I understand this catching up. Panasonic RZ-S500W headphones – review

panasonic rz-s500w review

Panasonic did not offer true wireless headphones with active noise reduction until now. Slightly late for the party, he finally appears with his RZ-S500W. And immediately attracts attention.

Probably every producer of consumer audio equipment has in its offer one generation of fleas in the form promoted by Apple’s AirPods. Everyone but Panasonic, who reacted to the new fashion with a long delay, giving the competition to the market. Is it worth to be interested in its product at all?

They are expected to cost less than PLN 800 on the Polish market, which is a competitive price considering their true wireless form (i.e. two independent intrathecal fleas) and the ANC mechanism (active noise cancellation) present in them. WF-1000XM3 from Sony or AirPods Pro from Apple are significantly more expensive. But maybe also better?

Panasonic RZ-S500W are unlikely to be a fashion icon.

And probably in these headphones we will not see as many celebrities as in a competitive product from Apple. The design of the RZ-S500W is as exciting as its name. They even look utilitarian, which I like – but it will be difficult to brag about it among friends. Fortunately, beauty is something that we perceive very subjectively, and the headphones are not used to look nice. In addition, fashion paths are unexplored, maybe next year the wearing of large size pins with blue LEDs will be in your ear.

A utilitarian appearance translates into happiness for convenience. Each of the headphones firmly lies in the ear, is light (7 grams) and does not cause any discomfort – you can safely spend several hours during the day without unpleasant feeling and physical fatigue. The set includes several caps, so we can easily match the flea to each ear.

However, when we finally decide to remove them from the ear, we can hide them in the attached portable charger. Placing headphones in it is not a problem, the magnetic connection between the flea and the charger helps. Three LEDs placed on it help us to orientate ourselves how much the set is charged. We supplement the energy in the charger itself via a USB-C connector. Unfortunately, it has one drawback – despite the matt color, it is a fingerprint magnet.

Hi, it’s us, Panasonic. We know the sound like hardly anyone.

In terms of exterior, Panasonic still has a lot to learn from its fashionable competitors. The Japanese know each other well, and the RZ-S500W are the best proof of that. In each of the headphones you will find an 8-mm speaker with a neodymium magnet providing very clean, clear sound with a subtle light softness. Panasonic does not focus on conquering anything – they are not hip-hop bass headphones or dedicated to voice calls or any other specialization. RZ-S500W is primarily a faithful reproduction of the original.

It’s amazing how good these two little music sounds, especially in the context of the bass. The sound stage is full, there is no shortage of space in any key. No interference is heard and the dynamics of the sound is impressive. Slightly disappointed can only be lovers of electronics and greasy beats: the bass in the RZ-S500W is not lacking, but I perfectly understand the sympathy for the sound of headphones Beats or Monster, where the low tones are additionally exposed, favorably affecting the sound of these types of music. This in the Panasonic set will not be proven – in return we will get a very balanced sound, which works especially well in rock and pop music.

It’s undoubtedly one of the better-sounding headphones of this type on the market – and I’ve had the opportunity to test numerous models. Unfortunately, what I write soon hurts. RZ-S500W might sound even better, but it is limited by … software. Panasonic for today provides only support for standard codecs – we can forget about aptX or Sony LDAC, which significantly affect the quality of the wireless signal. Detriment.

Sound in such headphones is not everything. What counts is … silence. And also the ease of use.

RZ-S500W use the Hybrid Noise Canceling ANC mechanism. And it works … well, good. Just as effectively as in most other headphones from well-known manufacturers. At the same time, this mechanism is not working perfectly and it gives way to leaders in this category. There is no automatic algorithm from Sony or Bose effectiveness – so there is no shame, but there is also nothing to brag about. To travel by plane, to muffle the sound of the engine is enough, but we can not count on full isolation.

ANC is turned off and on using the touch panel on the right earphone. This panel is also used to pause and resume music playback. However, the mechanism can be tuned more precisely using a mobile application available on Android and iOS. There are as many as 50 ANC levels available, although I’m not sure if there is anything to brag about. I can’t imagine a situation where such precision is needed. Fortunately, ANC has a slight impact on the sound quality, only slightly softening it.

Headphones can also be the default receiving device for Siri (iOS) and the default voice assistant on Android. Just hold your finger on the left handset longer and our assistant can hear us and is waiting for commands. According to my interlocutors, the microphone for voice calls works great, even on a noisy street.

Headphones are enough for 6.5 hours of listening to music with full noise reduction, and if we have a charger with us, we will extend this time to 18 hours before we can replenish our energy. From zero to full, the charger charges the headphones in a slightly longer two hours – although, fortunately, after a quarter of an hour they will serve us for just over an hour. These are very good results, significantly better than most of the competition.

Panasonic RZ-S500W – is it worth it?

Panasonic’s debut is certainly not perfect. I miss the automatic ANC tuning based on an algorithm at least as effective as the one Sony uses. ANC itself is definitely not the most effective on the market – here I would also look towards Sony headphones. It is a pity that aptX and LDAC codec support are missing. Well, this is a subjective matter, but AirPods and their clones are prettier.

Except that the RZ-S500W are significantly cheaper than the competition in their (i.e. the highest in the category of true wireless with ANC) category. They offer a great working time without charging and also a great, clean, neutral, full sound. They are comfortable and light. Practical and useful – they even work with voice assistants. If you do not care about the disadvantages from the previous paragraph, then you will definitely not be disappointed. You will pay slightly less for a definitely top class by making compromises that do not apply to you.

I understand this catching up. Panasonic RZ-S500W headphones – review


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