can shoot up to uncomfortably levels all of a sudden. And next/previous track gestures do not work. When I connected the Edifier W860NB to my desktop, it works extremely well.
How does it really sound? Actually, mostly on bass again. The Edifier W860NB is definitely made for those who enjoy bass – and it shows. They’re quite decent. I enjoy a lot of electronic music that doesn’t have any singing – and to be honest, Adventure Time by Rogue is quite enjoyable. So is Emoji by Pegboard Nerds. Not so much on Delayed Friend Request by 7 Minutes Dead that requires heavy bass, though.
Mids are muddled up with the lows most of the time. This is apparent in tracks like Venomade by Omniboi. Honestly, I just wouldn’t prefer listening to EDM with the Edifier W860NB
How about highs? They’re generally acceptable. It’s separated and definitely doesn’t get muddled up with the mids. Still, not exactly the best when it comes to highs.
Once ANC is turned on, part of the low frequency gets cut off. That’s an inherent trait from all ANC headsets as background noise is typically in the low frequency spectrum.
Surprisingly, Adventure Time sounds a lot punchier than before and the bass notes are much more pronounced. Venomade experienced the same “enhancement” too. The mids are a little clearly separated from the lows.
The highs aren’t affected here and thus have no difference.
From our test, you can go for a really long time without charging the Edifier W860NB – even with ANC turned on. I wore the Edifier W860NB for about ~10 hours total with ANC turned off most of the time, and the battery shows no sign of drainage. Impresive.
However, don’t be an idiot like me and turn on ANC and leave it be. I initially drained all the battery from the Edifier W860NB because I didn’t realize that the ANC switch acts independently from the power switch. So, if you turned off the Edifier W860NB but left ANC turned on, ANC is still functioning. You’ll have to turn both ANC and the Edifier W860NB off to maximise battery life.
It’s not a design flaw and it happens to many ANC headphones out there. Just something to keep in mind.
Wrapping up the Edifier W860NB review
The Edifier W860NB is headset made for those who enjoy bass. ANC works well but the noticeable hiss – especially even on quieter or slower songs – is quite annoying. Battery life on the Edifier W860NB deserves all the praise it can get.
So in conclusion, it’s a bit of a mixed bag for me. Personally speaking, it’s a low-priced wireless headset out there that has ANC, and it sounds decent too.
If these are the features you want, then you’re in luck – Edifier is selling the W860NB for only RM499. And you can get it today. Right now. If these aren’t the features that you seek, perhaps take a look at the W830BT that we reviewed here. It’s similar but cheaper than the W860NB by nearly half the price – yet better in some aspects.