The Chinese manufacturer of headphones and audio devices, HiFiMan, is best known for its audiophile headphones, including the flagship Shangri-La, which is commercially available for incredible Rs. 36,00,000. This brand has come a long way in the market in a relatively short space of time and is considered the leading manufacturer of electrostatic and planar magnetic headphones. Fortunately, HiFiMan also offers cheaper options to those on a budget.
One of them is the company's first true wireless headset, the HiFiMan TWS600. Price at Rs. 12,999, which is not what we would normally expect from this brand that has stuck to wired audiophile headphones and earphones so far. The earphones are equipped with the company's own topology membrane drivers and promise great sound with the convenience of real wireless connectivity. Does the HiFiMan TWS600 meet expectations? Find out in our test.
HiFiMan TWS600 design and specifications
There's no easy way to put it – the HiFiMan TWS600 looks a bit strange. The all-plastic earpieces are gray and have the shape of kidney beans. The outer parts of the earphones are provided with transparent patterns through which the light shines, with a physical button in the middle. There is a pattern on each button that strangely resembles the South American continent, and small HiFiMan logos are on the sides.
The buttons control playback, call processing, volume and voice assistants through a series of routines. Most of these are fairly easy to remember; We only had a little bit of trouble with the long press routines, as long press would turn the headset off. The LEDs on the headphones are largely decorative, but indicate when the headphones are switched on or being charged.
There is a microphone on each earphone near the bottom. For fun, a card that comes with the HiFiMan TWS600 recommends removing an earphone and holding it near your mouth on voice calls, suggesting that the microphones are not very good. We have of course tested this and you can read about it below.
The charging case of the HiFiMan TWS600 is slightly longer than in the real wireless segment, but looks good and is well built. There are four LEDs on the inside, which indicate the charge status of the housing itself. They light up when the headphones are inserted or the housing is opened. The USB Type-C port for charging the case is on the back and a useful rubber handle on the bottom ensures a secure hold when it is placed on a surface.
The sales package contains nine pairs of silicone earbuds with double, triple and wide angles, so there is something for everyone in terms of comfort, fit and noise isolation. You will also receive a short Type-C to Type-A USB cable to charge the case.
In terms of the technical data, the HiFiMan TWS600 largely meets the expectations that we have of real wireless earphones in this price segment. It has Bluetooth 5 with support for the SBC and AAC codecs – a surprise is that there is no aptX. The frequency range is between 20 and 20,000 Hz. The earphones use HiFiMan's proprietary topology diaphragm dynamics drivers, which have a nanoparticle coating in certain geometric patterns to influence the sound.
The battery life of the HiFiMan TWS600 is impressive. We were able to use the headphones for five hours per charge, with the case providing six additional full charges, with an impressive total of 35 hours per charge cycle. It took a little less than two hours to fully charge the case when connected to a laptop.
HiFiMan TWS600 performance
At Rs. The HiFiMan TWS600 competes with 12,999 with options such as Samsung Galaxy Buds, Apple AirPods (2nd generation), RHA TrueConnect and more. However, the sound was very different from what we were used to in this segment, mainly thanks to HiFiMan's unique sound tuning and the Topology Diaphragm drivers that power the headphones. HiFiMan recommends a considerable burn-in time before the sound is evaluated and we have ensured that they were present about 15 hours before our review started.
We used OnePlus 7T Pro (Review) as the main source for our review, with Spotify, YouTube Music, and our collection of high-resolution audio tracks for music. We also tested the headset for voice calls.
Starting with Dirty Sexy Money by David Guetta, we immediately found that the HiFiMan TWS600 is neutral and balanced and does not refer to any specific part of the frequency range. The punchy synthesizer elements didn't sound quite as aggressive and driving as we heard from real wireless headphones like the Samsung Galaxy Buds. The attack in the subbass was only slightly noticeable, but there was no special treatment for the midbass frequencies.
The vocals on the track definitely sounded clearer and clearer than any other real wireless headphones, and there was a distinct sparkle above that almost made us think these headphones were tuned for a brighter sound. We liked that very much – the sound was clear and defined over the entire range.
Switching to a high-resolution version of Michael Jackson's You Rock My World got the best out of the HiFiMan TWS600. Although it sounded a bit bright at times, we were impressed by the level of detail and insight that the headphones got on the track. We could hear a lot more than usual on the track, with a strong sense of direction and approach. If you set the volume too high, things become a little too sharp. The TWS600 was best used for volumes below 50 percent.
We then tried a busier, high-resolution track, Close To You by the Australian electronic group Avalanches. The presentation was pretty neat and orderly, with the various synth elements and samples in this song never getting lost in the medley. We were also impressed with the sound stage and image processing, as the HiFiMan TWS600 offers impressive and clean sound reproduction.
In the case of voice calls, we wanted to test the microphone quality, because the HiFiMan itself expressed doubts about its ability to record our voice. In practice this was not a real problem and the sound on both ends of the call was acceptable in most environments.
The HiFiMan TWS600 is a bit misfit in the real wireless segment and follows an approach that differs from every major competitor in every respect. While most real wireless headphones usually provide a more conventional sound signature, HiFiMan remains with its first real wireless headset. You get a clean, detailed and balanced sound that is refreshingly different and better suited to audiophile sensations.
The sound can occasionally appear a bit too bright and sharp, and bass lovers will be disappointed by the lack of punch in the low-end. In addition, the design is polarizing and the all-plastic bodies of the units are definitely disappointing at a price of over Rs. 10,000. However, if you look at a balanced, detailed pair of true wireless earbuds, there are very few that can keep up with the HiFiMan TWS600.
Price: Rs. 12,999
- Detailed, balanced sound
- Good presentation, sound stage
- Decent battery life
- No aptX support
- Strange design, plastic construction
- Can sometimes sound a little too bright
Reviews (of 5)
- Design / comfort: 3
- Audio quality: 4
- Battery life: 4.5
- Value for money: 3.5
- Total: 4