The Denon AH-C820W wireless in-ear headphones bring the neckband style of earphone into the Denon range. This style is one that I personally get on very well with. I've got several choices for work-related voice communications, and tend to reach most frequently for the Plantronics Voyager 6200 UC: I find the combination of wireless, in-ear comfort, round-the-neck security and easy access controls is a winner for me.
So, how does this Denon option fare for leisure listening?
The key technology here is the dual drivers with Denon's patented Double Air Compression technology. There are two 11.5mm drivers in each earphone, one sitting in front of the other. The idea is that they deliver better quality sound — and specifically very good bass. That, in part, justifies the £219 price.
But that's not all you're paying for. The headset itself is a nicely crafted band, with a fair amount of flex. It's wide enough to sit comfortably around most necks, and the soft-touch finish means it doesn't chafe at all. The neckband flattens and widens towards the front, providing room on the left front for all the headset's controls.
The AH-C820W comes in its own zipped pouch, so it's convenient to take on your travels — without a case it's just too risky to pop this kit into a backpack or suitcase. Denon also bundles a Micro-USB cable for charging and for direct listening if you prefer a wired connection rather than Bluetooth.
SEE: How we learned to talk to computers, and how they learned to answer back (cover story PDF)
For audio quality testing, I paired with an Android handset containing a lot of my music. Audio was clear and punchy, and there was plenty of bass. Listening to an audiobook was crisp and clear, and watching some of the Australian Open tennis tournament was very rewarding — every 'thwack' of the ball was audible, while the commentators' voices were also clear. I also took a couple of voice calls and participated in a conference call, and again voice clarity was clear and sharp. It isn't just bass tones that this headset delivers well.
The ergonomics are a bit of a mixed bag. The earbuds are a little heavy — it's not a deal breaker by any means, but you'll notice you're wearing buds. By contrast, the neckband is so comfortable I forgot all about it. Five pairs of tips are provided, so there should be ample scope to find the right fit, and I was very happy with the in-ear fitting.
All the buttons, the call microphones and the charging connector, are on the left front edge. There are four buttons in all. The power and pairing button is well away from volume and playback controls, which is good. The pause/play button is a little larger than the two that flank it, and has a small raised bobble that helps you find it by touch, although I still fumbled occasionally. Perhaps differentiating the shape of the buttons, or locating some on the ridge rather than all on the flat of this part of the neckband would have helped. It's a bit of an issue, because using the buttons is key to making the most of this kit.
It takes two hours to fully charge the battery, which should last for ten hours at a stretch, according to Denon. I didn't measure this precisely, but certainly got plenty of use between charges.
Overall, the Denon AH-C820W scores well on sound quality and fit, and battery life is good. However, the usability of those all-important control buttons could be a bit better.
RECENT AND RELATED CONTENT
RHA TrueConnect earbuds review: High quality, stylish wireless earbuds for your commute or workout
Apple may have kicked off the completely wireless revolution with the AirPods, but others have stepped up with more compelling products since then. RHA is known for high quality audio products and its newest TrueConnect earbuds are its first fully wireless solution.
Jaybird RUN XT announced with IPX7 waterproof rating, new colors, and podcast app integration
Fully wireless earbuds allow you to workout without wires and Jaybird's latest model improves upon its original Jaybird RUN. Four hours of earbud time and another eight in the case should get your through your long adventure.
Jaybird Tarah announced: $100 wireless waterproof earbuds for training and fitness
Today's smartwatches and GPS sports watches support offline music playback so a Bluetooth headset is required to workout without a phone. Most phones also no longer have a headset jack so wireless is the way to go.
Wicked Audio Arq hands-on: Fully wireless earbuds for half the cost of Apple AirPods
The headphone jack is gone from most phones while our smartwatches also have the ability to play music via Bluetooth so having a wireless headset is becoming a necessity. Wicked Audio released an affordable product that doesn't compromise much.
Best Headphones for 2019 (CNET)
Our editors hand-picked these products based on our tests and reviews.
Read more reviews
- TicWatch S2 review: Google Wear OS is pretty terrible and Mobvoi doesn't help the cause with this $180 smartwatch
- Honor View 20 review: Large screen, innovative cameras, great value
- Huawei MateBook 13 review: Gorgeous touchscreen laptop takes on Apple's MacBook Air at $400 less
- Blackview BV9600 Pro hands-on: A smartphone for everyone
- Dell Precision 5530 2-in-1 review: A flexible workstation-class convertible