Shanling is a well-known brand among audio enthusiasts for their DAPs and IEMs. This time they have come across their first TWS offering, the Shanling MTW100 that comes with two variants: 1 DD driver variant and 1 BA driver variant. I have the BA variant for review.
The Shanling MTW100 comes in a small box, inside which you'll find the earphones inside the charging case, a type-C cable, a few different sized ear tips, a hand strap and the user guide.
Design, Build Quality, Comfort and Fit
The MTW100 comes with stress-free packaging, we will just have to open the flap cover to find the charging case inside which the earphones are placed. The charging case looks gorgeous with a black gloss finish and an orange accent along the edge. It's a small square sized box and can easily fit into a pocket without forming an awkward bulge. The earphones itself are black in color, with a glossy black finish on the faceplate side and soft rubber finish in the inside portion that touches our ears. The nozzle has a metal grill and the stock eartips are silicon.
The case as well as the earphones are fairly lightweight but sturdy enough to last multiple falls.
The earphones fits in properly and stays in for any light activity, like walking. For me, the stock M size tips did the job however fit issues, if any, can be taken care by tip rolling. I have used it for almost 7 hours straight, I didn't feel any discomfort.
Usability and Functionality
The MTW100 are bluetooth 5.0 enabled and comes with high performance ceramic antenna. It supports codecs upto AAC. The effective wireless distance is mentioned as 10m however if we have walls the connectivity remained intact till 5m. Inside the earphones we have 1 Knowles BA on each side. These are also IPX7 waterproof so can be used outdoors and gives protection against rain or sweat.
The earphones have touch control both the earpieces and have different gestures for different functions programmed to both the earpieces.
The charging case has magnets which pulls in the earphones as soon as you bring it close to their respective compartments. Once inside the compartment, the earphones starts charging and is indicated by the led on both the L and R sides. The charging case has a type-C port and also supports wireless charging although I couldn't try wireless charging due to unavailability of wireless chargers. Besides the charging port, their is a white led light to indicate charging status of the case. Inside the case their are 3 LEDs in line to indicate battery level of the earphones. As per description by Shanling, the earphones have a battery life of 7 hours and the case has a battery life of 17 hours. I'm not sure about the case's battery but the earphones lasted for 7 hours when I was connected on a call continuously. The earphones can be used in mono mode or stereo mode. The right side is the master piece and can be used in mono mode. For stereo, right and left earpiece once taken out of the case, gets connected to each other and gets into pairing mode or gets connected to previously paired device.
The Surrounding Awareness mode is an important feature which lets you hear the nearby sounds. It can be activated/deactivated by touching and holding the right earpiece sensor for 3 seconds. It works pretty well for quieter environments, however in noisy or windy environments, the noise just gets more accentuated. That has happened multiple times, forcing me to switch off the mode. But then, its a good to have feature.
Connectivity is something where I felt MTW100 wasn't good enough. Due to some unknown reason, the audio keeps on panning to left and losing connectivity at times. I tried with multiple devices and yet the same issue kept appearing. At times, this did bother me and is something I believe where MTW100 loses quite some points.
The BA driver is tuned pretty well to give balanced sound. No particular frequency is highlighted and is really good for long listening sessions. The bass is of good quality but might not attract bassheads. For me I never felt it was bass light. It do lacks the impact but would be unfair to expect that from a TWS earphone. The mids are good and I think is well done in Shanling MTW100. I don't have any complaints on that. Highs are good too with good details and air and wasn't fatiguing by any means. I can just go ahead and say that the tuning was really done well for MTW100.
The soundstage is decent with good width and height. The imaging is good with good clarity and resolution. The layering and separation is really good for a TWS. Even for heavily instrumented music, everything came in layers, sounded airy and detailed and was really exceptional. Overall, the sound is something where MTW100 shines amongst numerous TWS available in the market today.
While watching videos, there wasn't any noticeable lag. For games, I would still recommend wired earphones as sometimes a slight lag might get you killed (in game).
Being a TWS, I believe these are extensively used for calls, and should always have a decent performance in calls alongwith the sound quality. MTW100 performs really well for calls. Audio was fairly loud and clear and sounded natural, while person at the other end never complained about the audibility of my voice. The mic seems to be fairly good and is overall a good performer for calls, even for long never-ending office conference calls.
I'm not sure if the connectivity issue is with my unit. But I really wish its just my unit as it would be an easy recommendation without the connectivity issues. Some time ago I reviewed RHA TrueConnect and now I feel, Shanling MTW100 BA is a superior product in all aspects and comes at a much lesser price.
Check out my review of the Astell&Kern Billie Jean wherein I explain in detail various aspects of the headphone including its design, comfort, and performance. Has Astell&Kern outdone itself with the quality and performance with its Billie Jean. Click to find out!