So overall, I really, really enjoyed my time with the Technics EZ80s and the Air Z60 Mark IIs. If you appreciate fine audio detail, you'll probably want to upgrade to the Air Z80s. Otherwise, the Z60s will suffice. They have pretty much the same feature set. However, if noise cancellation is your priority, you might want to consider options like the Sony's or the Bose instead.
Active Noise Canceling8.5
So, Technics has just launched two new pairs of true wireless earbuds, very casually titled Is EAH AZ80 and Air Z60 M2. Now, I’ve been testing these for a couple of weeks ahead of the official launch. I don’t have the full UK pricing just yet, but these are premium earbuds through and through, going head-to-head with the likes of Sony’s and Bose’s. So, here’s my full Technics earbuds review
So, both the EZ80s and the Air Z60 Mark II’s sport a very similar bullet-style design, without the drippy stem weirdness. The first thing you’ll notice about them is that they are rather chunky, standing out from your typical earbuds. Especially the EZ80s, which are a little larger to accommodate the bigger drivers inside. They are slightly heavier than your average true wireless earbud, but only by a few grams, nothing too cumbersome. I found them quite comfortable to wear, even for extended periods, especially since you have a choice of seven different sizes of silicone ear tips bundled in both of the boxes. This is the same as the previous generation, so if you struggle to find true wireless earbuds that fit your ear shape properly, you’re pretty much sorted with these. And just to prove that the fit is particularly good, let’s do our mosh test. These earbuds are certainly rugged, as both of them have survived being dropped on concrete, as is expected from true wireless earbuds. There’s not a scratch or nick on either of them, and they’re still working perfectly fine. They are also IPX4 splash-resistant, which is great news if you like to go outside occasionally here in the UK. Additionally, they both come in a small selection of colors to suit your personal preferences.
Technics Audio Connect App
The app you’ll be using with these earbuds is the Technics Audio Connect app, and as you can see, if you’re a big Technics fan, it’s pretty plush. This app allows you to keep track of several pairs of Technics earbuds. Usually, I have no problem getting connected to my earbuds as soon as I take them out of the case and put them in my ears.
The app will pick up on them. I mean, sure, a couple of times my earbuds have been connected to my smartphone, but when I’ve opened the app, it’s been like, ‘What? Where are these earbuds?’ It’s like, ‘Hey, guys, where are my sunglasses? Has anyone seen my sunglasses?’ Usually, it’s just a very short brain fart that lasts a few seconds, and then they realize what’s going on. This is a beta version of the final app that will support these earbuds, so hopefully, it’s just a little bug that will be ironed out before the general release.
As for the Technics Audio Connect app itself, the layout may not be the nicest in the world, but it is feature-packed, and I rather like it. The main page is fantastic, giving you fast access to all the information and features that you’ll use regularly. You can quickly check how much battery power is remaining in the earbuds and the case. You can tweak the noise canceling on the fly, which you can also do via the earbuds. You can change the exact level of noise canceling you have going on or toggle ANC completely off. You can also jump into Ambient Sound, where you can hear what’s going on around you. This is quite handy if some inconsiderate person wants to interrupt your music listening session to have a conversation or something. You can also choose from a small number of audio presets, including Direct (the default), Bass Plus, Super Bass Plus (for bass fans), Travel Plus, Dynamic (my favorite), and Custom mode, which is basically an equalizer. With wireless earbuds these days, you can actually test your hearing and create an audio output based on your personalized sound profile. Unfortunately, you don’t get anything like that in the Technics Audio Connect app. However, it does have a Find Headphones feature, which is pretty common these days, and an Adjust My Voice test, which I’ll be showing off later. Lastly, if we dive into the settings, there are tons of other features packed away in there. Unfortunately, they aren’t presented very nicely, just a whole bunch of text without any visuals. It’s pretty dense overall.
For instance, you’ll definitely want to jump into Connected Mode if your smartphone supports LDAC because this option is actually disabled by default. That will allow you to take full advantage of the best possible audio quality. Both the Technics EZ80s and the Air Z60 Mark II support multipoint, so you can connect to up to three different devices at once. Although if you are using LDAC for your streaming, then it maxes out at two devices; you can’t use three. To be fair, personally, I find two devices plenty. That means I can connect to my smartphone and my laptop. Job done.
Technics Touch Controls
Another significant feature within the Technics app is the ability to customize the touch controls. As you can see, you can individually set up what a single, double, triple tap, and touch-and-hold of each individual bud does. Here is my own personal preferred setup: a double tap of the left bud skips back a track, and the right bud skips forward a track. However, there are different options available, and I always appreciate having a choice of volume up and volume down with the touch controls.
As for the touch-and-hold function, you can either activate the voice assistant or switch to ambient mode. Speaking of the voice assistant, Technics has Alexa built-in, or you can simply use your smartphone’s voice assistant as an alternative. I found that I got along really well with the touch controls on both the Technics EZ80s and the Air Z60 Mark II’s. Even with the double taps and triple taps, I had absolutely no issues and managed to nail it almost every single time. You also get sound feedback when you tap, and yes, there’s wear detection too, so when you remove a bud, your music will be paused. This is handy if someone starts talking to you for whatever reason.
Active Noise Canceling
Now, when it comes to the active noise cancellation (ANC), you can actually adjust this using a handy little slider in the app. So, I went to a really noisy place and played around with it until I found the best possible noise cancellation effect. I thought the ANC was pretty decent on both the Is Edits and the Air Z60 Mark II. I didn’t notice any discernible difference between them when I was walking down a busy high street with lots of people chatting and traffic passing by. It helped to dampen down all that noise so I could enjoy a podcast or an audiobook without having to crank up the volume. However, it’s not quite as good as the Sony’s and the Bose’s of this world when it comes to creating your own little peaceful bubble or drowning out all the surrounding noise.
Certainly, if you’re on the likes of the Northern Line, for instance, where the London Tube can get quite screechy, the ANC won’t do much to help you hear what’s happening. However, I do enjoy how the Technics ambient mode offers two different options: transparent or attention. Attention mode is particularly useful if you’re listening out for an announcement on a train, as it emphasizes vocals.
Now, one of the reasons why these Technic earbuds, particularly the NZ80s, are so huge is because they have an Ambience Control Chamber built-in, which apparently optimizes airflow. Additionally, the Air Z80 has 10mm drivers, while the Air Z60 Mark 2s have slightly reduced 8mm drivers. This is the main difference between these two pairs of Technics true wireless earbuds. Besides that, they offer basically the same audio support, including sport for LDAC and high-resolution audio.
I wouldn’t necessarily classify myself as an audiophile, but I do appreciate crisp detail in my tracks. I like being able to hear each individual instrument and the different elements that a musician has incorporated. In this regard, I found that the EZ80s provide a bit more full-bodied audio compared to the Air Z60s. If you’re a fan of deep bass, you’ll probably love the new Super Bass Plus setting, as it emphasizes the lower end of the range. Personally, I prefer the Dynamic setting because I found that it offered decent bass without sacrificing the emphasis on the mids and highs. Overall, I found it very enjoyable for rock music, metal music, and even ambient tracks. In comparison, the Air Z60s’ audio sounded a bit flat in comparison.
Now, one of the best features of these Technics earbuds is the fact that they do an excellent job of clearly picking up your voice while effectively drowning out all the surrounding noise, making them great for voice calls when you’re on the move. This is thanks to the four microphones on each bud and a clever noise-canceling algorithm. Of course, I’m currently recording this sample in my quiet studio, so it’s not much of a test. However, I have a speaker right next to my face playing various city sounds, including honking horns and angry drivers. Despite the ridiculous noise, as you can hear, the Technics earbuds are very clearly picking up on my voice without any noticeable distortion. It’s truly impressive.
And lastly, let’s talk about the battery life. Again, there’s no real difference between the EZ80s and the Air Z60 Mark IIs in this aspect. You can expect a playback time of approximately five and a half to seven hours from a full charge, depending on the codec you’re using. If you have LDAC and other features enabled, it’ll be closer to five or five and a half hours. If you’re using SBC or AAC, it’ll be closer to the seven-hour range.
Overall, it’s not bad at all. While it may not be the best battery life out there, it’s certainly sufficient for most journeys. However, for long-haul international flights, they may not quite last. But then again, very few buds can manage that.
When it comes to recharging, these earbuds, including the EZ80s, aren’t the fastest, but you can expect around two and a half full charges when you place them in the case. The app allows you to check the battery life of the case, and there’s a convenient LED indicator that gives you a rough idea of the remaining charge. It displays a big red glow when the battery is running low and needs to be recharged.
You have the choice of either using a Type-C USB cable or Qi wireless charging for recharging. As for the cases, there’s no real difference between them. I particularly like the slightly more premium vibe of the EZ80s case, with its brushed metal-like finish, even though both cases are constructed from plastic. They still look sleek. Though the EZ80s case is slightly chunkier, both cases have a nice rounded shape and slip easily into a pocket or bag.
So overall, I really, really enjoyed my time with the Technics EZ80s and the Air Z60 Mark IIs. If you appreciate fine audio detail, you’ll probably want to upgrade to the Air Z80s. Otherwise, the Z60s will suffice. They have pretty much the same feature set. However, if noise cancellation is your priority, you might want to consider options like the Sony’s or the Bose instead.
Also, keep in mind that there are truly wireless earbuds out there that only cost around £100 here in the UK, such as the Sound Cores. They offer solid audio output and a similar set of features.