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Edifier TWS NB2 Earbuds Overview: Largely Higher

“The Edifier TWS NB2 looks and sounds good, but it is not flawless.”

Good sound quality

Solid ANC performance

Great battery life

Nervous, appealing design

Responsive touch controls

No charge indicator on the housing

No wireless charging

Medium call quality

We did not expect that Edifier would bring out the successor to the very good TWS NB earphones so quickly. We recently reviewed the first iteration and found it to be pretty nice for its $ 120 price tag, with minor complaints like mediocre battery life, bulky design, and an uninspired app. Since that review, the price of the TWS NB earbuds has dropped to $ 70, which is a great deal for these buds.

And while I can’t say that much has changed with the app, Edifier has been listening clearly when it comes to the buds themselves. With an all-new design, improved active noise cancellation, longer battery life, and even more features at a discount of just $ 100, it’s clear Edifier has listened to critics.

The Edifier TWS NB2 earbuds have everything they want, making it clear that you shouldn’t be spending more than $ 100 on a pair of excellent earbuds.

What’s in the box

Edifier packed the TWS NB2 earbuds with very little fanfare. My box was even damaged a bit with the main cover sleeve unfortunately stuck to the inner box in such a way that I had to destroy it to get inside the packaging (so I can’t share box pictures with them).

In this main box, the buds sit in foam, with three additional eartip sizes, a USB-C charging cable, a neat little drawstring bag, and a tiny (really tiny) instruction manual above it in a narrow insert. It’s simple and effective, but not particularly sustainable (this type of foam is not recyclable or compostable).

Jaron Schneider / Digital Trends

The total number of the four earbud sizes also turns out to be below average, and personally I haven’t found a supplied tip that fits me exactly. In contrast, Buds like the Soundcore Liberty 2 Pro come with a total of nine ear tip sizes, and almost every JLab set comes with at least six. It’s a minor complaint, but since it’s all cheap silicon, we’d like to see better here from Edifier.

design

I want to point out that it would have been okay if Edifier had decided to change the name of these buds to something other than the NB line, as these buds don’t look like their predecessors. The case is completely different, as is the shape of the buds themselves.

Jaron Schneider / Digital Trends

Edifier did not repeat the original design. They blew it up and started over. I have to applaud the success here, especially considering how quickly this second generation hit the market – it was less than a year ago.

I know the “golf tee” look isn’t popular with everyone, but it serves a purpose. Call quality tends to improve due to the better position of the microphones and gives the buds more room for a larger battery. And if you go for the golf tee, I think Edifier did it to make them look chic.

I can’t stress enough how great the design by Edifier is here.

I cannot emphasize enough how great Edifier’s design is here. They took their original bulky, boring design and spiced it up with a whole new aggressive look that I totally like. What Edifier has done is nothing very revolutionary, but small changes to popular design choices that just showcase the entire product nicely.

edifier tws nb2 earbuds review 8 Jaron Schneider / Digital Trends

edifier tws nb2 earbuds review 9 Jaron Schneider / Digital Trends

The case is pretty as expected with its rounded polygon shape, flip-up lid, and magnetic charge points that keep the buds in place. But Edifier gave the solid package a nice finishing touch with a faux leather exterior that is comfortable to the touch. Even the completely unnecessary cord pocket feels good. It’s not your typical nylon, but a high quality woven canvas material.

It’s annoying that you can’t tell how much battery life is left in the buds or in the case without using the app (more on that later in the app), but even then the app only shows the charge level in the buds. There’s a little LED on the back next to the charging port that flashes at me, but I don’t know what to tell me. There is another little LED in the case, but as far as I can tell it just tells me the buds are locked in place and charging. The lack of an easy way to determine the remaining battery life of the case seems like a major oversight to me.

The original case of the NB earphones has a series of LEDs that indicate the remaining charge in the case. Why this wasn’t carried over to the new set is confusing.

properties

Edifier’s original TWS-NBs were rather easy to use, but brought active noise cancellation into the very affordable price range of $ 120. With the TWS NB2s, Edifier added a huge list of new features without changing the price.

First, let’s talk about active noise cancellation. The ANC in the original buds was fine but relied entirely on feed-forward technology, which means the buds analyzed and muffled outside noise but couldn’t tell how good they were with it. In the NB2s, Edifier added a second pair of microphones to the earbuds so they could better respond to noise by hearing what was still coming through. This is known as hybrid ANC and is common on high-end earphones, which generally cost twice what Edifier charges.

Jaron Schneider / Digital Trends

The result is noise cancellation that has been vastly improved over the original and competes very well with other hybrid ANC systems, but still doesn’t match the sheer soundproofing performance of the big boys like the Sony WF-1000XM3s, Technics, TWS AZ70s, Apple AirPods Pro or Sennheiser Momentum 2s. But all four of these buds cost at least twice as much as the Edifier NB2 earbuds, and as such, the ANC on offer for $ 120 is very good.

Edifier also added a proximity sensor that pauses the music when you take a bud out of your ear and picks it up again when you put it back. It works fine.

Edifier added a huge list of new features without changing the price.

The small physical buttons on the original NBs have been replaced with two touch sensors on each bud, and overall they’re … okay. You can’t control the volume or map them to your own specifications, but they work just fine. All controls require at least a double tap. This is a design option to prevent accidental tapping. However, some of the touch functions require a long tap, which actually doesn’t take that long. I accidentally started Game Mode and accidentally turned ANC on and off by just recording it. However, you can change the sensitivity of these features, which I also did and this problem has stopped appearing.

As I just mentioned, there is a “Game Mode” included which Edifier claims has extremely low latency so that you can react faster to the action on the screen. I don’t play much with bluetooth, and these earbuds won’t change that: it just reduces latency to 80 milliseconds, not nearly fast enough for fast-paced action.

For what it’s worth, I didn’t experience any latency while watching videos in regular listening mode, including videos from video game situations. Whether or not this feature is enabled, the buds here are solid.

Jaron Schneider / Digital Trends

All of these features come at a cost, however: the NB2 lose their predecessor’s IPX4 water / dust resistance instead of a much less weatherproof IP54. These are not sealed against dust and only protect against light splash water and not against the originals being completely immersed. Even so, IPX4 is perfectly acceptable for most earbuds, and the Edifier TWS NB2 are no exception.

edifier tws nb2 earbuds review 10 Jaron Schneider / Digital Trends

edifier tws nb2 earbuds review 11 Jaron Schneider / Digital Trends

Edifier has an app that can be used with the NB2s and is inconspicuous. You can use it to control little things like the sensitivity of the touch controls and the ANC, and see the battery life remaining in each bud. It looks good but has very little function. I really wish it was possible to make EQ adjustments. This app was a complaint in the original NB rating and remains inconspicuous here to this day.

Battery life

The NB2 improves from the 5-hour playback time of the originals with active ANC to 7 hours per charge. In our tests, they actually lasted a little longer than 8 hours with the ANC active. That’s very good, almost double what the AirPods Pro offer, and is the equivalent of $ 230 for the Sony WF-100XM3 (though Sony’s ANC is better).

With the ANC turned off, the original NBs could play for 11 hours before needing to be charged. Unfortunately, the NB2s are only designed for a service life of 9 hours. I got them to run for about 9.5 hours in my tests, but that’s still not the previous mark.

The noise isolation is very good and it is likely that you do not need ANC to be active. 9.5 hours is still very impressive. It’s just strange to see a regression here.

You can charge an additional 18 hours when ANC is on and an additional 23 hours when ANC is off.

Unfortunately, Edifier didn’t say anything about a quick charge feature for these buds. However, you can fully charge them in just over an hour.

Audio quality

Edifier did a very good job with their original NBs when it came to sound quality and I’m happy to report that this is still the case with the NB2s. These have a surprising amount of bass. You won’t chatter your teeth, but you can absolutely hear and appreciate those lows.

Overall, the sound quality is warm and accessible. They don’t sound as good as the Soundcore Liberty 2 Pro, the Jabra Elite 75t, or the Sony WF-1000XM3 (three of our regular favorites for sound quality), but I prefer the sound quality over the Apple AirPods Pro. However, the TWS TB2 are cheaper than all four of these earbuds, with most of them well spaced. These are a great many of the best sounding buds you can get for the price.

I am pleased to report that the mix remains balanced across the volume range. Either at a low whisper or at maximum volume, the earphones never let one of the areas overwhelm another.

When I had a review, the soundstage is a bit tight. The highs don’t get too much (which many who are sensitive to high highs will actually appreciate), and the lows are largely included too. However, the mids are well represented. Together, it’s more like listening to a band at a house party than watching them perform at the Shoreline Amphitheater.

Again, the sound signature is different between NB and NB2 as Edifier blows up their original design instead of that design. Not remarkable, but you can tell. These feel like a completely different set of earbuds, not a successor.

Call quality

As mentioned earlier, the golf tee shape of these buds tends to affect call quality. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case with the Edifier TWS NB2 earphones. They sound good, but the longer you speak, the longer you speak, the more distant and difficult you make your voice to be.

You can hear the other end of the line very clearly, but they didn’t work as well as I’d hoped the voice would do. They’re serviceable, but not nearly class-leading.

While the Edifier NB2s have an ambient mode that lets you hear your own voice while on a call, I wish it was a little better. You can hear outside noise, but the volume isn’t as loud as I would like it to be.

Our opinion

Edifier fixed almost every complaint we had with the original TWS NB earbuds and went even further to add more features and improved battery life. The thing is, we seem to have gotten these improvements at the cost of others.

The Edifier TWS NB2s are a bit of a head scratch in this way. The company has apparently chosen to start over on this second generation rather than redoing the previous design. But maybe they threw the baby out with the bath water because the benefits we received are less potent thanks to the functions we lost. We have touch controls, a better design, longer battery life with the ANC active, a better ANC, and a smaller case, but they cost no charge indicator in this case, mediocre call quality, and poorer battery life with no ANC active (albeit) still above average ).

Instead of giving us a product, we can clearly say that it replaces the original. Instead, we have two products that still give us a reason to recommend one another depending on the application. Edifier doesn’t just compete with the other great options with the TWS NB2 earbuds. They’re also competing with their own, older product.

Are there any better alternatives?

A great alternative to the Edifier TWS NB2 earbuds is the Edifier TWS NB2 earbuds at $ 120. Both cost the same, but have different properties. If you want longer battery life without ANC, get the original NBs. If you’re interested in a better ANC with longer battery life while running, the NB2’s are better.

I think the best alternative at this point is the $ 99 JLab Epic Air ANC Buds, which have a ton of features (if only with OK ANC performance) and great sound control through their app.

How long will they last?

I’m impressed with the build quality of the NB2 and expect it to last until the lithium-ion battery degrades. Edifier also offers a one year limited warranty.

Should you buy it?

Yes, while Edifier is bringing some features into their upgrade – these aren’t better buds across the board – I’d still pick these over the original NBs. They sound great, they look a lot better, and they have added some features that I like. They are the best ANC you can get for the price too.

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