In this MW07 review, we take a look at the newest audio product from New York-based Master & Dynamic (M&D). Are these true wireless headphones worth the premium price?
One of the more interesting audio developments in recent years has been the introduction and steady rise of true wireless earbuds. Nearly two years after its arrival, Apple’s $159 AirPods continue to dominate this market. As a result, many competitors have elected to launch similar products at around the same price. The well-received Jabra Elite 65T, for example, retails for $169, while the Samsung Gear Iconx is $150.
While you can buy true wireless earbuds for under $100, a lot of attention has focused on the other end of the marketplace. Products like the $200 Bose Soundsport Free and $330 Bragi Dash Pro come to mind. Recently, M&D joined the fray by introducing its first pair of wireless earbuds, the MW07s.
Priced at $300, these are definitely expensive. The more pressing question, however, is whether the buds are worth it. And perhaps for our readers, whether they are worth buying over AirPods.
First, a little bit about M&D, which got its start in 2013. What drew me to the small company’s products in the first place a few years ago was its attention to detail and use of high-quality materials. This combination has allowed the company’s audio products to stand out and also provide terrific sounds. (My favorite Master & Dynamic product remains the MW60 over-ear wireless headphones.)
It’s clear when it came to creating the MW07s, M&D’s again focused on these two points.
From a design perspective, these are simply gorgeous. Featuring handcrafted acetate, the MW07s are available in four unique color combinations, tortoiseshell, matte black, steel blue, and grey terrazzo acetate. Each pair offers custom 10mm Beryllium drivers and comes with a charging case, USB adapter, USB-C charging cable, and canvas pouch.
The MW07’s premium look is not a good enough reason to pay a premium for this type of product, however, not when its footprint only measures 25mm x 22.2mm x 28.3mm. In fact, when M&D calls the product’s stainless steel charging case “hand-polished,” I’m convinced what it really means is expect to hand-polish this often. (Yes, the stainless steel looks terrific, but it’s also a magnet for fingerprints.)
What does make the MW07’s premium price worth it? The proprietary “fit wings,” which you can see here:
These wings, which come in two sizes, provide an extra secure in-ear fit. Couple this with the five ear tips that also ship with the product, you’re sure the find the perfect size.
This is a big deal. I’ve tried many true wireless earbuds in recent years, including Apple’s AirPods. None has fit as well as the MW07s. I can wear these to the gym, on a walk or run, and even while lounging in a chair. At no time did either of the buds fall out of my ears.
Other important details
The MW07s are less successful when it comes to battery life. They offer only 3 1/2 hours between charges, compared to the five hours provided by similar products on the market including AirPods. Luckily, you can gain 1 1/2 hours of playtime after a 45-minute charge and a full charge after 1 1/2 hours. The charging case offers three additional battery charges, for a total of 14 hours of total listening time.
The buds offer IPX4 splash resistance, which means you can sweat on them and walk in the rain. You shouldn’t, however, take them for a dip on the pool. At 9 grams each, the MW07s are lightweight, although not as much as AirPods (which are 4 grams each).
About the sound
The audio quality found on the MW07s is suitable for most users. You’ll hear a somewhat muted dynamic bass at the medium and high levels with crispness throughout. The sound profile (which you can’t change through an app like other products do) works for various forms of media, including music, videos, and podcasts. And yes, the audio matched what was happening on a video on my iPhone.
I was less impressed with the sound quality when making calls with the MW07s. It was often hit or miss, especially when walking around outside. If you make a lot of calls throughout the day and want to use earbuds, stick with AirPods.
M&D was more successful when it came to physical controls on the MW07s. The left earbud features tiny volume control buttons that work well. On the right earbud, you’ll find a button to activate your voice assistant, either Apple Siri or Google Assistant, plus play/pulse.
The MW07 also features proprietary antenna technology and optical sensors that detect in-ear placement. Thanks to this feature, the audio turns on/off automatically without delay.
Wrapping it up
M&D’s first attempt at wireless earbuds is a mixed bag, but a step in the right direction. The MW07s aren’t perfect, but no true wireless earbuds are at this point.
On the plus side, the MW07s are among the most comfortable and attractive wireless earbuds on the market. More importantly, they provide a secure fit, regardless of what you’re doing. On this point alone, I consider the MW07s superior to Apple’s AirPods, despite the premium price.
The MW07s do have drawbacks that can’t be denied.
Offering only 3 1/2 hours between charges is disappointing and could be a deal-breaker for some. Also, while the decision to provide a stainless steel case wasn’t a surprise given M&D’s pedigree, it was a messy choice nonetheless. Perhaps a future MW07 version should ship with a leather-covered charging case instead.
And this is where I’d like to end this review — the future.
No doubt, we’re seeing a lot of first-generation true wireless earbuds making the rounds. Like everything else in tech, these initial versions are works in progress. The MW07s are good; no doubt, the next model will be even better.
You can purchase the MW07s through the Master & Dynamic website.
Which true wireless earbuds are your favorite? Let us know below.