Technics EAH-A800 review: The wireless ANC headphone for audiophiles
Introduction, design, and features
Note: This review was first published on 4 March 2022.
Going on a tear
Technics is making a big push in the personal audio space. After last year’s TWS earbuds double unveil, they are back at it again with a new flagship-class wireless ANC headphone called the EAH-A800. With advanced active noise-cancelling, long battery life, and extensive audio codec support, Technics clearly wants to make a big entrance. Let’s see if they’ve succeeded.
Design & features
The EAH-A800 comes in black and silver. I received the black unit for testing and it looks rather plain. I haven’t seen the silver version in person but I suspect it will look more stylish. The only real design flourish is the engraved Technics logo on the metal portion of the earcups. Compared to its closest rivals – the Sony WH-1000XM4 and Bose QuietComfort 45 – the EAH-A800 looks a little bulkier. It folds and can be stowed away in its carrying case. The carrying case is about the same size as the Sony and Bose.
All of the EAH-A800’s controls are on the right earcup. There are physical buttons that control playback and volume and the metal portion on the earcup serves as a touch panel for switching between active noise-cancelling and ambient sound modes. Speaking of modes, the EAH-A800 offers helpful voice prompts to let you know exactly what mode you are in. This is certainly preferable to the ambiguous sound effects and bing and bongs that some other manufacturers like to use. One nice thing about the buttons is that the volume buttons are shaped slightly differently so it’s easy to find them without looking. The touch panel is also responsive and registers your inputs faithfully. Overall, the controls are intuitive and it shouldn’t take owners long to get accustomed to them.
At 298g, the EAH-A800 is a good bit heavier than its closest rivals. The Sony and Bose are lighter at 254g and 238g respectively. It doesn’t look or sound like much, but the EAH-A800 is 17% heavier than the Sony and 25% heavier than the Bose. When you put it on your head, you feel the difference. Fortunately, generous padding in the headband and large plush earpads help alleviate the extra weight. The clamping force is a bit excessive at first but eases up with use. Once the EAH-A800 is a bit more worn-in, it never becomes uncomfortable to wear.
Battery life is one of the strong suits of the EAH-A800. It charges via USB-C and Technics claims a single charge is good for up to 50 hours of music listening even with ANC off. Turn ANC off and that goes up to 60 hours. And that is well beyond what the Sony and Bose are capable of – 30 hours and 24 hours respectively. It took about 1.5 weeks of around 6 hours of listening each day (with ANC) before I needed to recharge the EAH-A800.
Like any high-end personal audio device, the EAH-A800 has an accompanying app with which you can customise various features and functions of the headphone. As far as apps go, this is handily one of the most powerful ones and allows for very deep customisation of the headphone. Casual users might be overwhelmed by the sheer number of options presented, but more advanced users will definitely welcome the ability to truly make the headphone theirs. You can choose which audio codec to use, enable/disable multi-point connection, customise the touch panel, adjust the level of noise-cancelling, tweak the ambient sound mode, change up the sound signature via EQ, and more.