Review: Panasonic RZ-S500W

Packed with technology

Panasonic RZ-S500W serves the best noise cancellation found in a pair of earbuds is combined with good speech sound and a neutral music reproduction. Why is it not enough?

Panasonic S500W black
Karakter
Panasonic RZ-S500W
We think
Good noise cancellation, neutral sound
Lacks dynamics, sounds flat and tame.
Specs
  • Type: completely wireless earplugs
  • Bluetooth: 5.0
  • Waterproof: IPX4
  • Code: AAC, SBC
  • Battery: 4 h + 8 h from case
  • App: Panasonic Audio Connect
  • Weight: 2 x 7 g + 45 g
  • Charging cable: USB C
  • Number of ear cushions in the box: 4
  • Web: panasonic.com
Annons
Annons
forfatter

With the Panasonic RZ-S500W, Panasonic really means business. First, they place themselves in a price segment with tough competition. Secondly, the S500W is packed with technology. Extra large Bluetooth antennas improve stability, and Panasonic believes they have some of the best call quality on the market. Thanks to microphones with beam characteristics. These should be able to catch the voice clearly, even if the ears are located behind the mouth. Which is a bad starting point for good conversational sound. The same technology goes hand in hand with noise cancellation, and Panasonic claims superior noise suppression thanks to both analog and digital noise processing.

In the app you can select different EQ settings or create your own. Here you can also choose whether you want noise cancellation and how much with a stepless lever. Alternatively, you can select Ambient mode, which does the opposite: namely, lets ambient sound through, so you hear when you are talking to. You can also find lost earplugs with the same app.

Panasonic can also call up the Alexa, Assistant and Siri voice assistants at the touch of a button.

Panasonic S500W white
Photo: Panasonic

The sound of the Panasonic RZ-S500W

Finally a wireless earplug with neutral sound! Bass, midrange and treble are exceptionally well balanced, which makes acoustic music sound right, and vocals are allowed to stand out as they should, with minimal echo from the earplugs. The overtones are just not quite as fine-meshed and airy as I would like. It could probably have been better with aptX, at the same time I have heard several wireless headphones with more air than this on my iPhone. And as you know, the iPhone does not support aptX. I guess it therefore has more to do with the sound processing in the earplugs themselves.

Anyway, a box guitar sounds like just that, instead of a Fender electric guitar played “clean” through an amplifier. Eric Lu’s piano has a good tone structure. The bass tones are not too prominent, but it is clear that they are there. At the same time, it sounds good upwards.

But there is something going on. It sounds a bit… flat. There is not enough dynamism here. The worst is when noise cancellation is activated, the music sounds tighter and more dynamic with it turned off. But there is still a little too little life here.

You notice it especially on pop music and other music where the rhythm section gets a lot of attention. Then you can advantageously pull up the bass, and Panasonic’s “Bass boost” function is handy. But it does not become anything more dynamic for that reason, even if you get more fullness. And this despite the fact that Panasonic uses large 8 mm speaker elements in the earplugs.

It only gets flatter the higher you play, and although I like that Panasonic has focused on natural and linear sound, it is important that this is also followed up with enough resolution and thus dynamics. It has to pull a little. It does not here.

When it comes to call quality, there is nothing to complain about. Definitely among the better from such earplugs. The Bluetooth connection is also stable and fine.

Conclusion

The Panasonic RZ-S500W has lots of technology inside, to provide the best noise cancellation they can, combined with the best call sound. And a very stable Bluetooth connection, due to extra large antennas on the inside.

A neutral sound has been sought, and we believe they have succeeded. Instruments and voices sound balanced, no frequencies spoil for others. There is only a little lack of resolution, but it is unproblematic. It still becomes clear that the earplugs lack dynamics. It gets a little anemic, with no kicks anywhere. Not even when amplifying the bass. It’s getting a little too weak. Everything is fine, but we never fall completely in love.

Also in this test

Technics EAH-AZ70W

The icing on the technological cake

Technics EAH-AZ70W has everything you could want from technology in a pair of earbuds, and also excellent sound with great resolution.

Good noise cancellation, neutral and resolved sound
We want more punch

Beoplay E8 3.0

Luxury that finally sits

Bang & Olufsen have tried and failed sometimes with their completely wireless Beoplay E8. Beoplay E8 3.0 is the best so far.

Nice sound with lots of details. Ambient sound that is let through sounds very natural. Wireless range is finally good, and support for wireless charging is fine.
The sound could well have been louder. Touch features are quite knotty, and the Bluetooth connection could have been more intuitive. Not NFC.

Klipsch T5 True Wireless

I really want these earplugs to be good!

Klipsch likes it best when the music is thrown into the listener's face. It also happens here, but we have to make some reservations.

Energetic midrange, lots of dynamics. Fantastically satisfactory charging case.
Coarse-grained and fairly sharp sound.

Skullcandy Sesh Evo

Do what it's supposed to

Skullcandy's cheapest completely wireless earbuds Skullcandy Sesh Evo have rhythmically enough bass, and sound pretty good. When set correctly.

Energetic bass, works for training. Movie sound mode sounds pretty good.
Missing details, especially in the overtones. Default setting sounds woolly. Poor call quality.

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2

Our new favorite

Review: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 - Sennheiser reaches the top with its latest edition of Momentum True Wireless.

Excellent sound quality, improved operation, great fit and - finally - long playing time! Active noise reduction comes in handy in some situations.
Outgoing call sound is a bit more confined than with its predecessor. Sound delay a bit big for action games and movies.

Beats Powerbeats Pro

Still among our favorites

Top-class wireless range, fully-fitted fit - Beats Powerbeats Pro delivers a very engaging sound.

Very engaging sound, and a fit that never falls off. Seamless integration with Siri. Class-leading wireless range.
There are earplugs with better resolution at the very top. Missing some of the features of AirPods Pro.

Audio-Technica ATH-CK3TW

Affordable and good from Audio-Technica

Audio-Technica has finally come up with some completely wireless plugs that fit well in the ears.

Full bass, clear overtones, good call quality. Better fit than previous plugs from the same manufacturer.
The midrange range is too restrained, instruments and vocals lack emphasis here.

Jaybird Vista

Sports earbuds with an impact

Jaybird Vista is stable, and with lots of bass energy! But here, too, some weird choices have been made.

Wireless connection is very stable. The user can customize sound and features.
Dark tone, bass-focused and a fairly sharp midrange reproduction. Only the Sub Band Codec (SBC) limits the sound quality.

Creative Outlier Gold

Good idea, poorly executed

Creative Outlier Gold has some smart stuff in it, but the sound can not be approved.

Full-bodied and rhythmic bass, interesting Super X-Fi function for holographic sound. Fantastic battery life!
Sharp treble, too little midrange. Very "hammock" sound! EQ function does not work outside the app.

Jabra Elite Active 75t

Superior training earbuds

The Jabra Elite Active 75t is perhaps the best wireless training earbuds you can buy.

Effective "passive" noise cancellation, excellent and solid sound and excellent battery life. They are waterproof and firmly attached to the ears, and are therefore also perfect for training.
The effective noise cancellation can create a kind of cheese bell feeling. Operation directly via the plugs is a bit difficult.
ad
Ad

Also check out

JVC XP-EXT1 are the first wireless headphones we've heard with lossless transmission and decoding of real Dolby Atmos and DTS: X. And it works!

Philips TAT8505 has good sound, good speech quality and successful noise reduction. What more could you ask for?

With Celestee, Focal has surpassed what we thought was possible from closed headphones in this price range.

JBL Live Pro+ are complete with active noise reduction, and although they sound mediocre right out of the box, they are saved by a fabulous EQ in the app. Thus, they can still get class-leading sound.

Do you have little space for sound? Panasonic have made a soundbar that sounds much bigger than it looks.

The king of design does it again. Beolit 20 is a beautiful portable speaker, which also sounds good.

Few speakers play as openly and freely as the Yamaha NS-3000, a pair of rarely successful compact speakers, but as they say: Everything has a price.

Making a subwoofer that matches the sound quality of the popular LS50 speakers is not a simple task. But KEF has really succeeded with the KC62!

Bang & Olufsen has made a new pair of ANC headphones for the majority who want something cheaper than the H95.

Lemus Home Artistic is a sound piece of furniture that appeals to minimalist interior designers. And hits right in the centre of bull's eye!

JVC XP-EXT1 are the first wireless headphones we've heard with lossless transmission and decoding of real Dolby Atmos and DTS: X. And it works!

The step up from a soundbar is separate components. But you have to offer more than this.

The Fujifilm X-E4 is the camera for anyone who wants a compact camera with the qualities of a professional camera.

Philips TAT8505 has good sound, good speech quality and successful noise reduction. What more could you ask for?

Tangent's small wireless amplifier is perfect for the small beginner system in the hobby room or in the children's room.

The new Fiat 500 Electric is the most technically advanced ever, and one of the best city cars with a serious range.