New Edifier ANC earbuds offer solid sound at a good value [Review] | Cult of Mac

New Edifier ANC earbuds offer solid sound at a good value [Review]

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Edifier's new W240TN wireless earbuds have a bit of an industrial look going.★★★
Edifier's new W240TN wireless earbuds have a bit of an industrial look to them.
Photo: David Snow/Cult of Mac

Noise-cancelling wireless earbuds that cost under $100 jostle in a competitive field. One company that consistently stands out from the crowd with high-quality goods that are a great value for what they cost is Edifier.

And the company, based in China, has done it again with the Edifier W240TN true wireless earbuds. They launch Thursday for a price of $79.99. Edifier sent me a pair to try out.

There really aren’t many reasons not to buy these if you want good earbuds for well under $100. But there are a couple of potential reasons, depending on your priorities.

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Edifier W240TN True Wireless Noise Cancellation In-Ear Headphones (earbuds)

The new W240TN wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation (ANC) sport a solid list of features to go along with their good audio quality. You can buy them starting Thursday.

They’re a good value at their price, though you can do better if you spend a bit more. You can probably find stronger noise cancellation and longer battery life elsewhere.

The new Edifier buds look kind of cool, with an industrial aesthetic. Each stemless in-ear bud’s body features a top that looks like a bolt you could turn with a wrench, with the Edifier logo on it. And each of those tops also serves as a touch-control button for various functions (see below).

The earbuds come with four sets of ear tips for an adjustable fit in your ear canal, plus a USB-C-to-USB-A cable for charging.

Solid sound for not much cash

This is the third Edifier earbuds set to go with dual drivers for sophisticated sound, after NeoBuds Pro and NeoBuds S.

The W240TN buds feature dual dynamic coaxial drivers, one 6mm and the other 10mm in size. Dual drivers help create broad sound stage with detailed, articulate audio at any volume.

As a point of comparison, NeoBuds S use a Knowles balanced-armature driver and a 10mm dynamic driver. They produce a more-refined sound than the W240TN earbuds. And they better. They cost more than twice as much, in part because they also pack a Qualcomm Snapdragon chip with high-res codecs.

The A40 buds use only the SBC codec found in most earbuds and headphones.

The Edifier Connect app gives you just a little bit of room to play around with the W240TN sound. “Sound Effect” presets are “Classic,” “Dynamic” and “Customized.” That third one is an EQ with four bars you set yourself.

To my ear, the buds sound best on the dynamic setting with ANC on. I found these buds sound a little fuller with ANC on and a little thinner set to ambient sound or with noise cancellation turned off. That’s a minor drawback.

The AI DNN Adaptive Call Noise Reduction technology Edifier employs with these buds blocks out unwanted noises to better isolate your voice. Calls sound good.

A fine fit

Featuring a smallish, lightweight body and ear tips — no stems — these are my kind of earbud, in terms of design. I’ve never been one for the kind meant to dangle kind of loosely from my ear.

I prefer the “earplug” type that go right into your ear canal, creating a snug fit as well as a seal that helps keep external noise out and music in.

With this set, Edifier provides four sizes of ear tip to help ensure you find a good fit (extra small, small, medium and large).

At no time while wearing the W240TNs, sitting or walking, did I feel they might fall out. No complaints.

Meh noise cancellation

I wasn’t thrilled with the noise cancellation, however. I recently tried a pair of $99 buds with stellar noise cancellation. With these, the ANC is considerably weaker, but it works.

The W240TN set uses hybrid ANC.  You can use the Edifier Connect app or the touch controls to turn ANC on, off or to Ambient Mode, which lets some sound through.

That’s a useful feature if you need to hear someone when they speak to you, or for safety’s sake if you’re out and about, crossing streets and such, and you want to hear the dump truck so you can get out of the way.

Bluetooth 5.3, Game mode, OK battery life

In addition to a robust wireless connection, the buds’ new Bluetooth 5.3 technology offers low latency. But you can notch it even lower using a dedicated Game mode, which is not a feature you see on every mid-range set of earbuds.

Battery life is adequate, not great. With ANC activated, the W240TN provides 7 hours of play time plus 14 hours with use of the wired charging case. With ANC off, those numbers are 8.5 hours and 17 hours. And 10 minutes of charging gives you 2 hours of play time, Edifier said.

Having recently tested headphones and the earbuds referred to above — both offering up to 50 hours of play time — Edifier’s numbers with the W240TN are merely decent.

Look at all those touch controls. Or you can use the app, at least for some functions.
Look at all those touch controls. Or you can use the app, at least for some functions.
Photo: Edifier

W240TN features:

  • Metallic-looking industrial design
  • Dual dynamic drivers (6mm and 10mm)
  • 25-hour playback (8.5-hour playback with ANC off; charging case adds 17 hours)
  • Hybrid ANC with ambient mode
  • Dedicated low-latency gaming mode
  • Bluetooth 5.3 wireless connectivity
  • AI DNN call noise-cancellation technology
  • IP55 certified (water resistant and sweat-proof)
  • Touch controls or adjust via Edifier Connect App

Edifier W240TN wireless earbuds are set to launch September 1 in black or white colors.

Where to buy: Edifier or Amazon

Edifier provided Cult of Mac with a review unit for this article. See our reviews policy, and check out more in-depth reviews of Apple-related items.

★★★