Review – HIFIMAN TWS800Specifications
Website – HIFIMAN
Website – HIFIMAN
TWS800 product page
Price: $299. Free RE600s included.
Available directly from HIFIMAN Store.
Credits to the HIFIMAN team for providing the TWS800 review unit.
The TWS800 earphones have a more premium look than HIFIMAN’s first true-wireless model, the TWS600. Still made of plastic, which is best suited for true-wireless earphones where there are no cables to hold the earpieces and provide a better Bluetooth signal. That said, the build quality feels solid enough and the shiny silver color gives a more elegant touch. The main black part of the inner body has a rubber like surface, while towards the nozzle side it is all silver painted. The finish is not the best; there are a couple of little spots where the paint is chipped off. The faceplate is also in shiny silver color with the HIFIMAN logo. The TWS800 also feature a IPX4 rate resistance.
The tech inside not only features the company own Topology diaphragm dynamic drivers, but also a built-in amplifier module to drive them properly as they rate a rather high 150ohm impedance for a IEM model. The large part of the earphones is placed to the outer side, while towards the inner side it is more round and compact. Even so, I found the fit very shallow, even for a TWS model. Also, getting the right fit and best seal is very tricky, and none of the included tips worked for me, so what I opted for the SpinFit CP360 tips, and still needed to readjust them every now and then. They are not particularly uncomfortable as only a very little area is in contact with the ears. In comparison, the TWS600, while also large, fit much easier and securely, like many universal IEMs and with almost any ear tips. Isolation too, is about average.
Following the large earpieces, the charging case is very big. It is also made of plastic, so still lightweight. It has enough room to hold the earphones with most of the ear tips, except from the long flange ones. The magnetic surface will hold the earphones in place once stored, but nothing as strong as on the TWS600 where you could flip the case open, shake it and hardly drop the earphones. The USB charging port is Type-C, but does not support wireless charging. There is a light indicator inside the case, only for the earphones battery level, but no way to know the charging case current level.
The earphones now use touch controls on both sides. The functions are the same as on the 600’s, for playback, volume, etc. – see image. The volume control is very good, small changes from each step so no need to readjust from the transmitting audio source.
Battery and Wireless performance
Battery performance rates about ~4, or a little more depending on the volume, so very average considering other models can offer at least twice the playing time. Bluetooth codec support is still limited to just the basic SBC and AAC, and quite disappointing for the high price. Also, there are no special features like noise-cancellation or ambient.
The TWS800 follows the same idea as the TWS600, a single dynamic driver with their own Topology tech, originally introduced with their upper IEM models. The TWS600 was already very different from various true-wireless in-ear earphones I tried which were either bassy, warm or at least v-shaped sounding. The TWS800 is also different from those, but also different to the TWS600 which was very neutral, bright and detail focused. Instead, the TWS800 is more linear and evenly balanced through the whole freq. response.
While technical abilities on the TWS800 are nothing exceptional, especially considering the high price (and among the most expensive of TWS sets), and the fit quite tricky, I found the tuning to be of my liking. It is not just pretty neutral but more natural and comfortable to listen with a wide variety of music genres. Bass is neutral to very slightly punchy on the mid-bass, with fair weight and body to avoid sounding lean or too light. It is fast and has good depth (with the right tips and proper seal), and more natural decay, though extension is limited – sub-bass can be heard but lacks in rumble. The midrange is clear, neutral to a little more forward at the upper-mids keeping a good balance. Instruments’ separation is decent, not too airy but not congested either. Like with many HIFIMAN IEMs, the vocals on the TWS800 stand out more with a nice texture and detail (the RE600 is still better, though). Treble is elevated but still smoother and less forward than on the TWS600. The extension is still limited and some early roll-off can be perceived (blame it to the wireless or limited codec if you want). There is no sibilance or harshness and the texture is more natural than any other true-wireless earphones I tried. Soundstage is about average, but overall it sounds coherent.
Compared to the TWS600, I wouldn’t call the TWS800 a direct upgrade in sound quality as they are differently tuned. I do prefer the tuning on the TWS800 for its fuller, more balanced and richer sound. It has more impact and depth on the lows and more weight on the lower mids with a smoother, less shouty upper-midrange and treble. The TWS600 is light in bass and it is quicker in decay and the midrange is leaner but sounds more airy. The treble is kind of splashy on the TWS600 for what I clearly prefer the TWS800. The level of detail is pretty much equal, though the soundstage is a little bit wider on the TWS800.
The TWS800 build quality feels better with a more ‘premium’ look over the TWS600, and it should be as it costs $100 more than the original price on the TWS600. However, with the TWS600 currently priced below $100 it presents a much better value, and so far the most detailed sounding for the price.
Next to the Master&Dynamic MW07, the differences in sound are much more obvious. The MW07 is warm and more laid back. The bass is stronger, with an enhanced mid-bass lift that usually bleeds to the mids, but adds a thicker, fuller texture. Lower midrange is more forward than on the TWS800 and smoother on the upper-mids. It loses in air and separation to both the TWS800 and TWS600 but has a sweeter texture and more ‘musicality’ on it. Treble is laid-back and less resolving; quality goes for the TWS800. Neither of them impresses with soundstage, but the MW07 is still even a little wider.