HIFIMAN TWS800

ostewart

Reviewer at Sound Perfection ReviewsFormerly affiliated with HiFi Headphones
Smooth and detailed
Pros: Excellent sound quality
Good build quality and accessories
Cons: Size won't suit all
Battery life
Firslty I would like to thank HiFiMAN for sending me the new TWS800 for review.

*disclaimer: This sample was provided for the purpose of writing a review, no incentive was given to write a favourable review. All opinions expressed are my own subjective findings

Gear Used:
Pixel 3a > TWS800 (Silicone Tips)

Tech Specs:
https://store.hifiman.com/index.php/tws800.html

Packaging, Build Quality and Accessories:

The TWS800 come in a fairly basic box with the model pictured on the front and information about the IEM’s on the back. Open the box and you’ll find the metal charging case in a foam insert, with the earphones above them. Underneath this foam you will find the included accessories, the box isn’t big or flashy but does the right job at looking attractive whilst minimising waste.

The charging case feels really good, it’s metal which means it will scratch but it’s deep enough to house the earphones with most tips attached which is a bonus. The earphones themselves have a metal faceplate and nozzle, whilst the main body is plastic. They feel very well put together and I don’t see any build quality issues.

Accessory wise you get a soft carry pouch to prevent the metal case from getting scratched, a USB-C charging cable and quite an impressive assortment of tips (8 pairs, including single flange, bi-flange and triple flange tips). I really like how many tips are included as it ensures most users will easily find a tip style and size that fits them.

Comfort and Features:

The TWS800 are big, the housings are exactly discreet and due to my narrow canals they stick out and look a bit silly in use. Not a problem for those gifted with normal size ears, but for us small eared folk I don’t find the design do work very well in terms of looks. Fit wise though they are secure and feel comfortable once inserted.

The TWS800 give roughly 4.5hrs of music playback, this is not very impressive against the competition but then again these house a driver with an impedance of 150Ohms. This means HiFiMAN are also using a separate amp circuit after the bluetooth receiver to improve sound quality, at the cost of battery life. They use Bluetooth 5.0, but only support SBC and AAC, lacking Aptx and LDAC which is a real shame when these are designed for high quality audio playback. The touch controls work well once you get used to them, they are IPX4 rated against water/dust and the case provides another 6 complete charges.

Sound:

Bass:
Smooth, soft and controlled is how I would describe the bass of the TWS800, it doesn’t hit hard or in huge quantities but it has a very effortless low end that brings a sense of warmth to the overall sound. There is great extension down in to the sub-bass and good articulation in the mid-bass (well recorded bass guitars sound great), but it is always controlled and never becomes too much. One thing I do think is that they do sound a bit flat down low, whilst there is good body, there’s not a lot of energy and kicks can come across a bit muted at times. These definitely handle calmer/softer genres better than fast rock or more upbeat pop. It’s not that they don’t sound good with those genres, but they just sound a bit boring.

Midrange: The midrange on the other hand has quite a nice balance to it, well separate from the bass but with a hint of sweetness to them. Layering is a strong point for the midrange, different vocal tracks can be easily distinguished, and guitars occupy a very different space within the soundstage which is great. There’s also a good amount of detail on show, and the midrange doesn’t seem to favour upper or lower mids, being fairly linear across the board. There isn’t any added energy in the upper midrange, which leads to a fatigue free sound without sibilance. Bluesy acoustic kind of tracks sound wonderful on the TWS800, with great depth and detail with a natural tonality to them too.

Treble: The TWS800 is very smooth up top, devoid of any nasty treble peaks there is good presence and extension but all in a moderate quantity which means you don’t always notice it’s there. They almost sound dark at times with a lack of upper frequencies, but then you just realise that due to the wide soundstage they are placed differently to most earphones and have a far less aggressive delivery. It’s really hard to fault the delivery, I normally prefer a more upfront delivery in the treble region but with the right music the TWS800 really do nail it, snares are snappy, and the extension really is impressive with a very slight and smooth roll off.

Soundstaging is excellent, it’s open and airy and each instrument occupies it’s own little space in it. Layering is also great, you can easily pick apart recordings yet they are delivered in a coherent way.

Conclusion:
HiFiMAN stepped into the TWS world with the TWS600 which had it’s pro’s and con’s, but the TWS800 is a huge improvement overall. They are a very refined and natural sounding earphone, and paired with the right music are an absolute pleasure to listen to. They are not boosted in any frequency range, and lack a certain wow factor. They are also not the most engaging listen due to this, but calmer acoustic / blues / jazz and the likes just sounds effortless. However the lack of aggression in the sound signature does mean they can sound a little flat with more energetic genres (Metal etc…).

This kind of sound quality from something true wireless is very impressive, it does come at a cost though ($299) and lower battery life compared to the competition. Don’t let this put you off though, as these sound as good as many wired counterparts, and if you want a smooth and refined sound signature these definitely deliver it. Sound Perfection Rating: 8/10 (ergonomics could be better) Ichos Reviewer at hxosplus 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. 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.

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.

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 7.5x4.5x3cm 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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Lyssky

Zelda

Review – HIFIMAN TWS800

Website – HIFIMAN
Specifications

TWS800 product page

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Takeanidea

HiFiMan TWS 800 Truly Wireless Earbuds - has True Wireless come of age?
Pros: Sound - much improved from TWS 600
Fit - shape looks bulky and heavy - but, even with my flat feet, they stay in!
Looks - one word - bling
Convenience - yes, TWS are extremely portable
Cons: Bass light - needs foam tip, but none included
Controls - call me a technophobe, but am struggling with the presses on the shells

Introduction
HiFiman's TWS 800 have been sent to me as a review sample. I write this to you with my own opinion and nothing more. I have read no other articles on these as is my preference for all things I review. Other than researching the technical information and reading the instructions supplied I come to you with fresh ears, unspoilt by the opinions of others.

This is HiFiMan's 2nd TWS model. Their 1st, the TWS 600, is still on sale, and, if you're lucky, may be at a heavily discounted price from it's debut at $199. The TWS 600, and TWS 800, are based on the drivers in the RE600 and RE800 IEMs. There have been adjustments made to the tuning and (I believe) there may be a sprinkling of some magic dust on the TWS 800 at least. In the official wording this is known as a nano particle coating. TWS stands for truly wireless.No cables are evident, at all, in a TWS design. TWS earbuds have a charging case. The case for the TWS 800 will recharge the 6 times before the case needs recharging. The earbuds are charged by placing them into the left and right cradles. The retail price of the TWS 800 is$299. It is a bluetooth 5.0 model. The 1st HiFiMan TWS, the 600, it is fair to say, created some controversy. Although it looked snazzy in it's alien egg shaped charging case, and was easy to use, the sound signature was considered to be thin and harsh. EQing naturally hid some of the blemishes; these do have the foundations of a pretty decent driver, but for occasions when that wasn't possible, the people suffered. The shape of the TWS600 meant that I had to readjust them constantly when I took them out for a run. In the end I came up with a solution; I found some old hybrid foam tips and some silicon wings that fitted around the outside edge of the shells. I managed to draw out the good points of the sound signature and kept them in my ears. The sound became vivid even when out running. Bass was still fairly light but with effort, yep, I could hear something happening behind the scenes.

Myself and a few others complained bitterly about our experiences. HiFiMan listened, inwardly digested, furrowed their brows, and set to work in their R&D department. From the ashes of the TWS 600 came the TWS 800. So what, if anything, has changed? The 800 has an upgraded driver. It is based on the RE800 IEM.

The TWS 600 is based on the somewhat lesser, but still pretty competent RE600.

I'm hoping you get my drift here. We have the brain of a 599 IEM inside the 800, but the TWS 600 has a pairing that reflects its price much more accurately. Having found this information out, I hope I too, have whetted your appetite. There is surely more potential for excellence in the TWS 800 before they are plucked from the safety of the cardboard outer. The TWS 800 is not a plastic affair like the TWS 600. It's metal construction adds to the weight and prestige. HiFiMan state that the materials they've used will reduce distortion and raise the frequency response. The TWS 800 is an altogether more sizable affair than the 600. It has a larger bluetooth module and amp than its predecessor. The size has been cunningly disguised. The shape of the TWS 800 brings a modern look to the HiFiMan in ear range. The TWS 600 had an elegant oval shape. It was not a great fit for my ears. The shape doesn't conform to the contours of the outer ear and so it relied on the eartip having a decent relationship with the ear canal entrance to stay in place. Not so with the TWS 800. The shape of the 800 conforms closely to the concha, or middle part of the ear, the bit where you put the driver shells into. The tuning of the 800 truly wireless has been done more sympathetically. There is now a less analytical feel to the sound signature compared to the younger brother. Technically everything is better inside; so although we have here a more fun and less edgy sounding earbud, we still have some finesse as would be expected with a driver that can dig out more detail. Build quality,accessories & cosmetic appeal The TWS 800 construction has been well thought through. The TWS 600 needs the right earbud to be switched on after it comes out of the charging case in order for it to pair with the left. Otherwise you just get sound from the 1 earbud. With the 800, as soon as you take the buds from the case, they pair with each other and with your phone. so far, that is 100% take it to the bank reliable for me. The case has a deeper recess than the alien egg case (which I love the look of) that comes with the 600. The charging pins will align themselves more readily and reliably with the TWS 800, even with larger ear tips on. This is a picture showing the case and the buds in place and being charged. The blue status indicates the left bud is charged; the right bud is being temporarily recharged. In the centre and at the back of the case and harder to spot in the photo, are a series of orange dots. They indicate the charge left in the case. 4 dots is full and 1 dot is 25% charge left. As is usual with the minimalism of the TWS tech, there are no buttons to be seen anywhere on the TWS 800. The operation of them is via a series of taps. 1 tap, the most common thing you'll be using, is play\pause and answer\end any phone calls you recieve. The more intricate stuff; 2 on the left for lower volume 2 on the right for more, 3 on the left for last track 3 on the right for next track; suffice it to say, on the run I find it a struggle. On the TWS 600 I was able to do this whilst I was out running. Who knows? It's probably just me. The taps do work; all I'm saying is, more often than not, the 800 thinks I want to pause my music. As for the build quality, mine work fine, they're made with no issues that I can see. The bit that sits in the concha of the ear, the main bit, has the feel of a rubberised plastic with a bit of grip to it. I applaud that, because it's gonna keep these big things in and there's no metal to burn you when it's going in there on hot summer days, which will hopefully be back before we know it. The box opened. Leaving aside the inner white and outer black felt at the back of the picture, we have the case, the warranty card, a bag of tips, a USB C charging cable and an instruction leaflet. I have forgotten to include the black felt bag for the case in this picture. The case is very shiny, and will need the bag if you take it with you, because it will scratch easily. These are the tips supplied. The best fit I got was with the 4th set going from left to right, interestingly exactly the ones I use for the RE2000 Silver IEMs from HiFiMan. In use, if they were pushed too far into the ear canal I'd get a flex noise from them. They could be reinserted with less depth and would still stay in, much to my surprise. The tips supplied didn't give the impression of much bass at all. I had a rummage around and found that a set of Comply Foam Tips gave a decent amount of bass and were much more snug in my ear canal. The seal was such that outside noise was attenuated to near inaudible when on the streets. When using the treadmill I could enjoy classical music without being overly put off by either my flat feet or my breathing. With the tips supplied I found it hard to concentrate on quieter pieces of music. The look of the TWS 800 is all about bling. It is shiny. Oh yes. There are curves where flatness could have been used. The case is a shining example of that. The smooth flatness is there to accentuate the look of the earbuds and it also serves to hide some of the fatness of the driver housing underneath. I am a fan of the aesthetics. Many of the portable HiFiMan products are a bit dated in their looks, but the TWS 800 are more in tune with what's happening now. As a caveat this is shiny enough that it is prone to scratches, don't drop them! The TWS 600 has that advantage. Yes, they have a plastic construction, but the case and shells on them are scratch resistant. Sound quality The shortcomings of the sq on the TWS 600 have been largely taken care of, thanks to the better drivers, amp, bluetooth module and housing. The lack of harshness and overall poise in the sound signature of the TWS 800 made me realise just how serious HiFiMan are in this new market sector. I can state that there is a definite hifi quality to these. The codecs that the TWS sector can accommodate are still lossy, SRC and AAC rather than APTx and LDAC, but in practice I didn't feel like I was hearing much less. When there were occasions that I was just sat down quietly listening to the TWS 800 during the course of the past 3 weeks I felt they could hold their own with their wired cousins, or at least not be trailing a long way behind them. We are not talking like for like between these and a set of wired299 IEM's. If your interest is value for money above all else, then there are many more better sounding options out there. But take them out on a run, or take them to the gym, then you begin to realise what a necessary luxury the TWS really is.

The bass is lacking with the tips supplied. It is a shortcoming of the potential of the TWS 800, and I achieved a decent, tight bass response by adding some Comply Foams. With a reputation for a boosted bass signature and a dip in the upper frequency range. The mids and highs were none the worse off for this coupling but my ears were thankful for a touch of extra warmth.

Conclusion

The TWS 800 needed to be different from their earlier cousin, the TWS 600, to succeed. so have they managed it? To a great extent, they have. The things look better, sound better and operate with more efficiency and reliability. The case can get scratched more easily than plastic. The bass is too light without foamies and the tapping is difficult to get the hang of, when you're on a run at least. This is an altogether different kettle of fish from the 600. It sounds much smoother and classier, and can hold its own with wired models, not £ for £, but it sounds like something a headfier would be satisfied with, particularly on the move. Once you're out running on the open road the stakes are raised even higher; this is a decent sounding TWS that has eliminated any cable noise and has a great deal of isolation. It may even become an excuse to get out there for a walk, a run, a trip to the gym. If it does that, then your money has been well spent indeed.
fusionramjet
Great review! I found that I hear a good amount of bass using Spinfit’s double flange tips.