W860NB Edifier Bluetooth ANC Headphones – Overview
Until now, there have been two types of Active Noise Cancelling headphones- cheap ones that sort of work, or premium quality ANC headphones that cost a small fortune. The Edifier W860NB’s land squarely in the premium bracket despite their affordable price.
Read our full review of the Edifier W860NB headphones to find out what sets these apart from all the other sub-$200 active noise-cancelling headphones.
Price and Availability
The Edifier W860NB Bluetooth headphones come inside a top-quality presentation box. It’s lined with closed-cell foam for protection and has that ‘fresh-tech’ scent which pleasantly wafts up as you lift the lid. In the box, you’ll find a user manual and hardshell travel case. It features an embossed Edifier logo on the top, a leather-tabbed double zip around the sides, and a webbing loop on the rear to secure it.
Inside the case, there’s a mesh pouch containing a micro USB charging cable, a gold -plated 3.5mm auxiliary cable and a flight adapter. The pouch features two compartments which are separated by velcro. This is a nice addition that allows you to tuck away the flight adapter and AUX cable in the lower compartment and not have to worry about them shaking loose when travelling.
Design and Build Quality – 8.5 out of 10
Anyone familiar with the Edifier W830BT Bluetooth headphones which I’ve previously reviewed will recognise just how similar these are in terms of design. That said, there are a few subtle improvements. Firstly, the left/right earcup identification on the W830BT’s was printed on the strap and was a little difficult to spot. In contrast, the Edifier W860NB’s have large letters displayed directly on the earcups, similar to how Bose identify the sides on their QuietComfort ANC headphones.
Secondly, the earcup housings have an improved surface finish. It’s like a gun-metal but with a very subtle blue tint. The ear cups are made from plastic, but the finish really does make them look like formed metal.
As with the W830BT’s, they swivel, pitch and fold for storage. The left side has a 3.5 AUX input and charging port. The charging port is protected underneath a well-fitting, yet easy to access cover. Unfortunately, it’s a regular micro-USB input, not a Type-C. That said, the charging cable is of a high-quality as is the gold-plated auxiliary cable.
Touch Controls – 9 out of 10
Despite the clean appearance of the right-side ear housing, the Edifier W860NB headphones feature touch-sensitive controls in this area. Swiping left or right changes tracks and a swipe up or down adjusts the volume.
Double tapping will pause or play the track, as well as answer or end a call. It’s also possible to reject an incoming call with the touch controls by holding a finger down on the surface.
Accessing Google assistant or Siri can be achieved by double-tapping the power button on the base, just below the ANC toggle switch.
From experience, touch-sensitive controls are typically unreliable and I often prefer to avoid headphones with this feature. I had expected these to fit that mould, but I was wrong, they function really well. A swipe in a general up direction will begin to increase the volume and it will continue to get louder until you release your finger. I have to say, I think I actually prefer it to the button adjustment found on the W830BT Edifier headphones.
Comfort and Fit – 10 out of 10
I’ve spent over 50 hours wearing the Edifier W860NB’s during my testing phase and probably 10 times longer using the W830BT’s over the last year. I can comfortably wear these headphones all day long without any fatigue.
The padding on the earcups is amazingly soft and they fit perfectly over the ears. Likewise, the strap has the perfect amount of padding around the head and just the right level of tension to hold it securely in place.
Durability – 10 out of 10
Guys, call me a wimp, but there is no way I can compete with Calvin Pixels bravery when it comes to strength testing the Edifier W860NB headphones. Check this out:
If you had any concerns about the durability of these headphones, that video should definitely put your mind at rest! – I tip my hat to you, Sir!
Active Noise Cancelling – 7.5 out of 10
Unlike some premium active noise-cancelling headphones, the Edifier W860NB’s have an independent power control for the ANC. This means you can make use of it without pairing to a phone. – Super useful if you just want to enjoy some quiet time.
Toggling the ANC on and off makes no difference to the balance of sound and there is no annoying hiss as often found on budget ANC headphones. I’ve tested plenty of affordable active noise-cancelling headphones over the years and these offer a vast improvement over them all.
I was sitting at my PC when I first turned the active noise cancelling on and was blown away at how well it did against the noisy fans on my computer tower. Nothing short of complete silence. The Edifier W860NB’s do an amazing job with low-frequency noise reduction from the likes of fans or the rumble of an engine, making them ideal for travel.
When it comes to the higher frequencies of background noises, such as people talking, a TV, or music, they are not quite as effective when compared to the top-end ANC headphones like the Bose QuietComfort 35’s or the Sony WH-1000XM3’s. This, in my opinion, is to be expected considering they’re both almost three times the cost.
Sound Quality and Performance – 8.5 out of 10
Much like the Edifier W830BT’s, these headphones punch way above their weight when it comes to the audio quality. I’ve been a huge fan of their predecessors, which I still think are the best sounding Bluetooth headphones for under $100. The W860NB’s have a very similar sound signature and with the addition of the ANC, there seems to be slightly more separation and a cleaner overall sound.
Overall Verdict – 9 out of 10
For the price, these headphones are truly awesome. They come well presented with a solid case and accessories. They’re well designed, highly durable, offer a premium sound quality, amazing comfort, and a decent level of active noise cancellation. I really couldn’t ask for more. – Well, maybe a Type-C charging port, but that’s it I swear!
If you’re looking for high quality yet affordable active noise cancelling Bluetooth headphones, these are perfect. If however, you’re not overly bothered about the ANC feature and want a set of Bluetooth headphones with great sound quality and absolutely insane battery life, then grab a set of the W830BT’s instead.
Price and Availability
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