Look out Beats and move over Airpods because Panasonic has a new entrant in the best headphones (opens in new tab) game with its first set of true wireless headphones, which are launching today. In fact, Panasonic is going one better than that, because it's actually launching two sets of true wireless headphones, catchily named RZ-S500W and RZ-S300W respectively.
The RZ-S500W is the premium model, offering what Panasonic claims is “industry-leading noise cancelling” thanks to Dual Hybrid Noise Cancellation Technology. There’s a lot of technical jargon in the press release, but the upshot of it all is that they capture and neutralize unwanted sounds from outside and inside the headphones. This means they should be perfect for use in noisy environments like the gym or in a busy office. There’s also an ambient sound mode that lets you hear outside sounds temporarily if you need to have a quick chat for example.
The RZ-S300W don't feature the same fancy noise cancelling tech, but they do share the rest of their feature set with the RZ-S500Ws. Both sets of headphones will feature MEMS microphones (these are tiny, micro-scale microphones) to give excellent clarity of voice when using the headphones to take calls on a smartphone (opens in new tab). Panasonic’s wireless headphones will connect to your devices via Bluetooth and it claims to offer an extremely reliable connection.
Alongside all these fancy new innovations, both sets of headphones offer a solid feature set that we’d expect from top-end headphones. Both sets have an IPX4-equivalent splash proofing which means you won’t ruin them by sweating all over them at the gym. When it comes to battery life, the RZ-S500Ws offer 6.5 hours of continuous use, while the RZ-S300Ws last a little longer at 7.5 hours. You can triple both those times with the charging cases though, as they both carry an extra two full charges. Both pairs of earbuds also have Voice Assistant Compatibility with either Siri or Google Assistant.
One claim of Panasonic’s that we certainly won’t be arguing with is the design, which it describes as stylish and compact. We love the minimalist look of both sets of headphones. The RZ-S500Ws are available in black or white, while the cheaper RZ-S300Ws come in black, white, or green. Not quite the vibrant lineup we saw from Beats earlier this week, but we have to admit they look slick in black or white (we're less keen on the Mint Green). What about the cost? Well the RZ-S500W cost $289/£169 while the RZ-S300Ws cost $129/£109.
How will these stack up to the best earbuds out there like the Apple Airpods Pro (opens in new tab) or Sony WF-1000XM3 (opens in new tab)? We’ll let you know when we test them, but for now things are looking good.