Master & Dynamic’s newest audio offering is the MW08 Sport, a refreshed approach to it 2021 series of truly wireless earbuds. Priced $349, they’re available in a variety of colors of sapphire glass: silver, black, blue, and green.
For obvious reasons, they are nearly identical in appearance to the MW08 in both the earbuds and the case. Given they’re $50 more than their counterpart, one would expect an extra feature or two. Indeed, they do come with a couple of which we’ll touch on later.
Our team was provided a pair of MW08 Sport earbuds; I spent a few weeks listening to our favorite music, podcasts, and other audio content to get a sense for the new product.
Here’s the AndroidGuys review of the Master & Dynamic MW08 Sport.
At first blush the MW08 Sport look identical to the MW08 in terms of overall design for the earbuds and the case. They maintain the smaller footprint and forgo the stabilizer fins, something we’re more than happy to live without.
Instead of the polished ceramic materials, the MW08 Sport are made with shatter-resistant sapphire glass. Equally attractive, the black has a great reflective shine and we can imagine the other colors do, too.
Another key difference is the carrying case. Not only does it have a slightly water-resistant and tough Kevlar coating, but it also supports inductive wireless charging. A first for the company, it was one of the only features I found lacking in the MW08.
Despite my best intentions, I’ve never been able to keep the shiny metallic case of previous Master & Dynamic earbuds free from scuffs. I was only too pleased to see and feel the protective coating with the MW08 Sport. And since these are sporty earbuds, you’ll be pleased to know that the case also has an IPX4 water resistance rating.
The case charges up via USB Type-C and has three lights to indicate the level of battery. Master & Dynamic says the case can charge up to 50% in just 15 minutes and we can verify that is accurate. Moreover, it takes about one hour to fully charge the case through cable.
The wireless charging capability is also something I welcome with open arms. It’s not so much that I need it in my earbuds, but when you command around $300 for a pair, it’s almost a requisite in 2021.
The MW08 Sport can be charged with pretty much any Qi-enabled wireless charger which is great for a lot of modern phone users. Should you have a high-end handset that offers wireless charging, you likely have a platter or unit that supports the standard.
Wireless charging makes more sense for accessories than it does for phones, at least to me. It seems more intuitive to drop the carrying case onto a charger when not in use and grab when leaving. And again, when less expensive counterparts include wireless charging, it’s hard to argue the “premium” experience.
Master & Dynamic have also introduced its first wireless charging puck. Available for $69.99 on its website, it’s a sophisticated looking unit that features fabric and aluminum. With a modern design that matches any environment, it takes up very little space.
As far as battery life goes, Master & Dynamic say you should get about 12 hours of playback at 50% volume levels with around 10 hours for ANC mode. The case allows for nearly three more full charges, too. All in, you ought to expect around 42 hours of playback time for a fully charged carrying case.
The MW08 Sport retains the same physical controls from the previous generation and 2021 sibling, something I appreciate. They are easy to locate without looking and respond firmly to pressing. Also great, it takes very little time to figure them out. If you’ve used a pair of Master & Dynamic earbuds, you already understand the controls.
The left earbud has two buttons which control volume levels but long pressing them enables and disables ANC and ambient listening modes.
The earbuds have a built-in optical sensor that can detect when they’re removed from your ear, immediately pausing music. There is an option to disable this feature in the companion mobile app but it does help with battery life.
The MW08 Sport are IPX5 water resistant which is about the only thing that makes these “sporty” earbuds. They don’t have any flashy or eye-catching color pops and look otherwise sophisticated.
I like the tactile feel that comes with a physical button press, and the MW08 Sports are quite responsive and feature a noticeable click. I’ve come to simply pinch the earbuds when pressing as pushing down without support below will cause them to come loose.
When it comes to pairing, the MW08 Sport only allow you to have one device actively paired with them at a time. Should you have a laptop, tablet, or another user in the house that might like to share the earbuds you’ll have to put them into pairing mode (long press right ear bud) each time you switch.
Active noise cancellation (ANC) is present and from what I can tell, it’s very good. Out of the box with the preset ear tips it does a great job of filtering and removing voice in particular. If you plan to wear your earphones in a home office, coffee shop, or library, you’ll find the earbuds let you settle into the audio with no major distractions.
Like their standard model brethren, the MW08 Sport can be managed via an M&D Connect app from Master & Dynamic. Simple and straightforward, it gives listeners a bit of control over their audio experience. It’s off to a good start but we might appreciate more settings such as equalizer.
For more than a few years now I have been a champion of the Master & Dynamic brand. And when it comes to sound quality, I have yet to come encounter one of its products that left me desiring more. The MW08 Sport are no exception and further cement its legacy as one of the best in the space.
Given this is not an audiophile website or one that centers around headphones, but I can recognize quality audio when I hear it. The experience here is right in line with expectations. It’s balanced, full, and crystal clear. Every level of the spectrum is represented equally and I never find myself annoyed or worn down by too much bass.
Depending on my environment or situation, I’ll enable the ambient listening mode so that I can half-listen for someone who may be looking to get my attention. The same goes for ANC, too. I really appreciate that I don’t have to second-guess whether one of the modes is activated.
Taking calls on truly wireless earbuds is always a touch strange if only because it sounds like the caller is inside your head. With that in mind, voice is very clear and balanced for phone calls.
I feel like a broken record, but Master & Dynamic have yet another killer pair of earbuds with the MW08 Sport. I feel very comfortable recommending the brand for people looking for a quality set.
The “Sport” aspect of the earbuds is more or less attributed to their IPX5 rating. And sure, the carrying case has its own water resistance, but these don’t have any outward appearance of being sporty or geared toward a different demographic.
These are premium earbuds in every sense and might be better called the MW08 Plus. That is unless Master & Dynamic have some funky colorways coming down the road. As it stands today, they’re unassuming and not something you’d expect to see in an athlete’s ear.
Do you remember growing up and how dad used to have things that were “his” and you were told not to touch them? That’s exactly what Master & Dynamic products are for me. They are mine, they don’t get loaned out to others, and they’re treated like gold.
At $349 it gets pretty tough to convince people to spend that sort of money on a pair of earbuds. Then again, once you drop that much on something, you’re theoretically buying them for life.
It’s up to you to decide whether it’s worth the extra money to add wireless charging, water resistance, and a tougher carrying case. Along that route, I would feel better if these were $299 with the standard model dropping down to $249.
Learn more about the MW08 Sport true wireless earbuds at the Master & Dynamic website where you can purchase them in a handful of colors.