AIWA, the brand that was once owned by Sony, recently returned to India after 18 long years. During the 90s, it used to be one of the strongest players in the audio segment – especially with its Hi-Fi music systems. The brand has now returned to India with a $1 billion roadmap for the next five years. In their new return strategy, the brand announced new audio products back in April this year and the AIWA AT-X80FANC TWS earbuds were the most premium among these. Funny thing is, the naming convention matches the convoluted product names in Sony’s repertoire.
Anyway, the AIWA AT-X80FANC TWS earbuds were launched for Rs 7,999 that features Active Noise Cancellation (ANC). At the time of writing this article, a pair of these buds is selling for Rs 4,455 on Amazon India. That said, the question now arises: is the AIWA AT-X80FANC good enough to recreate the same AIWA success in 2021 in India? Let’s find out:
Design, Fit and Comfort
The AIWA AT-X80FANC’s case and earpiece design is very similar to the AirPods Pro. The case has a matte Black finish that attracts fingerprint smudges very easily and that’s why we would recommend you to pick the White case instead. That said, the case is lightweight that can be carried easily and the build quality is robust too. On the front of the case, you get to see AIWA’s logo with a big F and a small LED indicator above it. On the bottom of it, there is a Type-C port to charge the case. It was easy to open the case lid with my thumb in one swift motion.
You get to see a glossy finish inside the case that adds a more premium feel to the case design. I really like how the earbuds go inside the case due to magnetic pull. Similarly, you have to pull with some force to take out the earpieces of the case.
Coming to earpieces, they have a stem-like design that are similar to the AirPods Pro, as mentioned earlier. They have a glossy finish and are oval-shaped on the head. The earpieces are very comfortable and fit well, even though I used them for more than three hours and didn’t have any issues, thanks to the silicone ear tips. I found the middle-sized ear tips a perfect fit for mebut you can change with the other two sizes you get in the box. I expect this to be a perfect fit for almost everyone.
The back of ear tips has a touch-enabled zone which is set by default and can’t be customised. The touch controls are very responsive but sensitive too. As the music can be paused by a single tap, it sometimes ended up pausing the music even when adjusting the ear tips in my ear. You don’t get any in-ear wear detection or any IP rating which is a big letdown in this range. To sum it up, the AIWA AT-X80FANC TWS buds are very comfortable and lightweight and can be worn for a long time.
AIWA AT-X80FANC Battery Life and Connectivity
AIWA claims that their AT-X80FANC TWS buds can last up to four hours on a single charge and 12 hours with the charging case. I found that claim to be true. During my usage, I used these earbuds at 80% volume with intermittent use of ANC and got a playback time of 3 hours and 50 minutes. The earbuds can be charged twice with the charging case that provides you a total of 12 hours of playback as claimed by the brand. The case gets fully charged in an hour through the Type-C cable provided in the box.
Other earbuds in this segment like the Realme Buds Air Pro (review) can provide upto 25 hours of total playback time. That said, I would say the battery life on the AT-X80FANC is decent.
The AT-X80FANC TWS earbuds come with Bluetooth 5.0 support that provides a solid connection range of up to 10 meters. The pairing process of these earbuds is fast and easy. They turn on as soon as they are taken out of the box and connect to the previously connected device. Sometimes though, I did notice that the earbuds were connected to Bluetooth and playing songs even inside the case.
Sound, ANC and Mic Quality
The AIWA AT-X80FANC has 10mm audio drivers that provide decent sound quality. These earbuds focus more on the lows and provide a punchy bass. If you are a bass lover, you will like it but if you are someone who loves the details of the track, you are going to be disappointed. That said, the sound quality is not too bad, especially for the asking price.
The sound of instruments tend to dominate the mix, drowning out the vocals. Sadly, there is no app support to customise the sound profile of these earbuds which is now very common in this segment.
ANC is one of the highlighted features of these earbuds, which I found to be of average quality. You need to tap and hold the right earbud for four seconds to turn on the ANC. The ANC performance is decent and struggles to eliminate the noise from the background. It struggled to remove the fan noise or the TV sound, I was able to hear everything. It reduces some background sound but I believe that is because of its in-ear design and not because the ANC’s technical prowess. I opted to not use the ANC to save battery life.
I had a great time using these earbuds for my calls. However, sometimes, the other caller had to struggle to understand my words.
Should You Buy the AIWA AT-X80FANC Earbuds?
Keeping in mind that the AIWA AT-X80FANC is now selling for under Rs 5,000 on Amazon, it’s hard to recommend these earbuds. It lacks many mainstream features which are pretty common in its segment such as app support, IP rating and in-ear detection. Neither does it offer support for aptX or LDAC codecs. The battery life is average and the sound signature is bass heavy and not really a plus point either.
Active Noise Cancellation, which was one of the most highlighted features of these earbuds, is not too impressive either. The only thing I love about these earbuds is that they are very comfortable and can be worn all day. AIWA needs to work on its new line of products to compete with its competitors.
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