I previously reviewed the Panasonic RZ-S500W earbuds, and I was pretty impressed with them. Panasonic though has another audio brand that might not be as well-known as the parent company, and that’s Technics. Technics is more well-known for their turntables and amplifiers, but at CES 2020, they showcased their true wireless earbuds, the AZ70, and that’s what we’re going to take a look at today.
The AZ70 has a pretty similar design aesthetic to the RZ-S500W earbuds, with the same shape for the shells and even the same charging pin design. You do get a brushed metal faceplate though, that’s relatively big and works pretty well for touch controls. The earbuds are light and sit snugly in the ear, although you do have to pay attention to twist them in firmly at the start, otherwise, they start getting loose after you walk around a bit.
As for water resistance, you do get IPX4, which honestly, should be the bare minimum for earbuds in this day and age. Nobody wants to worry about sweat or a bit of rain messing up their expensive earbuds.
Now for those of you who use voice assistants, Amazon Alexa is integrated with these. But you can also tap and hold on the left earbud to pull up your phone’s voice assistant, and I found it worked just fine with Google Assistant as well. There’s also a volume control on the left earbud, with raising the volume being three quick taps and lowering the volume being two quick taps.
Just a quick hint for you guys, a lot of earbuds with onboard volume controls have this issue where you might find the music is too soft even after raising the volume on your phone. You’ll have to raise the volume via the onboard controls instead. I recommend using the onboard controls to raise the volume to maximum, then you can adjust your phone’s volume after.
You get six hours of playback on the earbuds, with an additional two charges in the case for a total of eighteen hours. It’s not the worst, but it’s not the best either.
Personally, the case is pretty bulky for just eighteen hours of playback, but if you turn off the ANC, you’ll probably manage to squeeze out a bit more time.
Speaking of ANC, I was blown away by the Panasonic RZ-S500W’s performance, so I came into this with extremely high expectations. After testing, I personally feel that the ANC performance is pretty much equal between the two earbuds.
Low constant droning noises like air-conditioners and engines are effectively reduced, but higher-pitched sounds still creep in from time to time. All in all though, two thumbs up.
And of course, you get the same 50 levels of ANC that the Panasonic earbuds had, although like before, there’s no way of knowing if there’s actually 50 levels since it’s on a slider. There’s also Ambient Sound mode for when you need to hear what’s going on around you, and that’s customizable in the app too.
Now, these earbuds use 10mm dynamic drivers, and you get a pretty well-rounded sound that works well with a variety of genres. There’s plenty of punch in the bass, but the vocals and highs are still clear with solid mids. I particularly enjoyed the soundstage and how wide and open it was. Instrument imaging was good too, with more subtle details not being hidden even at lower volumes.
If you don’t like the sound of the earbuds out of the box though, there are three options in the Sound Enhancement tab on the app, Bass Enhancer, Clear Voice and a custom EQ for you to tinker with. Personally, I was happy enough with the earbuds that I didn’t feel the need to change anything. I actually preferred the sound of these earbuds over the Panasonic RZ-S500W because these are a bit more detailed, especially in the highs.
The earbuds also support SBC and AAC, which is in line with the RZ-S500W. I would have liked to see aptx support here, but it is what it is. Connection is rock solid, with the signal going to the left and right earbuds individually instead of using a master-slave configuration.
Now as for price, these are a bit more expensive than the RZ-S500W, at S$399, but you’re getting a sleeker aesthetic and slightly better sound. If you’re really looking for accuracy, you might have to fork out even more for something like Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless 2, but then you’ll be missing out on the excellent ANC that these offer.
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