The MW08 nevertheless has Active Noise Cancellation, six microphones, better than average IPX5 splash-proof rating and 11mm Beryllium Drivers, while the Bluetooth connection (5.2) offers sustain for AAC, AptX, and SBC Bluetooth codecs. Battery life is a substantial 12 hours (10 with ANC) with a further 30 hours obtainable from the case, and they’ll top up 50 per cent in 15 minutes, and be complete in 45 minutes.
Connecting them is seamless, and with four different ear tips, finding a comfy fit is easy. Despite being quite large the fit is obtain, but how much you look like Shrek will depend on the shape of your ears.
The M&D Connect app gives you control over ANC, with two levels of noise-cancelling and two ambient modes letting in various degrees of outside noise in. You can also adjust the auto-off timer to save battery life. It’s not the most characterize-high app and lacks any EQ tweaking options, but we’ll take minimal interference over smartphone faffing any day.
The Active Noise Cancellation isn’t as deafening as with the Bose QuietComfort but holds its own. But we take issue with the fact that, when you turn on Max ANC mode, the bass frequencies are pushed to ridiculous levels. There’s no distortion and the bass is substantial and forceful, but it feels like the tech equivalent of turning the quantity up to drown out the neighbours. All Day ANC mode is a more balanced proposition, but lacks some of the enthusiasm of the Max ANC, with the bass buried almost unnecessarily.
We hate that reducing background noise should have such an impact on audio. Next time we fly, we’ll see just how much of a difference the Max ANC makes, but for now, if you want to get the best sound quality from these earbuds you should turn off the ANC.
And once you do, they deliver premium sound to match the wonderful build quality, with warmth, excursion and enthusiasm a-plenty, and a gorgeous low-end that never fails to get our head nodding. There’s bags of detail to be enjoyed too, and while they’re not quite as controlled as the Grado, they keep an impressive all-round package.
Pros: Premium build; great sound (without ANC); good battery life; loud
Cons: ANC impacts on sound quality; might be too bassy for some; metal battery case is (comparatively) hefty
Price: £280 | Check price on Master & Dynamic
Our pick for the most comfortable wireless earbuds
Weight: 5g each | Battery life: 6 hours (+30 hours with case) | Bluetooth: aptX 5.0 | Waterproof: IPX4 | Noise-cancelling: No | Mics: Two
For a company with its cachet and reputation, Grado certainly took its sweet time to deliver a pair of true wireless in-ear headphones. Fairly predictably, the Grado GT220 (£199) earbuds go without some of the niceties other premium-priced true wireless in-ears have established as the norm in the time that Grado’s been twiddling its thumbs – there’s no active noise-cancelling here, for example, and no fancy-pants control app to allow you to fiddle with EQs or anything like that. But also fairly predictably, the sound of the GT220 is getting on for captivating.
Because they’re small and light, once the Grados are in position, they’re comfortable and unobtrusive – and they’ll stay that way for hours on end. That’s just in addition, really, because the Grados have pretty impressive battery life. They waste no time in confirming the Grado reputation for big, detailed, up-front and endlessly listenable sound.
It turns out there’s no need for any EQ adjustment on the user’s part – Grado has voiced the GT220 impeccably. So they dig thorough and hit hard, but control bass sounds well. They unearth a tremendous amount of midrange detail, so you’re never in any doubt as to a singer’s state of mind. And they have enough speed and substance at the top end to keep things moving along at a clip.
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