Edifier TWS NB2 ANC Earbuds Review Comparison With TWS NB Earbuds

Thursday, April 08, 2021

Going all the way back to the wireless telegraph, wireless technology has been around for well over 100 years, although it wasn't until the arrival of Bluetooth (20 years ago) when wireless would become popular. Bluetooth only works short range but, it is an extremely small solution that makes things such as true wireless earbuds possible! The Edifier TWS NB2 are the latest cordless earbuds to join the bluetooth club, bringing forward a futuristic design with hardware to match.

The TWS NB2 ball shape body integrates two microphone pinholes, a light sensor and a long, angled protruding nozzle neck with a round tip. The front side of the stem is touch sensitive, allowing you to control various functions such as answer/end calls, anc/ambient modes, skipping tracks, game mode and play/pause audio. Volume is not supported on-board the TWS NB2 earbuds.

When toggling between anc and ambient modes, you will hear the words "ambient sound" and "normal mode", which refers to anc mode. This means, the only way to disable anc is by enabling ambient mode and viceversa. The active noise cancellation works well, blocking out most everyday sounds from entering your ears.

The touch sensitivity is responsive and activated via a taping motion on the stem rather than actually touching the stem like with the TWS1 Pro. The advantage of tapping is that there is less chance of you accidentally skipping or pausing the audio and, you can even use very thin gloves. That said, the TWS NB2 tapping sensitivity can actually be adjusted (via the app) so, you can make the tap feel more like a light touch, which is preferable if you don't like the sensation you get when tapping on an earbud stem. By default, the TWS NB2 tapping sensitivity is set to medium high. If you prefer using physical buttons, the TWS NB model has them, as well as anc functionality too. 

The key difference between the TWS NB and TWS NB2 are the size and runtime performance.The TWS NB2 stem style allows a better weight distribution and a more slimline profile. The TWS NB2 weigh 12 grams (6 grams per earbud), while the TWS NB earbuds weigh 16 grams (8 grams per earbud). The TWS NB2 charging case weighs 40 grams, while the TWS NB charging case weigh 60 grams.

In terms of dimensions, the TWS NB2 charging case measures 6.5cm long, 5.5cm wide and 2.5cm high and, it has pebble-like shape that makes it easier to slide in and out of a trouser pocket than the square frame of the TWS NB charging case. The TWS NB2 charging case also has a leather-like finish to it with a chrome Edifier logo on top that makes the TWS NB2 charging case look more stylish on a desk. The TWS NB2 charging area also has an expansive design that reminds you of a mothership dock and allows you to take the earbuds in and out very easily, even if you have chunky fingers.

ANC battery life (with 50% volume) has also been improved on the TWS NB2, which can manage 7 hours of battery life (with anc on or game mode on) and 9 hours with anc off. In contrast, the TWS NB can only manage 5 hours, although you get slightly longer runtime (9.5 hours) with anc off. The TWS NB2 charging case can also hold a bit more extra charge (23 hours) than the bulkier TWS NB charging case and, it re-charges quicker too, in just 2 hours. The TWS NB2 earbuds don't charge as quick though, taking 1.5 hour to fully recharge compared to 1 hour for the TWS NB earbuds. Neither of them support fast charge. The TWS NB earbuds don't have a game mode.

Neither the TWS NB and TWS NB2 support volume control, which seems to be a trend in the Edifier TWS series lineup, which also includes the X3 earbuds and the  TWS5 earbuds. The Edifier Connect app requires typical phone permissions such as the phone's location, although the app also requires allowing "Display over other apps", which really no headphone app should require it unless it's a messenger type app with chat bubbles. When "Display over other apps" is enabled, it basically allows the app to monitor how you interact with your phone.

The Edifier Connect app has a user friendly interface for navigating through. The home screen shows at a glance the battery status of each earbud, the name of the audio track you're listening to, as well as an on-screen button and an slider for adjusting how much ambient sound enters the earbuds. The Ambient sound slider ranges from -3 (lowest) to +3 (highest) and works well, letting sound come in naturally. The option that says "noise cancellation" appears grayed out; hence you cannot disable the anc from the TWS NB2 earbuds like you can with the older TWS NB.

The Edifier Connect app contains more settings which are accessed by tapping Settings on the top right corner. The options include user manual, game mode, voice prompt tone, timer, in-ear detection and power off for manually turning off the earbuds. Voice prompt tone lets you adjust the volume level of the voice prompt.

In-ear detection can be tweaked also so, you can have it completely turned off or to only pause audio automatically when removing the earbuds from the ears. A few useful features that Edifier Connect app could have integrated are button remapping, volume support and EQ for tweaking the sound signature. Multipoint pairing is also not supported. The in-ear detection system can be disabled from the app.

To pair the Edifier TWS NB2 earbuds, you simply open the charging case lid so, you can pair the earbuds while sitting inside the charging case. You can switch from stereo to mono seamlessly with instant connection; hence no re-connection delay. That said, the TWS NB2 do not work independently so, you cannot pair them with separate devices.

Game mode works similar to aptX LL low latency, reducing the lag down to 80ms to make mobile games more playable, although not quite as much as the now obsolete aptX-LL (40ms). Game mode can be enabled with audio only too, although game mode does slightly degrade the sound quality and volume output. 
Having anc on (normal mode) also has the upside of elevating the bass frequency making it punchier. The TWS NB2 earbuds deliver a dynamic sound so, the earbuds are bass driven, although there is good separation with the higher tones (vocal and treble), which are clean and clear. The 10mm dynamic drivers can put out a lot of volume too.

The bluetooth 5.0 chip inside the TWS NB2 earbuds only support SBC; hence no aptX or AAC support, which is a bit surprising since the older TWS1 earbuds and the TWS NB support aptX. That said, no noticeable lag was detected when watching videos. The TWS NB2 earbuds have a wide and thick stem with a right angle cut at the base of the stem, housing the microphone for calls, while the top side of the stem houses the ANC microphone. The stem measures 3cm long, 1cm wide and 0.5cm thick. The microphone delivers clear natural sound and does a good job of elevating your voice in a noisy background. Check out the review of the Edifier X3 To-U pastel color version.

The Edifier TWS NB2 come nicely packaged inside a hardbox covered with leather like material and a preformed foam insert. There is silicone eartips included too (bowl shape with wide bores), as well as an Edifier-branded black canvas pouch lined with a soft beige material. The included USB-C to USB-A cable is non-branded. You can buy the Edifier TWS NB2 from amazon. Check out the review of the Edifier TWS NB2 Pro, the Edifier TWS NBQ earbuds.

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