Well, well, well, turns out HIFIMAN also decided to join the intense TWS competition. I was mildly surprised to see a highly Hi-Fi focused brand like Hifiman to come up with a TWS earphone. Of course, big Hi-Fi brands like Sennheiser already came up with their Momentum TWS but they’ve been producing Bluetooth products for a while now. I guess it could be considered foolish for not joining this trend since TWS is what most consumers are nowadays looking for.
However, I was quite skeptical of how Hifiman is going to manage with this because even before we talk about TWS, Hifiman isn’t so familiar with Bluetooth from the first place. Well, but I’m certain that Hifiman hasn’t come up with the TWS600 in a rush but spent enough time doing research and developments. Will this one live up to the expectations? Let’s take a look at the TWS600 and see how Hifiman did with their TWS.
The packaging for the TWS600 looks more sporty and somewhat less “geeky”. Nothing standing out from the packaging but it’s a familiar look. Other than the earpieces, it includes a dedicated case, a charging cable, a good amount of silicone and foam tips, and some paperwork. Doesn’t feel to be including much accessories if I call them out like this, but it includes all the essentials with a variety of eartips.
Earpieces –Specs and features
TWS600 sports an 8.5mm Topology dynamic driver. There’s a good reason why this one has a numbering of 600 – it uses the same driver from the good old RE600 but with the new Topology technology. Let me talk about the Topology tech after going through the technical specs.
Bluetooth 5.0, IPX4 resistance
Frequency response: 20Hz-20kHz
Weight: 5.9g per earpiece
Earpiece playtime: 5.5 hours
Charging case capacity: Extra 33 hours
Full-charge: 1 hour for the earpieces / 1.5 hours for the case
I’ve previously addressed this before, though Topology diaphragm refers to a driver coated with a unique nano-coating which is distributed in a specific geometric pattern or thickness. Hifiman claims that varying the shape, pattern, and thickness of this geometric coating will manipulate the sound signature and characteristics, making them able to achieve the very specific sound they’re looking for. Hifiman began applying this technology starting from the release of RE2000 / RE800 variations and this is their third model to be applied with it.
Design and comfort
The looks on the TWS600 is very different from formal Hifiman products, having that unique, asymmetrical appearance. This is likely done to provide a better fit and it actually does snug into my ears comfortably. The faceplates have that Terminator-looking design with the center button lighting up as red during booting or charging. The color of the light changes to purple during pairing mode as well as blue when it’s fully charged. The earpieces stay nicely secured even during intense workouts or running and don’t cause any pain or fatigue.
Playtime and connectivity
I’m actually amazed by the technical performance these have. First of all, the playtime. I’m not much of an expert when it comes to TWS, though 5.5 hours was more than good enough to use without having concerns with battery life. Most people, including me, don’t actively use earphones for more than 5 hours at once and I haven’t encountered a situation where the battery ran out in use. If you use more than 5 hours straight.. you probably shouldn’t for the ears’ sake.
Second, the range. Hifiman released testing footages where they’ve mark 150m (490ft) distance away from the device and still not having a problem with the connection. This was done on an obstacle-free environment so you probably won’t get the same numbers in your daily life, but I was able to get a seamless connection while keeping a distance of 3~3.5 meters with doors and obstacles.
Charging and latency
This case is a cute one. Round, small, and relatively light. It has magnets strong enough to stay clamped and secure and a battery capacity to provide TWS600 with an extra 33 hours of playtime. It uses a type-c charging cable and gets fully charged within 1.5 hours. I also like that they’ve added a rubber padding on the bottom to prevent it from rolling around on the surface. The case feels solid but slightly vulnerable to scratches.
The stability is also what I’ve found to be outstanding. I honestly don’t think I ever had a connection lost while hanging around in crowded places or in metros while my Whizzer TP1 and Soul X-Shock did on some occasions. I’ve been spending quite a long time with the TWS600 now and I don’t remember having a connection lost at any point in time.
The earpieces would pair with saved devices extremely fast and ready to be played even before I stick them into my ears. The latency wasn’t an issue either. The sound stays very well synced and closely intact with the video speed. The lips from the video match with the sound without a problem.
Sound signature: Lows / Mids
Hifiman suggests having more than 10-20 hours of burn-in time before making claims about the sound, so I’ve spent some good amount of time before writing my impressions. TWS600 has a rather flat, mid-centric sound signature. Bass feels calm and fast, not leaving much reverbs or rumbles. It rather lacks depth and extension on the lower side. The dynamics also seem to be too weakened to provide enough musical details.
The vocals feel materially soft, so it doesn’t feel spikey or harsh in the ears, however lacks texture details. The imaging feels to be very slightly faded out, which I don’t mean it’s blurry, but enough to detect the mids to feel a bit somewhat “far”. It’s close to a feeling of a 3D sound field being applied. It’s appreciable since this isn’t so excessive and doesn’t harm the naturality too much, but the lacking depth just makes the overall sound signature to be missing something.
Sound signature: Highs / etc.
Maybe if they removed or lowered the 3D-ish effect and rather pulled the mid-range imaging forward? That actually could have resulted in really neat and beautiful sounding vocals actually. It’s overall okay (mediocre), but for Hifiman? It could have been better.
While I’ve been saying this from an audiophile perspective who would be listening to music, I could probably pitch this up to the very top if we’re talking about listening to voices. Mids keep a good distance without getting veiled or overwhelmed by the bass, so it provides a very comfortable listening experience. The vocals are quite thin in thickness and work better with female vocals. There are lots of air and openness, making the sound refreshing without getting the ears fatigued. There are no sibilance and overall sounds very comfortable and flat.
Highs are recessed and have a similar quantity to the lows. The details are clearly displayed, but a bit far distance as well as that “3D effect” making the striking force pretty weak. The extension and extensions are okay though. The soundstage is slightly better than mediocre and the 3D effect I’ve been saying highlights more on the spatial perspective, leaving a possibility for some to feel this to be artificial.
Solely paying attention to the drivers, I could detect right away that these drivers have huge potential. Those lush tonality and texture unique to the topology divers I felt from RE2000 and RE800, they’re definitely there.
Unlike wired ones, software tuning is a crucial part of tuning a TWS IEMs. The technical parts were nailed hard and all ready-to-go, though I think TWS600 needed a bit more brewing time on tuning the software before hitting the market. For the current price, TWS600 is still a good choice to make just for its technical performance, but I believe the hurdles need to be set higher if it’s from “the” Hifiman.
There would be doubts if you are looking for an outdoor replacement for your serious audiophile gears, but for watching or listening talk shows, typical YouTube videos, and exercise music? I’d still be confident enough to recommend in these cases. I’m happy using these as my EDC, but I’ll still be keeping my fingers crossed and wait for a real, proper “audiophile-grade” TWS IEM from them.
Thanks to Hifiman for providing TWS600 in exchange for an honest impression/feedback.
I am not affiliated with Hifiman and none of my words were modded or asked to be changed.