(Pocket-lint) - The in-ear active noise cancelling market has grown considerably in the last year, with headphone makers keen to offer the same noise cancelling features that listeners have enjoyed in over the ear headphones for a number of years.

Technics has entered the market with the EAH-AZ70W. But is the company's efforts to be applauded? We had a quick play with the new headphones at an invite-only demo at CES.

Design

  • Wire free design 
  • Touch sensitive controls 
  • aluminium-clad charging case

The new EAH-AZ70W, as standard within the sector, comes in a small carry case that also doubles as the charging case. With companies unable to settle on a defined form factor, Technics has opted for a "salmon nigiri" design which sees the headphones sitting side by side in the aluminium clad case. Charging is via USB-C.

That case is available in two colours - black or silver - and is on the large side compared to others in the market. It's just about pocketable, but would be more suited to being carried in a bag.

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The earphones themselves feature a cylindrical design which houses the driver, acoustic chamber, and antenna. Made from plastic the EAH-AZ70Ws sport a touch sensitive panel on the top. That panel offers basic controls like being able to call your digital assistant on your phone (in-built Alexa is coming later in the year) or playback functions, as well as, volume control.

They fit into your ear with a small twist at the end, kinda locking them in place with multiple silicon tips included in the box to ensure a good fit.

The overall size of the earphones is good, they are light, not too big as to look stupid in your ear, and comfortable to wear. Shaking our head didn't didn't dislodge them.

Technicals and performance

  • 10mm driver
  • 18 hours battery life
  • Bluetooth 5.1 and independently connected 

To ensure a strong and stable connection each earpiece features a Bluetooth 5.1 antenna allowing them to individually connect to your device rather than having to worry about lag in a daisy chain connection.

There are three microphones on each earpiece to allow you to not only use them for talking, but also to assist the active noise cancelling (ANC) functionality.

There are three settings to the ANC: on, off, and ambient.The Technics use beamforming to enhance voice pickup. In our quick listen the ANC capability is really good. When turned on we couldn't hear other people talking or general ambient noise. We're really looking to see how the ANC works in a variety of different environments. Technics also says that you'll be able to change the level of ANC within the app, but we were unable to test this or see this in action.

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Regardless of the whether you have ANC on or not, the delivered sound is equally impressive. The included 10mm driver delivers a well rounded experience.Although not finallised, Technics tells us they are still finessing the final sound performance, bass, mid-tones, and treble all sounded great on the tracks we listened to. We would like to listen for a lot longer to make a full judgement.

Battery life is a promised 6 hours with a further 12 hours of available charge in the charging case which does make it slightly less than Sony's equavilent Sony WF-1000XM3 headphones. 

And for those worried about losing the individual earpieces, the app comes with a location tracking feature allowing you to see where you last connected the headphones to your device.

First Impressions

Given the size of the earpieces the sound is mightily impressive with Technics delivering what you would expect from the company, but this time in a much smaller package.

We look forward to playing with the Technics EAH-AZ70W when we get a pair in the office for a longer test. For now though, this is certainly one to keep an eye on. 

Writing by Stuart Miles.