The Technics A800 headset enters the big leagues with serious arguments to make, starting with a battery life that exceeds 50 hours. Active noise reduction included.
A subsidiary of Panasonic, Technics wants to rub shoulders with Sony, a Japanese neighbor that dominates the market for wireless headphones with active noise reduction with its WH-1000XM4 (or WH-1000XM5) model. Launched at €350, the A800 model is cut to compete with the references.
Because Technics has packed a ton of stuff into its high-end headphones: full companion app, active noise reduction, transparency mode, gargantuan battery life, and of course high-end acoustic reproduction (since that’s the house specialty). And frankly, the A800 makes a serious case for a piece of the pie.
sobriety above all
The Technics A800 is first and foremost a beautiful headset. Japanese designers have an argument to convince: sobriety. The result is a product with impeccable finishes and, above all, that does not intend to fall into an overly striking look. For those looking for a discreet accessory, the A800 will appeal at first sight. Well-finished plastic elements and others in brushed metal (the most beautiful effect) are inserted on a robust structure. Extra thick ear cups extend an asymmetrical accessorized headband. For colors, it will be black or silver. Again, there is no eccentricity in the catalog.
The A800 will please at first sight
The A800 comes in an excellently designed padded case, knowing that the headset can fold up on itself to fit in without a problem (there’s even a diagram 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 for recharging, 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 an ergonomics model (except with Google Fast Pair). If the companion app, to download on both iOS and Android, explains it all, pairing with your smartphone requires you to hold down the power 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’s a shortcut bar with two volume keys flanking a multifunction button – 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 advance). There’s also a large touch area on the right ear cup, dedicated to active noise reduction. By default, just double-tap it to switch between options.
From the application, it is possible to fully customize the experience. You can enable/disable multipoint (connection to two devices at the same time), optimize noise reduction, adjust ambient mode (we recommend the ‘Transparent’ parameter, which is more natural) or modify the behavior of the touch zone (example: add a triple touch). The features are not lacking in this ultra-complete A800.
The benefits of memory foam pads
At roughly 300 grams on the scale, the A800 might seem like a heavy headset. Some are doing better, others are doing worse (the 384.8 grams of the AirPods Max). But Apple’s headphones have shown 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 nice and, of course, designed to adapt to the maximum of morphologies. This design choice is very cost-effective, and it’s the ears that thank Technics.
However, the manufacturer could have been just as generous with the padding placed under the arch, in contact with the top of the skull. The fact is that it lacks a lot of thickness to cushion the support, which can cause discomfort in longer sessions. It’s a shame, because the clear round really wasn’t that far away.
Heading for the bass
When you listen to music with the A800 for the first time, you are immediately struck by its very round sound signature. It must be said that Technics bets on the bass register to convince and ensure good dynamics. The result is a rendering that is far from flat, which can be a bit too exposed for some, depending on the genre being played (fans of rap and hip-hop will necessarily find their account here). He owes this specificity to his design, which combines 40mm speakers with acoustic control rooms.
A good stereo scene.
Otherwise, the A800 excels in its ability to deliver a good stereo scene, cut precisely and, inevitably, punchy. What is sought is not naturalness, but arrogance. We like it or we hate it, knowing that we can always adjust as needed (via the equalizer available in the app). At least the A800 isn’t lacking in personality, and there’s a good depth to what it plays.
We keep repeating it: in active noise reduction, there’s Sony and the others. With its hybrid system, the Technics A800 does quite well in its ability to attenuate disturbing noise. Note first that the passive isolation does a good part of the job (the ears are perfectly encompassed). The active component, adjustable with a wheel from 0 to 100% (lucky detecting differences), will seek to reduce external sounds even better. When the music starts, we barely hear his keyboard or the voices. Also note that active noise reduction greatly influences acoustic performance. Without, everything is very flat. In short, it is better to use it.
50 hours: this is the autonomy announced by Technics for its A800… with noise reduction activated. It’s truly colossal, and it’s a knockout argument in Hull’s wallet. Even the market benchmark WH-1000XM4 doesn’t compete (30 hours). Bose headphones, on the other hand, are far from it with their 20 hours of listening time on a single charge.
We liked it
- Beautiful finishes in a sober design
- Powerful noise reduction
we liked it less
- Ergonomics could be improved
- gotta love bass
- The headband lacks padding.
The Technics A800 stands out as an attractive alternative to the market benchmark: its Japanese neighbor WH-1000XM4. If it does a little less in the field of active noise reduction (which is still very efficient), it makes up for it with a careful design and, above all, a record autonomy. With 50 hours of use on a single charge, the A800 won’t let you down on your many journeys.
You’ll still have to accept its default, heavily bass-focused (slobber a bit) sound signature, a signature you can rectify in the feature-rich companion app and customization possibilities. In short, just like the WH-1000XM4, the A800 shines with its versatility.
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