Master & Dynamic (M&D) has just released the $349 MW08 Sport, an almost identical set of true wireless earbuds to the company’s MW08, which it debuted earlier this year for $299. So what makes the MW08 Sport so er, sporty? And why do they cost $50 more than the regular MW08? It pretty much comes down to weight and wireless charging.
The original MW08 are a stellar set of active noise cancellation (ANC) earbuds, with fantastic sound quality, battery life, and ergonomics. But their slick-looking all-metal charging case, at 2.8 ounces, weighs considerably more than most charging cases and it doesn’t support wireless charging.
The MW08 Sport address both of these aspects. Their charging case weighs almost a third less (1.9 ounces) and is fully wrapped in Kevlar fiber. The Kevlar — which could easily be mistaken for carbon fiber thanks to its distinctive checkerboard look — not only lightens up the case and protects it from impacts and abrasions, but also makes wireless charging possible.
The MW08 Sport earbuds are also a tiny bit lighter too (though not as dramatically changed as the case), having shaved 0.01 ounces off the weight of the MW08. This was accomplished through the use of sapphire glass on the outer face of the earbuds, instead of the ceramic material M&D used on the MW08.
Needless to say, only the most sensitive ears will be able to detect such a small difference, but what will be noticed immediately is the addition of two sizes of memory foam ear tips. These are in addition to the normal five sizes of silicone ear tips.
M&D claims these foam tips provide a more secure fit than the silicone versions, which it feels helps to justify the “sport” designation.
When I reviewed the MW08, I noted that their design placed most of the earbud mass away from the outer ear, which meant you could really feel the earbuds with each footfall, something that was especially noticeable when running.
M&D sent me an advanced set of the MW08 Sport to try, and there’s no doubt: The foam ear tips do offer a more secure fit. However, because they still weigh about the same as the MW08 and their mass is still mostly outside the outer ear, you’re still quite aware of them when running. Any concerns about them working their way loose are more or less dealt with, but you may still find it tiring to wear them for extended periods of activity.
With the exception of the weight, the charging case, and the new foam ear tips, the MW08 and MW08 Sport are identical. They both feature the same 11mm beryllium drivers and awesome sound quality. Among the other features that they share are up to 12 hours of battery life per charge (with an additional 30 hours of power in the case), intuitive and tactile control buttons, effective ANC, and the ability to use the right earbud independently for calls and music.
As much as I’ve grown very fond of being able to wirelessly charge my devices, I’ve always found the $50 premium that Apple charges for thea bit steep.
And while M&D charges the same amount for its wireless option, it delivers way more value. By making the case lighter and more durable in addition to its wireless charging capability and throwing in the extra foam ear tips — which you can pay up to— the Sport’s 16% premium over the regular MW08 feels like a worthwhile investment.
The only thing I don’t understand is why M&D felt the need to sell the MW08 Sport as its own discrete model, instead of simply offering the Kevlar charging case (and ear tips) as an optional upgrade to the standard MW08.
As a tie-in with the MW08 Sport’s new wireless charging capability, M&D also decided to create its own 10-watt Qi charging mat for those who may not own one. The handsome, fabric-topped circular MC100 charger should protect any device you place on it, while a machined aluminum bottom surface is intended to efficiently dissipate any heat that builds up during charging. Curiously, despite the MC100’s $69 price, it doesn’t come with its own power supply.
You can order the MW08 Sport and the MC100 charging pad starting today at masterdynamic.com.