With the Ag TWS04K, Final’s wallet-friendly earphone brand brings not only the biggest battery life we’ve seen, but also some solid audio chops, too.
If you think you’ve seen every audio brand rock up with a pair of truly wireless earphones, think again, because there’s at least one new brand out there, and it may well surprise.
Japanese high-end audio brand Final is entering the market with something that aims to trickle down some of its expertise into a pair that doesn’t quite match the more expensive price tag its gear is known for, coming in the “Ag” brand. In Australia, Final and Ag are being distributed by Busisoft, and for Ag’s first local releases, there are two products, with a pair of noise cancelling headphones and a pair of truly wireless, the latter of which has a star feature the likes of which we’ve never seen before: scores and scores of battery life.
Easily one of the most concerning parts of owning a pair of earphones with individual batteries in them, Ag’s take on the world of truly wireless earphones aims to impress with a case that includes up to 180 hours of battery, accounting for around seven straight days of listening.
Granted, you couldn’t actually get those seven straight days if you tried, because the earphones hold a maximum of eight hours of charge, and you need to charge the earphones up in the case to get them back up. Plus, no one really listens to their earphones for 24 hours straight, so it’s not as if you’re listening 24/7 for a week.
However it does mean that the Ag TWS04K can promise a week of battery life for your regular day-to-day, and possibly hit closer to a month of charge.
Just imagine that: one month without needing to charge your earphones. A month without needing to reach for the USB cable, without needing to think that “oh no, the earphones in my bag are at risk of having no life”.
That’s what Ag feels like it’s trying to solve with its first Australian release, the TWS04K earphones, and yet there’s also another reason these are here, and it might just surprise you.
Design and features
The first pair of earphones out of a brand new to Australia — and a fairly new brand, at that — the Ag TWS04K are a decidedly diminutive pair duo, matching two tiny earphones in a bigger case. It’s not that much of a bigger case, mind you, but at roughly twice the size of the AirPods case, it’s a larger case than some of the smallest earphones, for sure.
Inside that case is a 2600mAh battery — bigger than some phones — while the TWS04K earphones sport a 45mAh battery each, and then there’s the other features.
While the Ag box doesn’t give much away — our katakana and kanji is very rusty, and this box hasn’t exactly been translated for us — there’s support for Bluetooth 5, aptX, and AAC thanks to the Qualcomm QCC3020 chipset, as well as IPX7 water resistance, meaning there’s a little more than mere sweat resistance here, though you can’t go swimming with them. Five sizes of Final’s Type E tips are included in the box, alongside alongside a manual which unlike the box is actually in English.
Open the charging box and look at the earphones, and you’ll be treated to a simple design that’s easy enough on the eyes and looks to be good for most ears.
There’s a single button on each side, with different presses doing different things. Once for pause and play on either side, or hold down until it beeps once on the left for going back a track, and on the right for moving forward. Press that button twice on the left earphone and you’ll raise the volume, twice on the right and it lowers it.
Surprisingly, the simple design of the Ag TWS04K actually means they’re ambidextrous earphones, in that they work on either side.
That’s unusual in an era where earphone pieces are typically moulded to one ear, left and right specifically, and these even support charging on either side. They are marked with “L” and “R” for left and right, respectively, so if you do muddle it up, you can fix it, but we’ve found your phone will always only connect to one side: whichever you paired it with.
Thrust them in your ear and you mightn’t find a properly perfect seal, so we’d suggest twisting them a bit. There’s no right or wrong way to use the Ag TWS04K, thanks in part to that ambidextrous design, but finding a proper seal isn’t super easy.
We found we had to twist it a bit to get Ag’s ear tips to be comfortably blocking out the world, and even then, they didn’t quite nail that.
Fortunately, you have the sound to help with that, and this is an area Ag isn’t afraid to show off a bit.
Just like we do with all earphones and headphones, we’re running the Ag TWS04K review through the Pickr Sound Test, which you can listen to for yourself, and that starts with electronic, with a tight rendition of Tycho’s “Glider” and Daft Punk’s “Contact”, offering a detailed and spacious delivery of each. At first, the sound is a little bright with plenty in the highs and mids, and a little bass, too. In “Glider”, we could hear the big drop, but it’s not as pronounced as it’s been in other earphones.
In pop, the low end is a little lower in volume than we’re used to, lacking in overall drive and attack. With Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Cut To The Feeling”, the bass punches are noticeable, just not warm, a feeling that remains much the same across other tracks, including those from Ariana Grande, Mark Ronson, and Maroon 5 in our test track playlist. You won’t feel the bass in FKA Twigs’ “Two Weeks”, either, which is something we typically look for.
But the sound is lovely all the same, with the space noticeable. While the earphones are clearly tiny, the sound can feel much bigger than what you’ve thrust in your ears.
Things can feel a little better in rock, soul, and jazz, with a grade of sound not needing to overemphasise the bass too much, and providing a somewhat natural sound, albeit one that can come off a little bright. It’s close to balanced, but just a little off from that.
The result is one that is surprisingly good, with a solid sound that works in most genres, and will be remarkably easy to listen to. We can imagine Final pitching its Ag brand as an approach for folks who prefer a sound similar to what a great pair of headphones can deliver, because the result isn’t far from that. These sound more expensive than what they cost.
The performance is solid enough, but the battery life is on another level entirely, with the case rocking a literal week of battery life.
Officially, Ag places the battery in the charge case at 180 hours, which is basically one week straight of battery life. But since you’ll never be listening that long term, let’s just call it about a month of battery life without reaching for a USB cable to charge it up.
The earphones themselves last for around 6 to 9 hours depending on the volume you throw them on, and that’s not bad, either. It basically places around 20 charges in the case, so you’re going to get between 120 and 180 hours out of the Ag TWS04K, and that’s not bad at all.
If Ag had included noise cancellation, we imagine that battery life would have dropped, but it may not be needed, and we think we know who Ag is addressing with these long-life earphones: people who are afraid the battery will just not be good enough.
We all know people who aren’t quite attuned with wireless and modern tech, even if they choose not to admit it. It might be something as simple as being cautious about tech, or it could just simply be not understanding it, and we’ve certainly seen it with wireless earphones.
People who rely on them might not always trust that they can last the full time they say on the box. Runners might know this, because if a pair of earphones says four hours and conks out at the two hour mark of a three hour run, they’ll be left with earphones doing nothing for the remainder.
This is where we think Ag is focusing the efforts for this staggering battery life. Not on runners per se, but rather on people who might not trust the battery life touted by earphones.
So does Ag relieve these fears? Yes. Yes it does. So much that you won’t need to reach for the charge cable in weeks.
If you don’t decide to use all that battery life for the earphones — because that is a lot of life — you can also use the Ag TWS04K as a battery charger for your phone, giving you a 2600mAh power bank, as well. That’s not the first time we’ve seen that, and Trndlabs offered something similar in the Nova earphones a few years ago, but it’s still handy all the same.
And you’ll get it for a relatively good price, too.
In Australia, the Ag TWS04K will retail for $199.95, making them $200 earphones that sound great and deliver solid battery life, too, plus a way of charging your phone.
What needs work?
Final and Ag pretty much nail everything in the TWS04K earphones, and the result is a really stellar effort for a first try. These are great earphones with an amazing battery matched with a solid price.
But there are two things missing: noise cancellation and ambient modes.
Maybe it’s because we’ve been spoiled by all these noise cancelling earphones turning up, especially since you can find them in truly wireless earphone choices down to around the $200 mark, which is where the Ag TWS04K live. The last earphones we reviewed at Pickr, the Realme Air Buds Pro, weren’t amazingly comfortable and were a little too bassy, but they included a semblance of noise cancellation for the same price.
At an identical price, Ag lacks the noise cancellation and even the hear-through ambient mode, though the latter of these doesn’t really matter. The earphone tips Ag includes still let in some noise we found, and so you can still hear the world as you listen on to your music.
Really, all that’s missing is active noise cancellation, which would be welcome, but isn’t a total surprise. Frankly, we’re expecting that in the next truly wireless Ag model, or even a more secure foam tip which would go a long way to add some passive noise cancellation.
Final thoughts (TLDR)
Despite those niggles, we can’t help but really like what Ag has made in the TWS04K.
The first release for a new brand — kinda, sorta — Ag starts its relationship off with consumers in about the best way possible, with a pair of price-conscious earphones that really deliver.
At $200 in Australia, the Ag TWS04K makes a promising play for people who are afraid of running out of battery life in their sound, and those people exist. We’ve met a few over the years afraid to make the jump to wireless audio either because they thought the audio quality wouldn’t match what they think is possible, or because they were worried the battery would fail and they’d be left music-less. Both are possible, but both can also be dealt with, and the Ag TWS04K makes a case for dealing with these, too: the sound is fairly strong and detailed, and the battery is on another level.
These are not the best earphones you can find, that we can say. But they don’t need to be. Ag has made a killer proposition, with a pair that keeps going and gives you great sounds, too.
If you care more about battery life than anything else, Ag’s TWS04K will give you what you need, and some solid sound, too. You might even replace a charging bank you own with it. Recommended.