Master & Dynamic MW08 Sport Review Comparison With Original MW08

Monday, August 16, 2021

The expression "built like a tank" can sometimes be over-exaggerated but, when it comes to the new MW08 Sport by Master & Dynamic that expression really fits the bill! The use of sapphire glass and Dupont Kevlar, takes the MW08 Sport to another level of premium and toughness since sapphire glass and Kevlar are the same materials used in ballistic body armor and Rolex watches.

The Kevlar wrapping gives the MW08 Sport charging case a nice fabric-like texture finish similar to carbon fibre, making the charging case grippy and resistant against oily fingerprint smudges. The MW08 Sport charging case has the same design as the original MW08, including friction dual hinges, which snap shut the magnetic lid of the charging case. Thanks to the Kevlar construction, the MW08 Sport charging case comes with IPX4 water resistance and a lower body weight, weighing just 57 grams which is 27 grams lighter than the stainless steel charging case of the MW08.

Inside the MW08 Sport charging case, there is a meta docking area designed to keep the earphones tilted at an angle, making them very easy to take out of the charging case. The MW08 Sport earphones retain the same quirky d-shape cufflink style as the original MW08 and other models such as the MW07 Plus. The MW08 Sport has been upgraded from ceramic covers to sapphire glass, which scores 9 out of 10 on Mohs hardness scale. Ceramic scores 7+ out 10, making sapphire glass even more scratch resistant and more durable.

The MW08 Sport earphones use physical buttons too with the same button design and layout. The left earphone has a rocker button, while the right earphone has a single button. Being physical buttons, they require some force to actuate, which can easily be done by pinching the earphones with two fingers. The buttons let you control various functions including volume, as well as ambient sound mode and anc mode, which you can be both disabled. This is worth pointing out because with some anc earbuds, you are forced to have anc or ambient sound turned on constantly. This means, if you want to disable anc, you have to keep ambient mode turned on, which is okay from a situational awareness standpoint. However, being able to disable ambient sound and anc means you can listen to music naturally using just passive noise isolation. The hybrid active noise cancellation works well too, blocking out low and high frequency sounds.

The MW08 Sport earphones are equipped with two anc modes (max anc and all day anc). Like most anc earbuds, enabling anc alters the sound signature. The bass becomes boosted and noticeably punchier in "max anc" mode. Ambient sound mode doesn't alter the sound signature (at least not noticeably). You will hear three voice prompts when toggling between anc, ambient mode and off mode. The audio volume also mutes for a second so, you can clearly hear the voice prompt even at max volume.

There is seamless transition from stereo to mono and viceversa, although the MW08 Sport earphones experience a 3 second re-connection delay (same as the MW08) when taken out of the charging case. Opening the charging case triggers automatic Bluetooth pairing, which means you can pair and connect the MW08 Sport earphones inside the charging case. That said, the MW08 Sport earphones cannot be paired individually with separate devices, which is one of the neat features of true wireless earbuds. In-ear detection is also supported and can be disabled via the M&D Connect app. In ear-detection works well with a slight delayed response (2 seconds).

Because of the sapphire glass and Kevlar charging case, the MW08 Sport do feel more robust than the original MW08 version, yet they are lighter weighing just 16 grams (8 grams each). The MW08 Sport charging case has the same dimensions as the original MW08 but, it integrates a wireless charging induction coil located towards the lower backside of the case. This means, the MW08 Sport charging case has to be placed on its backside when charging wirelessly.

When using a 10-watt charger such as the MC100 wireless charging coaster, the MW08 Sport charging case takes 1 hour 40 minutes to charge from 0% to 100% and 30 minutes to charge from 0% to 50%. Charging via cable is much quicker though, taking 15 minutes from 0% to 50% and 1 hour from 0% to 100% charge. The MW08 Sport charging case can hold up to 30 hours of additional charge (same as the MW08 charging case). The MW08 Sport earphones recharge fully in just 45 minutes and to 50% in 15 minutes, thanks to quick charge support. The MW08 Sport charging case measures 6.5cm long. 2.5cm wide and 4.7cm high and, it has a flat base that allows you to keep it upright with the lid open. The battery life of the MW08 Sport earphones is 12 hours with anc turned off and volume set to 50%. With anc turned on, battery life is 10 hours.

The MW08 Sport earphones use the same Bluetooth 5.2 chip but it supports an extra codec (aptX Adaptive), as well as AAC and SBC. There is absolute bluetooth volume support but no multipoint connection support (same as the MW08). The bluetooth signal is strong and stable, reaching up to 30 meters in direct line of sight, using external aluminium antennas.

There is mobile app support too via the M&D connect app, which has a simple, non-cluttered user interface that is easy to navigate. The Connect app lets you lets you update the firmware of the earphones, as well as check the battery status of the earbuds, although the app only displays the battery life of the earbud with the lowest battery charge. From the M&D connect app, you can also enable/disable in-ear detection, adjust sleep mode and change anc/ambient settings. There is no button remapping options nor is there a built-in equalizer for changing the stock sound signature.

The MW08 Sport earphones use the same 11mm beryllium drivers and tuning, although the sound acoustic is slightly toned down, making the soundstage not seem as wide sounding as the original MW08. This is perhaps due to the sapphire glass, which may not be as reflective as ceramic. That said, the MW08 Sport earphones still sound very good with spatial sound separation, punchy lows, clear vocals and clean high tones. As far as microphone quality, the MW08 Sport microphones deliver clear and natural sound during calls. In a noisy environment, the audio gets amplified, although background noise does leak into the call.

The MW08 Sport ship inside a similar packaging box and with similar accessories, although the MW08 Sport does not include a canvas carrying pouch. The included charging cable comes neatly reeled inside a thin cardboard cable reel. The 1.8 meter long charging cable is a quality one with alloy connector plugs and the logo branding of Master & Dynamic laser etched on the sides.

The MW08 Sport include foam eartips, as well as different size bowl-shaped silicone eartips neatly organized on a tip holder. The eartips feel really good quality with thick bores made of a rubbery foam material that keeps the eartip snugly over the nozzle while improving the bass acoustics. In a nutshell, the MW08 Sport has the following upgrades over the original MW08 version: Kevlar charging case, sapphire glass earphones, aptX Adaptive codec, lighter-weight charging case, foam ear tips, lighter-weight earphones, IPX4 rating for the charging case and IPX5 rating for earphones, as well as Qi wireless charging. You can buy the MW08 Sport from Master & Dynamic. Check out also the review of the MW07 Plus Leica version and the MC300 headphone stand wireless charger.

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