Panasonic's first AirPods rivals go big on features, small on price

Panasonic's first true wireless headphones go big on features
(Image credit: Panasonic)

Panasonic has officially launched its first pairs of true wireless headphones on the same day as its first Technics pair.

The noise-cancelling RZ-S500W (£169 / $199, subject to change) and more affordable and compact RZ-S300W (£109 / $129, subject to change) are now available following their initial reveal at CES 2020 at the beginning of the year.

The former utilises some of the tech found inside the Technics, such as Dual Hybrid Noise Cancelling Technology, which is achieved through the combination of both feedback and analog and digital processing. An Ambient Mode that amplifies surrounding noise so that the user can briefly hear conversations or announcements is also present and correct.

The RZ-S500W also uses beamforming technology through the use of two microphones to increase the clarity of voices and suppress ambient noise during calls. The RZ-S300W's lack of noise-cancelling ability allows them to be more compact (just 17mm in diameter) and sport a longer battery life: 30 hours (7.5 from the buds, 22.5 from the charging case), compared to the RZ-S500W's 19.5 hours (6.5 from the buds, 13 from the case).

Otherwise, the two pairs are much the same. Both benefit from a unique Bluetooth antenna that is designed for stable connectivity and, to help minimise earbud size, integrated with touch sensors for playback control. Both support Amazon Alexa, too: touch sensor support for Alexa will be added later this spring but in the meantime it can be activated from the Alexa app.

The Panasonic RZ-S300Ws and RZ-S500Ws - available later this month in black, white or green 'splashproof' finishes - are priced more or less in-line with the class-leading Cambridge Audio Melomania 1s and Sony WF-1000XM3s respectively, so we look forward to hearing how they fare.


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Becky Roberts

Becky is the managing editor of What Hi-Fi? and, since her recent move to Melbourne, also the editor of Australian Hi-Fi magazine. During her 10 years in the hi-fi industry, she has been fortunate enough to travel the world to report on the biggest and most exciting brands in hi-fi and consumer tech (and has had the jetlag and hangovers to remember them by). In her spare time, Becky can often be found running, watching Liverpool FC and horror movies, and hunting for gluten-free cake.