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Denon AH-C820W wireless in-ear headphones, First Take: Quality audio, mixed ergonomics

Written by Sandra Vogel on

Denon AH-C820W

  • Editors' Review
  • Specs

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?


Denon's Double Air Compression Driver technology delivers good bass tones.

Image: Denon

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 full kit includes a case, Micro-USB cable and 5 sets of tips.

Image: Denon

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.

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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.


Control buttons (from top): power and Bluetooth pairing; volume up; pause/play; volume down.

Image: Denon

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.


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