It seems like every day, my review desk becomes flooded with true wireless options – whether it’s the budget-minded (but impressive-sounding) JBL 120TWS or the cash-grabbing, wooden-sounding Klipsch T5 earphone. But today I’m taking a look and a listen at the Astrotec S80. This true wireless earphone packs Beryllium drivers – the same kind of driver used on Focal headphoens – and an $89 price tag. But does the sound live up to the S80’s audiophile aspirations?
Astrotec S80 Review
The Astrotec S80 comes in a basic retail box with two cases – one for charging the earphones and one for carrying accessories. However, you could hypothetically jam all the accessories and the charging case inside the second, larger case. Anyway, in addition to these Russian Nesting Cases, you also get a charging cable and five pairs of eartips.
Inside the box, there’s also a quick setup guide that will walk you through using the earphones for the first time.
Holding these earphones in my hands, they feel lightweight and (just a tiny bit) cheap. But once placed in my giant radar-dish ears, the solid build and comfort become apparent. Isolation is actually pretty good, too – and much better than any competitor. Thanks to the eartips, the S80 forms a near-perfect seal with my ears, so I no longer have to listen to my coworkers debating the best ACDC song (it’s Rock N Roll Singer).
Connecting to the Astrotec S80 remains fairly easy. Running on Bluetooth 5.0, it supports SBC, mSBC, AAC, and CVSD codecs. Taking a solid two hours to fully charge, the earpieces and case offer a total of 30 hours of continuous playback. The earpieces hold enough juice for five hours of continuous use, while the case holds up to five extra charges.
Touch controls facilitate pausing and playing tracks, or accepting, ending, or rejecting phone calls. Volume and track skipping must still be handled on the paired device.
The S80 can also work quite easily as a single earpiece. Just manually turn off the earphones, turn one back on, and connect to it via Bluetooth. For automatic pairing in stereo mode, simply place both in the case and remove them at the same time.
The S80 has a fairly solid low end. There’s some excellent detail here, but it’s never overshadowed or overpowered by the bass. What bass there is feels accurate and well-controlled, without bleed. It’s not over-emphasized, but appears where it should with enough impact to be felt. All in all, this low end feels fairly reserved, but still emotive enough to enjoy. While not as warm as I was expeciting, it’s still a highly detailed sound that works well with all kinds of music.
Holy Mids, Batman! The Astrotec S80 overflows with midrange detail. Instrumentation benefits from this relatively-forward presentation, but vocals really take the spotlight here. Pop, hip-hop, and rock music all sound phenomenal, but jazz and classical tracks still manage to hold their own, too. Overall, these mids seem to virtually drip with detail, giving the S80 a forward presentation that feels meaty and full, while elevating vocal content to the stuff audiophile fantasies are made of.
When it comes to the highs, the S80 delivers an impressive listening experience that sparkles with detail. It’s easy to see a correlation between this budget-minded earphone and some Focal models, as both use Beryllium drivers and both offer incredibly luscious high ends. That being said, there’s still a little bit of compression here (we are talking budget True Wireless earphones, after all), but at this price I’ll swallow it. And, despite this one misgiving, the highs still manage to hold up to even the most scrutinous listening – whether you’re bumping K-Pop, Chopin, or some dope Hillary Duff.
While offering some depth, the sense of placement on the Astrotec S80 feels just a little inhibited by its design. While wireless in-ear headphones never sound that great with soundstage, the S80 gives a good account for itself. Still, on more intricate tracks like Classical symphonies and even some Jazz ensembles, the sound can seem a little cramped.
If you need audiophile quality sound at a budget-friendly price, the Astrotec S80 features a rich, consummate sound that pairs well with any listening tastes. Despite the low price and lightweight (if slightly flimsy) build, the inclusion of a Beryllium driver propels this earphone into stratospheric heights – or at least where sound quality is concerned.
If you need the absolute best-sounding true wireless earphones, skip this model and splash out $299 for the Sennheiser Momentum TW. You WILL NOT regret it.
For folks who want something other than the standard Bose/Jaybirds/Beats sound, AKA Diet Vanilla Lite, the Astrotec S80 offers a more mid-heavy sound (though in regards to Bose it actually has the resolution to make the mids sound good). To be sure, you’ve never heard a true wireless earphone this detailed – and you aren’t likely to find this kind of sound quality at a lower price.
Whether you’re bumping some lyrically-dense MF DOOM or some bouncy pop anthems, the Astrotec S80 delivers a sound that few other true wireless earphones can touch. For $89, there’s little reason not to fall in love with this impressive earphone that just keeps on giving. Our take? If you’re searching for the best sound quality in true wireless form, this beast needs to be on the list.
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