We've been waiting a long time for a quality pair of in-earphones that are totally wire free. Now they're here in the Onkyo W800BT earbuds.
Whilst many a manufacturer will claim to offer wireless earphones, because they use Bluetooth, each ear is usually connected via a wire. The Onkyo W800BT is different as it comprises two separate earbuds that use separate drivers and batteries – meaning no cables at all.
Kickstarter saw a pair similar in The Dash but these still haven't been developed.
We wanted to see just how impressive these super compact Onkyo earphones are so we went ears-on at IFA 2015.
The problem with having two separate earbuds is there's more to lose. But for that reason, and cramming in lots of tech, The W800BTs are large enough to not get lost too easily. They also offer enough to be held comfortably without worry of them slipping out or having trouble putting them in.
The black or silver metallic finishes look premium while the ridged edging offers grip for easy removal. There is also a light that can alert the user, ideal when plugged in for a charge and for acquiring Bluetooth connection.
Comfort and fit
The earbuds feature wing tips that push up into the ear offering hold. Since they're also light there is very little movement when placed correctly into the ear.
We didn't get a chance to go running with them but some vigorous movement on the spot left them in place throughout.
Connectivity and sound quality
The W800BT, as the name suggests, use Bluetooth to connect to any smart device. So using them at home with a computer or out and about with a smartphone is possible. One becomes the master with the other as the slave as they connect to each other and then the supplying device.
Over Bluetooth 4.1 the sound quality is high. The range is decent and bass levels are plentiful. Of course an over-ear set of headphones would offer more quality but then they wouldn't be so discreet.
Battery life and charging
According to Onkyo the earbuds will last up to 12 hours for music, 15 hours for talktime and 30 hours standby. How those numbers hold up in the real world couldn't be tested here but since a lot of wireless earbuds only offer 4 hours this is already impressive.
The supplied case also doubles as a charger. The earbuds have a hold into which a connector slot when they're placed in the case. The case USB cable can then be unraveled and plugged in to charge the earbuds. This is a useful extra but we're surprised it didn't have a battery built-in to extend earphone life further on the go.
The Onkyo W800BT earbuds are gorgeous as well as compact. Everything we hoped for in truly wireless earbuds.
The worry comes with losing the two separate buds. Thanks to the carry case, with built-in charger cable, this shouldn't be much of an issue. Of course waiting for them to recharge in a case could be inconvenient. But at this size what do you expect?
At around £220 the sound quality is good enough to keep us happy if it means never having to untangle our earphones ever again.