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Technics EAH-AZ80 review: Technically brilliant

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £259
inc. VAT

The latest flagship earbuds from Technics have heaps going for them including industry-first multipoint pairing with three devices


  • Robust, balanced sound
  • Excellent noise-cancelling microphone
  • Effective, customisable ANC and EQ controls


  • Fit could be awkward
  • Not the final word in ANC performance

The Technics EAH-AZ80 are the Panasonic brand’s flagship true wireless earbuds for 2023 and its best buds yet by some margin.

With detailed, well-balanced sound, great connectivity and a comprehensive feature set, they’re equipped with just about everything they need to compete with class-leading options like the Sony WF-1000XM4 and Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II.

Technics EAH-AZ80 review: What do you get for the money?

Released alongside the second-generation Technics EAH-AZ60 (£199), the Technics EAH-AZ80 retail for £259, a price that positions them at the upper end of the noise-cancelling earbuds market.

Technics says the buds are designed to conform to the shape of the human concha and each weighs 7g. The touch-sensitive housings are slightly bulbous but both the black and silver colourways are sleek-looking propositions overall.

Housed within their IPX4-rated frame, which is made from 45% post-consumer recycled plastic, are 10mm drivers that deliver SBC, AAC and LDAC audio over Bluetooth 5.3. Notably, there is Bluetooth multipoint support for up to three devices, which is something we’ve not seen on a pair of wireless earbuds before, with most supporting simultaneous pairing with just two audio sources.

There are plenty of eartip options included with your purchase, too; a whopping seven silicone tip sizes (from extra small to extra large) to achieve optimal sound isolation.

There are four microphones per earbud: a feedforward mic and a feedback mic for noise-cancelling, a talk mic for communication and a voice detection mic to analyse background noise and isolate your voice during calls.

READ NEXT: What is ANC? Active Noise Cancellation explained

When not in your ears, the earbuds sit within a perfectly pocketable charging case that weighs around 50g and measures 69 x 36 x 29 mm (WDH). A USB-C charging cable is included in the box, though the case can also be topped up via a Qi wireless charging pad.

Placing the buds in their case for 15 minutes will bag you 70 minutes of AAC listening time with noise cancellation on, while a two-hour charge will provide seven hours of juice with noise cancelling on, or seven and a half hours with it off. Streaming over LDAC reduces that lifespan to four and a half hours (ANC on) and five hours (ANC off).

The case itself takes two and a half hours to charge and, together with the earbuds, will net you 24 hours of ANC-powered listening, which matches up with similarly priced flagships like the Sony WF-1000XM4.

Technics EAH-AZ80 review: What do we like about them?

One of the most impressive things about the Technics AZ80 is their microphone performance in noisy environments. Standing beside a busy road, voice recordings were very clear and, beyond some sporadic bird song, my speech was unimpeded.

I sounded a little tinny on calls, but the AZ80 excelled at isolating my voice and dampening the impact of my surroundings. My voice even remained clear in recordings made while it was blowing a gale outside; the mics do an excellent job cancelling out distracting sounds in your environment.

The AZ80 implement noise cancellation when you’re listening to audio effectively too, but you need to be quite careful with how you position them in your ears. I found I had to push them in a tad deeper than I would with most buds, but once wedged in, they did an impressive job attenuating external sound.

It’s worth noting that there are a couple of in-app changes you’ll want to make to improve ANC performance. Firstly, you can make a “pre-adjustment” to the active noise cancellation using a slider. You’re presented with 17 different levels and simply need to select the level that cancels the most noise. Once that’s set you can also move the degree of noise cancellation on a separate dial between levels 1 and 100, though following pre-adjustment the dial will be set to 100 by default.

Noise-cancelling successfully isolated me from office chatter, so much so that I couldn’t make out conversations two metres in front of me with music at a little over 5% volume. I had to push the volume up a lot higher on the noisy London Underground, but was able to hear my music comfortably at around 60% volume. Though not as effective as best-in-class noise cancellers the Bose QuietComfort II, the AZ80 put in an impressive enough shift in most situations.

The AZ80’s implementation of Bluetooth multipoint is another of their big strengths. The aforementioned support for pairing with three devices at once is great news for those that use tablets, PCs/laptops, smartphones and other Bluetooth devices concurrently and works brilliantly.

Once paired using Google Fast pair on Android, switching between any combination of three from a MacBook, Windows PC, iPhone, Android smartphone or Android tablet was near-seamless. When playing a video on a laptop, music instantly paused on my smartphone to let the video’s audio play out. On occasion, the earbuds struggled to switch audio sources in the other direction (from computer/laptop to smartphone) as quickly – taking a few seconds to register the smartphone was playing – but on the whole, they provided an exceptional multipoint experience. There is one caveat, however: you won’t be able to use LDAC when connected to three devices simultaneously.

More excellent functionality is found with responsive touch controls that offer access to a well-rounded suite of commands, even if their default layout is a little unintuitive. A single tap on either earbud will play/pause audio or answer a call, which is pretty standard, but a double tap will on the left bud turns volume down while the same action on the right skips to the next track. A triple tap of the left earbud increases volume, while a triple tap of the right goes to the previous song.

It would make more sense to have controls mirrored on the left and right buds, but this isn’t a huge deal as you can fully customise the touch controls using the Technics Audio Connect app. Single, double and triple tap controls can be swapped at will and you can add engaging noise cancelling and ambient sound to the selection of commands, too.

When it comes to that all-important audio quality, Technics has produced something in the elite bracket with the AZ80. The default sound signature is pleasingly neutral and demonstrates excellent tonal balance across its frequency spectrum.

Not only are they well-measured, but they’re highly customisable, too. There might only be five bands on the in-app graphic equaliser but the changes you make are some of the most pronounced I’ve tested, while the presets are similarly distinctive.

I initially found the vocals on busy indie track ‘Simulation Swarm’ by Big Thief a little domineering but dropped down mid-range frequencies a notch and the various instruments were given considerably more room to breathe.

Low frequencies are punchy and affecting by default but using the Bass or Super Bass+ presets adds extra physical bite to warbling 808s on Zora Jones and Golin’s electronic bass track ‘Miau’, even if I’ve found greater low-end extension with other earbuds.

EQ presets like this are frequently stated on companion apps without any information about what impact they’re intended to have versus changes you might make on a graphic equaliser. It’s welcome then that presets are visualised in the same manner as the banded graphic equaliser in the Technics app, allowing you to see exactly how the default EQ is being tweaked.

There are plenty of other helpful in-app features too, most notably an auto power-off functionality where you can choose to have the buds turn off after 5, 10, 30 or 60 minutes of inactivity. As someone who frequently forgets to place earbuds back in their case upon arrival at home, this is a godsend.

Elsewhere, you’ll find options to prioritize sound quality or prioritize connectivity, as well as enable LDAC for compatible devices. And there are other less common options too, like the ability to lower the volume of voice prompts, turn on/off location tracking for your earbuds in the Find Headphones tile, plus toggles to pause or resume playback when you put in or take out your earbuds, all of which worked without fault.

Technics EAH-AZ80 review: What could be improved?

If there’s one area that will see the AZ80 divide opinion, it’s their fit. Everyone’s ears are different, and despite Technics’ attempts to produce buds perfectly suited to the average human concha, they’ll likely prove a bit bulky for some.

I found that talking and moving my ears dislodged the EAH-AZ80 from their optimal position, which in turn meant less effective passive sound isolation. As noted above, I wedged the buds pretty deep into my ear canals to overcome this issue with a reasonable degree of success, but others will simply not get on with how they feel in your ears.

Beyond that, the AZ80 would benefit from a couple of additions and improvements but don’t suffer from any fatal flaws. Given their price, the absence of any spatial audio compatibility is a bit of a disappointment, and there’s no denying that the active noise cancellation on offer isn’t quite in the same league as the likes of the Sony WF-1000XM4, Apple AirPods Pro 2 or Bose QC Earbuds II. But on the whole, there’s little to grumble about the offering.

Technics EAH-AZ80 review: Should you buy them?

The Technics EAH-AZ80 are a worthy rival to the biggest players in the premium true wireless earbuds market. They deliver effective active noise cancellation, impressive sound quality, lots of customisation options and some of the best voice pick up on calls we’ve experienced. Wireless charging, wear detection and their groundbreaking three-way multipoint pairing further strengthen their case as one of the best pairs of noise-cancelling earbuds around.

Their stablemates the Technics EAH-AZ60M2 are also able performers in a range of departments and cost £60 less, but having used both extensively, I’d recommend paying that bit extra for the AZ80. They’re fantastic all-rounders with a suite of useful features that most of the competition is unable to match.

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