HIFIMAN TWS800 Review

HIFIMAN TWS800 Review

24 January 2021 0 By Petros Laskis

Almost there

Pros: – Reference natural tuning
– Great dynamics
– Comfortable custom like fit
– Seamless bluetooth performance
– Good battery life
– Beautiful and stylish
– Easily controlled

Cons: – Limited to AAC and SBC
– Lack of fidelity and high register extension
– No supporting app
– Battery indicator inside the case
– Microphone could be better

The TWS800 sample was kindly provided by HiFiMan and is still under their ownership.
This is my honest and subjective evaluation of it.

Introduction.

True Wireless earphones are becoming more and more popular so it is not of a surprise that traditional brands like HiFiMan design such products putting a lot of effort towards a more audiophile sound quality.

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Technical parameters.

The TWS800 is a True Wireless Bluetooth 5.0 earphone with the codec support limited to AAC and SBC.
The retail price is $299.
https://store.hifiman.com/index.php/tws800.html?SID=05q6ajtetbpedqk1sdgdht2de6

The TWS800 is an upgraded version of the previous TWS600 model featuring the same unique topology diaphragm dynamic driver.

But this time HiFiMan opted for a more sophisticated and audiophile structure inside including a 150Ω high impedance driver and a discrete amplifier in order to drive it properly.
The “Topology diaphragm” refers to a diaphragm featuring a special nanoparticle coating applied to the surface.
The result is a more natural and detailed sound than that is typically achieved with True Wireless earphones.
The different shape of the nano size coating on the diaphragm has a positive effect on the tuning.

Most True Wireless earphones in order to maintain large battery life rely on the bluetooth chipset embedded amplifier that is suitable only for sensitive drivers that usually lack on bass department.
HiFiMan in order to address the problem and offer better bass response opted for the high impedance driver and a discrete amplifier section.
Such amplifiers need high current flow in order to power the driver so a larger power supply was needed and unfortunately the shell size had to be increased in order to accommodate the whole circuit.

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Build quality.

The shells are made from a combination of shiny metal and plastic with very good build quality and a nice finish to them.
They are quite elegant looking and they resemble custom in ear monitors.
One small status LED is found under the faceplate and it will flash between red and blue according to the operation.

The newly designed charging case is made of plastic with aluminium reinforcements to the outside that add a classy appearance to it.
The lid stays in place thanks to a hidden magnet as for the earpieces they are magnetically attached.
The depth inside is improved and can accommodate the earpieces even with the long triple flange ear tips.
A small four LED indicator inside the case will show the remaining battery life so the only way to check it is to open the case.

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The earphones are IPX4 certified and they weigh 6.9gr each as for the case is small and discreet and fits easily inside a pocket.
Dimensions are about 7.5×4.5x3cm and the weight is 57.7gr without the earpieces.

Battery performance

Inside the case is housed a large capacity 800mAh battery that can give about 5 extra charges which translates to an extra 20-25 hours of playback more or less.
Every charge can provide the earphones with 4-5 hours of music playback.
Earpieces fully charge in one hour and the case needs about two hours.

Accessories.

Inside the box we are going to find a velour pouch , a USB A-C cable and a large selection of ear tips including double and triple flange at a total of eight pairs.

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Comfort and fit.

The shells are quite bulky but they are lightweight and cleverly designed with a custom like anatomical shape and an extra long nozzle.
As that and thanks to the wide selection of ear tips the fit is very comfortable and stress free.
They are fitted with a twisting action and then they stay at place without causing discomfort even after prolonged use time.
Passive noise attenuation is very good and we have nothing to complain about.

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Operation.

The touch control operation is quite simple and cannot be customized due to the absence of a supporting application.
Both earpieces feature a touch control pad that we only need to touch and click in order to activate the various operations as various gestures are not supported.

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Bluetooth.

Bluetooth connection is stable without any drop outs or cut offs with good working distance as long as we are not between wide walls.

Re-connection with a known device is fast and will take place a few seconds after we pull out the ear piece from the case.
We can choose between either to answer calls or both to listen to music.

Unfortunately auto or manual power off is not available so in order to preserve battery we have to place them inside the case.
Call quality for the answerer is good but not quite so for the caller as the single microphone is nothing special to talk about.

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Sound impressions.

The overall tuning is very balanced with good clarity and sufficient enough resolution or at least as much as the entry level codecs would allow.

Bass is extended and full but you want call it very visceral as it is rather on the lean side but still hard hitting.
It is super fast and tight with great layering to handle busy passages aimed by the ample detail.
There is no bloat at all and the transition to the mids is accomplished with great linearity.

You can certainly tell that there is something special going on regarding the driver and the discrete amplifier because the TWS800 sails ahead of the competition regarding macro dynamics , slam and overall sense of reality.
There is also a well implemented soundscape with precise positioning and good space allocation.

Mids are natural sounding with good articulation and full bodied.
Timbre is done right and the presentation is only a little forward just to make things more alive and exciting never being dull and boring.

Reaching higher the clarity and timbre are more or less retained but extension and fidelity are restrained by the absence of aptX or other high-resolution codecs.

In order to be honest we must confess that the TWS800 seems to be painstakingly tuned in order to address this problem because it never sounds harsh or fatiguing.

It is good as it is but it is a pity because it could be a lot better.
The TWS800 is designed around cleverly thought and implemented hardware but with a performance held back by the software.

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At the end

To be honest we are a little upset with HiFiMan and the TWS800 but not because it is a bad performer.
On the contrary it is one of the best TWS earphones we have heard with a truly great performance and an audiophile tuning.
But it is only great while it could be truly exceptional just by adding a higher resolution codec in order to achieve greater extension and fidelity.
So while the HiFiMan TWS800 is one of the very few audiophile oriented TWS in existence there is still room for improvement and we are sure that HiFiMan is already back to the drawing board designing the next generation.
Till then the TWS800 is an excellent TWS strongly focused around music pleasure and it is highly recommended.

The test playlist – http://open.qobuz.com/playlist/5669033

Copyright – Laskis Petros 2021.