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Technics A800 Headphone 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 connect with Sony, a Japanese neighbor who dominates the market for wireless active noise canceling headphones with its WH-1000XM4 (or WH-1000XM5) model. Launched at € 350, the A800 model is cut to rival references.

Because Technics has put a lot of things into its high-end headphones: full complementary application, active noise reduction, transparency mode, gigantic battery life, and of course, high-end acoustic reproduction (since it’s the house specialty). And, frankly, the A800 has serious arguments for carving out a piece of the pie.

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

Sobriety first of all

The Technics A800 is above all a beautiful viewer. Japanese designers rely on one argument to convince: sobriety. The result is a product with impeccable finishes and, above all, that does not intend to fall into the too flashy look. For those looking for a discreet accessory, the A800 will please at first sight. On a sturdy structure are inserted well-finished plastic elements and others in brushed metal (the most beautiful effect). Very thick auricles extend a band with asymmetrical attachments. For the colors, it will be black or silver. Again, there is no eccentricity in the catalog.

The A800 will please you at first sight

The A800 comes in a well-made padded shell, knowing the headset can fold back on itself to fit without any fuss (a diagram is even remembered at the bottom of this egg-shaped pocket). Technics has also provided the small compartment to house the few accessories supplied (USB to USB-C cable for charging, jack cable and adapter for the aircraft). For transport, you can hardly do better, despite the imposing dimensions that require a bag.

A bit boring installation

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 as Android, explains everything, the association with your smartphone forces you to press and hold the power button for a few seconds to switch to Bluetooth communication mode (the 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 multi-function button – rear placement is questionable. One click lets you manage playback, two to skip to the next song, three to the previous song … among other less obvious manipulations (one click + long press to go forward). There is also a large touch area on the right atrium, dedicated to active noise reduction. By default, double-tap it to switch between options.

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

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

The advantages of memory foam pads

At around 300 grams on the scale, the A800 might feel like a heavy headset. Some do better, others 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, obviously, designed to adapt to a maximum of morphologies. This design choice is very profitable and it’s your ears to thank Technics.

However, the manufacturer could have been just as generous with the padding located under the arch, in contact with the top of the skull. The thing is, it lacks a lot of thickness to cushion support, which can cause discomfort during longer sessions. It’s a shame, because the free lap wasn’t really far.

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

Downward

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

A good stereo scene

For the rest, the A800 stands out for its ability to deliver a good stereo scene, with a precise and, inevitably, punchy cut. It is not the naturalness that is sought, rather the bravado. We like it or 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: Sony and the others are on Active Noise Reduction. With its hybrid system, the Technics A800 performs quite well in its ability to attenuate annoying noises. First, note that passive isolation does a lot of the work (the ears are perfectly wrapped). The active component, adjustable with a wheel from 0 to 100% (good luck in detecting the differences), will try to reduce external sounds even better. When the music starts, we barely hear his keyboard or voices. Also note that Active Noise Reduction plays a lot on acoustic performance. Without it, everything is very flat. In short, it is best to use it.

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

Autonomy of recording

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

The verdict

The Technics A800 stands out as an interesting 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 refined design and, above all, with record autonomy. With 50 hours of use on a single charge, the A800 won’t let you down on your many travels.
You’ll still have to accept its default sound signature, very bass-focused (drool a bit), a signature you can rectify in the feature-rich, customizable complementary application. In short, like the WH-1000XM4, the A800 shines with its versatility.

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