A miss-wired opportunity

Onkyo W800BT

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Onkyo W800BT

My Reading Room
Great looks, but audioperformance doesn’t justify the price.

The Onkyo W800BT was actually one of the earliest completely wireless headphones on the market, announced in January at CES 2016, with units hitting the market as early as March 2016. It took a lot longer to come to Singapore, but since it’s still Onkyo’s only model in this category, it remains relevant.

Like most of the competition (read our April 2017 issue), battery life for the W800BT remains low, managing just three hours of playback on a full charge.

That’s why the included carrying case also acts as a spare charger, allowing for an additional five charges, giving you about 18 hours playback in total.

With the W800BT, the left and right earpieces work independently, so they will have to pair with each other before connecting to your audio device. Despite their somewhat large size, the W800BT fits nicely into your ears, giving an above-average seal for passive noise isolation.

One thing to note is that there are no other buttons on the W800BTs other than the single one in the center.

This means the only thing you can do without taking out your smartphone, is to pick up a call or shut off the headphones. That’s incredibly limiting.

In terms of audio, we found that they performed better on pieces with greater emphasis on the mid-high end. Instrumental pieces like Ottmar Liebert’s Fireopal are rendered nicely, as is the acoustic recording of Eric Clapton’s Tears in Heaven. Where it feels a lacking is on the low end, as we sometimes struggle to hear the bass notes.

On our formal test tracks, the W800BT did best with Adele’s Melt My Heart to Stone and The Eagles’ Hotel California – not a surprising result considering these are the two tracks with less prominent bass components.

During testing, we faced constant drop outs from the left headset though, something we didn’t encounter from other true wireless headphones we’ve tested previously (again, the April 2017 issue), so that’s certainly one main area that Onkyo must look to improve on.