Shanling Audio is back again, this time with a TWS (True Wireless Stereo) earphone. In this review, I’m taking a look at the Shanling MTW100 wireless earphones. The MTW100 boasts an impressive IPX7 water resistance rating and great battery life. But does it sound any good? Let’s find out.
Note: There are two versions of the Shanling MTW100. This review is for the white MTW100 which has a single graphene dynamic driver. The red and black models have a single Knowles balanced armature driver.
This sample was provided for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.
Shanling MTW100 Review
Excellent form factor
Secure and comfortable fit
Smooth and resolving audio
No volume control on earpieces
Package and Accessories
The MTW100 experience begins with a small white box. On the front is an image of the earpieces, the same colour as the ones within (remember: white for the dynamic driver, red and black for balanced armature driver). Over on the back is a list of some of the features. Here’s what you get in the box:
Shanling MTW100 wireless earphones
6 pairs of silicone eartips
Charging case with USB Type-C port
USB Type-C charging cable
Matching colour wrist strap
Design and Functionality
Before I get into the physical aspects of the MTW100 white, let’s go over some of the main features.
Bluetooth 5.0, with AAC and SBC codec support.
The white version using 6mm Dynamic driver with graphene diaphragm
The red and black version using a single full-range balanced armature driver from Knowles.
Balanced Armature version – Up to 7 hours on a single charge, up to 24 hours with charging case.
Dynamic Driver version – Up to 6 hours on a single charge, up to 21 hours with charging case.
Touch control for calls and playback (play/pause, previous, next).
Monitor mode, for when you need to hear your surroundings.
IPX7 waterproof rating, meaning the earphones can be submerged in 1 metre of water for up to 30 minutes.
Mono mode is available for both the left and right earphones.
Charging either with USB-C cable or wireless charger.
What? All this for $69 (white version)? Seems pretty crazy right? Let’s move on to the physical design. What I really like about the MTW100 is the form factor; these earphones look and feel much like the pseudo-custom IEM shells that so many of us are now very familiar with. In other words, they’re shaped like a normal earphone, not your regular TWS awkward shells.
The housings are made from glossy plastic and as I mentioned, are shaped just like a regular, wired IEM. They’re very lightweight and smooth all over. On the faceplate, there is a small vent and a Shanling logo.
On the inner side of the shells are the electrical contact points for the charging case. The nozzles are similar to the typical, short TWS type but thankfully, these are more accommodating towards regular eartips, making tip-rolling easier.
The charging case is made with a glossy plastic made in a matching colour scheme with the earbuds. It’s smaller than most cases but the earphones fit comfortably inside, even with larger third-party eartips attached. There are 3 small LED indicators on the inside of the case which display the current battery level. With its small size and rounded shape, the case fits very easily in jeans or shirt pockets.
Comfort and Noise Isolation
Personally, I found these to be extremely comfortable. Not only that but they feel very secure in my ears as well and I can happily go running or do a workout with these. Noise isolation is quite good and when the music is playing I can barely hear any external noise whatsoever. Enabling the monitor mode, however, suddenly makes you aware of your surroundings and I can easily hear the clattering of my keyboard as I type this.
Pairing and Battery Life
As soon as you take the earpieces out from the case they automatically pair together. From there, it’s a simple matter of searching for available devices with your source and connecting the MTW100 from there. I had a flawless experience using my smartphone, as well as several Bluetooth DAPs (Shanling M5s, FiiO M6 etc.)
One of my favourite aspects of MTW100 is the excellent battery life. For the white dynamic driver version, you can get around 6 hours of playback time on a single charge. With around 2.5 extra charges from the carrying case, it adds up to about 21 hours in total.
However impressive the build and functionality of the MTW100 are, it wouldn’t mean much if they didn’t sound good. Well, rest assured, they do (sound good). They have a balanced sound signature that puts a little extra emphasis on bass. Bass, midrange and treble are all represented evenly, unlike many TWS earphones that put a heavy emphasis on bass.
As this white version of the MTW100 has a dynamic driver, you can expect a meatier bass response than the red and black variants. The bass has a nice weight to it with good body and impact. It’s not the most textured or defined bass but it gives you plenty of punch and isn’t boomy nor bloated.
Dr Dre’s “It’s All On Me” has deep, thick bass that can easily dominate on lesser earphones but the MTW100 gives it the right mix of passion and control. It drives the music along effortlessly with an engaging thump that will get you moving to the music.
The midrange is where MTW100 really comes to life. Vocals are rich with good articulation and clarity, plus the lower mids are full-bodied but never thick or veiled. Electric guitars have delicious texture and crunch, essential on tracks like Tacoma Narrows Bridge Disaster’s “Sunday” which sounds gritty but clear at the same time.
Somehow the MTW100 makes vocals silky smooth but at the same time, midrange instruments sound distinct and well defined. The midrange presentation has a natural tone that is neither too warm or too cool – it’s emotional with a touch of warmth but never stuffy.
The treble is light with a touch of sparkle. Although it is positioned further back in the mix it adds enough airiness and energy to the music. There’s no stridency or sibilance presented, just clear treble notes with surprisingly good timbre.
Hi-hats and cymbals sound good and the MTW100 delivers them in a non-fatiguing manner, perfect for on the go listening. This graphene dynamic driver really is quite a well-rounded transducer and sounds good right across the frequency spectrum.
The soundstage dimensions are larger than expected for a TWS earphone. MTW100 presents a natural stage that is fairly rounded with equal proportions of width and depth. Instrument separation is good too, keeping the stage organized and free of congestion. Imaging is on point too; while not exactly holographic, it is quite impressive for an earphone in this price range, especially a wireless one.
Shanling MTW100 (white) vs Astrotec S80 TWS
The Astrotec S80 (review here) boasts a beryllium dynamic driver and advanced touch controls. Unlike the MTW100, the S80 has built-in volume controls, however, they don’t offer the monitoring or surrounding mode that the MTW100 has.
One thing I found quite frustrating about the S80 was any hand movement near my ears would often result in the music stopping as the touch controls are very sensitive. The MTW100 controls, in contrast, feel much more deliberate and consistent. Additionally, I found the extra small nozzles on the S80 did not work well with regular eartips which left my choices rather limited.
In terms of sound, the S80 has a warmer tonality and a thicker overall presentation. It can sound a bit congested and veiled at times compared to the cleaner-sounding MTW100. The midrange is rich and silky but is less textured than the Shanling. Both earphones have a somewhat laidback treble but the MTW100 feels more controlled and airier. Due to its cleaner midrange and less instrument thickness, the Shanling MTW100’s soundstage outperforms the S80.
Shanling MTW100 Conclusion
Not only does the Shanling MTW100 sound great but it has the form factor and comfort of a regular earphone and comes with a small and very pocketable charging case. The external noise monitoring feature is a great bonus feature to have and the battery life is on the higher end of the scale in current TWS offerings. This is currently my top pick for a budget TWS earphone and I absolutely recommend it.