(Pocket-lint) - Master & Dynamic's MW07 was one of our favourite pairs of wire-free in-ears when launched in 2018. In fact, back then those buds were one of very few that offered truly exciting sound in such a form, plus the design that was about as far removed from Apple's AirPods as you could hope.
Now Master & Dynamic is back with a new and refined pair of buds, called the MW07 Plus. As you can tell from the name, you're getting a little extra here; a little plus. Not only has the new model addressed issues with battery life longevity, there's also added active noise-cancelling (ANC).
Just how much better is the MW07 Plus compared to the already impressive original?
If it ain't broke...
- Hand-shaped acetate design earbuds
- Three fit-wing and five eartip sizes
- Polished steel case included
It's safe to say that the first MW07 stood out from the crowd when launched. Nothing on the wire-free market looked even close to such untethered in-ears. The trendy New York company went for something unique, which we think paid off.
Its first designs featured acetate hand-finished in tortoiseshell and grey camo patterns, in a half circle/half square shape. This same approach is taken with the follow-up MW07 Plus.
While the colours and patterns are different, you still get that same glossy acetate material and shape, and we like it as much now as we did before. It's classy and - depending on which colour you go for - can either be subtle and understated, or eye-catching. It's about as far from an AirPod shape as you could hope, and that's essential for a company looking to stand out.
Each of the Plus' earbuds - just like the first generation - has a button on it.
The right earbud is where you'll find the single play/pause/skip button, which you press once to play or pause, then double- or triple-press to skip forwards or back. You can also press-and-hold it to launch your phone's assistant.
The left earbud's control is a volume rocker switch. This rocker switch is key to one of the earphones' biggest features: active noise-cancelling (ANC). By default, the fit and style of the earphones provides effective dampening, but for ANC activation you press-and-hold the volume down button, while for ambient listening mode - which lets some key frequency levels pass through so you can hear, say, conversation - you press-and-hold the opposite key.
To keep both buds securely in the ear, the MW07 Plus comes with a selection of fins and silicone sleeves, plus a few different size tips. We found the default set offered a secure fit in our ears, but you may require a different pairing.
One thing we will say, though, is that despite being snug fitting, the MW07 Plus isn't the most comfortable pair of in-ears we've tried. You can definitely tell these buds are in your ears, so after a couple of hours listening you might well fancy a break.
We wouldn't go as far as saying the wear is really uncomfortable nor painful, but it's a fit that you can certainly feel, and one that makes the ears a little fatigued and tender after prolonged periods. Still, if you've lost one too many AirPods or any other earbuds from having a fit that's not snug enough, the MW07 Plus definitely doesn't suffer that same problem. No amount of shaking - deliberate or otherwise - was strong enough to shake these buds free.
As for the charging case, that's about as epic as it was the first time. However impractical, the MW07 Plus' polished steel case looks fantastic. It is very prone to scratching though, which is why Master & Dynamic ships it with its own special cloth carrying pouch. It does make it less convenient to get your earphones out and ready for listening, so you do need to weigh up how important a scratch-free case is for you and whether actually convenience is a bigger deal.
Dynamic mastery of sound
- 10mm drivers
- aptX connectivity
As it turns out - and as we've found with previous M&D products - there's a reason why the name of the company has 'Dynamic' in it. It's because that's the exact word we'd use to describe how these earphones sound.
Impressively for a pair of in-ears, each MW07 Plus earbud features a 10mm driver, which is capable of producing expansive, impactful sound with lots of detail and character.
The high frequencies are very clear and stick out nicely. Often times this can mean that particular hard-hitting sounds like a loud smack of a cymbal or the hard consonants with a lot of emphasis in a vocal tracks can come off a tiny bit too harsh. But for the benefit of the sound balance overall, we think this sharpness is worth putting up with - that's often how audiophile headphones are tuned anyway.
The MW07 Plus enables you to hear all the subtleties and detail in any given track; whether that be in the primary instruments and drums, or in the less prominent instruments in the background.
Add to this the powerful but well-controlled bass, and you have a sound that's virtually impossible not to enjoy. The first MW07 was one of our favourite-sounding earphones, the MW07 Plus is no different. Indeed, it's better thanks to the additional features.
Not just a pretty face
- Active Noise-Cancelling (ANC) and Ambient listening modes
- 40 hours total battery life (including case life)
- 9 hours playback outside case
- USB-C charging, no wireless
"Plus" is for more battery, which certainly shows. While the original MW07 might struggle to get past three hours outside of the case, the Plus model is a massive improvement. Listening to a full hour of music drained just 10 per cent of the available battery in the earbuds.
Combined with the bigger battery in the charging case, you'll get almost 40 hours of music listening joy before needing to plug them into a charger in the wall. It's one of the best performers out there.
Wireless performance and connectivity is equally strong. We didn't once have an issue whereby the earphones would disconnect from the phone, or where each disconnected from the other. The MW07 Plus is just a long-lasting, reliable and consistent pair of earphones. Not just a pretty face.
Of course, the other big inclusion in the Plus model is the active noise-cancelling features. Looking at the product's dedicated page on Master & Dynamic's site, you won't easily find mention of it. Similarly, the instructions that come with the earphones don't really mention it either. But it is there.
By default, due to how snug the ear tips are, ANC really isn't all that necessary. The MW07 Plus does a great job of cutting ambient noise out on busy trains or in any environment with lots of hustle and bustle. With it switched on, there is a subtle difference, but not a brain-meltingly huge one.
The exterior mics that enable ANC do add one useful feature: ambient listening mode. With this switched on, you can hear more of what's going on around you and listen out for any announcements. It's useful for when you're listening out for your stop, or any platform/boarding gate announcements.
In practice, the ambient noise isn't clear and loud enough that you can listen carefully to the words being spoken in the announcement, but it does help you become more aware of your surroundings. You can hear when an announcement starts, pull out the right ear bud (which auto-pauses music thanks to a proximity sensor) and make sure you don't miss anything important.
With the MW07 Plus, Master & Dynamic has kept everything that made the original MW07 great and added much better battery life and active noise-cancelling to the formula. It's a winning combo. These earbuds are quite simply one of the best pairs of true wireless in-ears on the market.
If what you want from your earphones is the most enjoyable music listening experience, with dynamic sound, crisp detail and great bass, you won't find better than the MW07 Plus. The previous model suffered with poor battery, but that's no longer an issue here.
The only thing that's really left to fix is the fit: these in-ears may be snug and secure, but they're not as ergonomic and comfortable as some others.
We have a lot of love for the MW07 Plus, which we'd recommend to anyone looking for something a little different to the regular earphones on the market.
Apple AirPods Pro
If you're an iPhone user, there's no more convenient pair of earphones than AirPods. The first two generations sold by the bucket load, and the new Pro model adds ANC, better battery and a more comfortable fit.
Sony's wire-free in-ears are fantastic. The design may be a bit plain, and the charging case is huge, but the noise-cancelling works really well and the fit is comfortable.