Chinese headphone and audio equipment manufacturer HiFiMan is best known for its audiophile headphones, including flagship Shangri – La, which retails for a whopping Rs. 36,00,000. The brand has come a long way in its relatively short time in the market, and is considered a leading manufacturer of electrostatic and planar magnetic headphones. Luckily for shoppers with a smaller budget, HiFiMan offers more affordable options as well.
One of these is the company’s first true wireless headset, HiFiMan TWS600, 12,999, this is not what we usually expect from this brand, which has been associated with wired audiophile headphones and earphones till now. The earphones feature the company’s proprietary Topology diaphragm drivers, and promise great sound with the convenience of true wireless connectivity. Does the HiFiMan TWS600 live up to the expectations? Find out in our review.
HiFiMan TWS600 Design and Specifications
There’s no delicate way to put it – the HiFiMan TWS600 feels a bit awkward. All plastic earpieces are brown in color and shaped like a kidney bean. The outer parts of the earpieces have transparent patterns that let lights shine through, with a physical button in the center of each. Each has a pattern on its buttons, which oddly resembles the continent of South America, and small HiFiMan logos on their sides.
Buttons control playback, call handling, volume, and voice assistant through a series of routines. These are easy enough to remember for the most part; We only had a little trouble with the routine of long-pressing, as long-pressing would turn off the headset. The LEDs on the earphones are largely decorative, but they indicate when the earphones are on or charging.
There is a microphone on each earpiece, which is found near the bottom. Hilariously, a card in the HiFiMan TWS600’s sales package recommends removing one earpiece and holding it near your mouth when taking voice calls, suggesting that the microphones aren’t great. We’ve definitely tested it, and you can read about it below.
The HiFiMan TWS600’s charging case is a bit taller than you’re used to seeing in the true wireless segment, but it looks good and is well made. There’s a set of four lights on the inside to indicate the case’s charge level, and they light up when the earphone is placed in it or the case is opened. The USB Type-C port for charging the case is on the back, and a useful rubber grip on the bottom helps keep it secure when placed on any surface.
The sale package includes nine pairs of silicone ear tips that include double-flanged, triple-flanged and wide-bore options, so there’s something for everyone in terms of comfort, fit, and noise isolation on offer. You also get a short USB Type-C to Type-A cable for charging the case.
Coming to the specifications, the HiFiMan TWS600 largely matches what we’ve come to expect from true wireless earphones in this price segment. It has Bluetooth 5 with support for SBC and AAC codecs – a surprise given that there is no suitable X. The frequency response range is 20–20,000 Hz. The earphones use HiFiMan’s proprietary Topology Diaphragm Dynamic drivers, which are said to have a nano particle coating in specific geometric patterns to effect the sound.
The HiFiMan TWS600’s battery life is impressive; We were able to get five hours of use out of the earphones per charge, with the case providing an additional six full charges, for a total of 35 hours per charge cycle. It took less than two hours for the case to fully charge when connected to a laptop.
HiFiMan TWS600 Performance
12,999, the HiFiMan TWS600 competes with options like Samsung Galaxy Buds, Apple AirPods (2nd generation), RHA TrueConnect, and more. However, the sound was quite different from what we expected in this segment, largely due to HiFiMan’s unique sound tuning and topology diaphragm drivers powering the earphones. HiFiMan recommends a considerable amount of burn-in time before evaluating the sound, and we made sure they had about 15 hours before we started our review.
We used the OnePlus 7T Pro (Review) as the main source device for our review, along with Spotify, YouTube Music, and our collection of high-resolution audio tracks for music. We also tested the headset for voice calls.
Starting with Dirty Sexy Money by David Guetta, we immediately found the HiFiMan TWS600’s sound signature neutral and balanced, not leaning toward any specific part of the frequency range. The punchy synthesizer elements weren’t as aggressive and powered as we’ve heard on competing true wireless earphones like the Samsung Galaxy Buds. The attack could be felt somewhat in the sub-bass, but we didn’t hear any special treatment in the mid-bass frequencies.
Vocals in the track certainly sounded more defined and clear than on any other true wireless earphones, and there was significant glare at the top that almost led us to believe these earphones are tuned for a bright sound. We liked a lot about them – the sound was clean and defined throughout the range.
Switching to a higher-resolution version of Michael Jackson’s You Rock My World brought out the best in the HiFiMan TWS600. Although it sounded a bit bright at times, we were impressed by the level of detail and insight brought to the track by the earphones. With a distinct sense of direction and approach, we were able to hear a lot more than usual in the track. Turning the volume up too high made things a bit faster; The TWS600 was best used at volume levels below 50 percent.
Then we tried Close to You, a busy high-resolution track by Australian electronic group Avalanche. The presentation was rather clean, the song’s various synth elements and samples never getting lost in the mix. We were also impressed with the soundstage and imaging, with the HiFiMan TWS600 offering immersive and clean sound reproduction.
Speaking of voice calls, we were particularly keen to test out the quality of the microphone, given that HiFiMan itself has expressed doubts about its ability to pick up our voices. In practice, this wasn’t really a problem, and the sound was acceptable on both ends of the call in most environments.
The HiFiMan TWS600 is a bit of a misfit in the true wireless segment, which is different for every major competitor in every way. While most true wireless earphones offer a more traditional sound signature, HiFiMan also sticks in its own way with its first true wireless headset. You get a clean, detailed and balanced sound that is refreshingly different and better suited to audiophile sensibilities.
The sound can sometimes sound too loud and loud, and bass lovers will find the lack of punch on the low end disappointing. Other than that, the design is polarizing, and the all-plastic bodies of the units are certainly disappointing at a price exceeding Rs. 10,000. However, if you’re looking for a balanced, wide pair of true wireless earphones, there is little that can compete with the HiFiMan TWS600.
worth: Rupee. 12,999
- wide, balanced sound
- Nice presentation, soundstage
- good battery life
- no aptx support
- Odd design, plastic construction
- can sometimes make a loud noise
Rating (out of 5)
- Design / Comfort: 3
- Audio Quality: 4
- Battery Life: 4.5
- Value for money: 3.5
- Overall: 4