I have been looking for a higher-end bluetooth device that would provide longer battery life, call quality, and the latest bluetooth components. I looked at similar products like the BTX2 and did not find anything with stable reviews with mmcx connectors. When I stumbled on a Shanling MW200 review, I knew I found something really different.
It took about 2 weeks before the MW200 arrived. The "Shop" app helped keep track. The MW200 was well packed with plenty of bubble wrap. After unpacking, I was presented with a plain white box with a picture of the MW200 on the front and a small description on the back. Opening up the box and taking off the plastic covering, the MW200 sat in a plastic molded tray- simple, plain and a nice presentation. I ran my fingers over the whole unit, looking at every part of it. The rubber that goes around the neck is supple and soft. This will not break. The reviews say that the ends are made of glass. Both the rubber and the glass felt like the same as my Apple Watch and band. Where the buttons are, the material is hard plastic but not cheap in any way. The buttons are easily felt, as they are raised, far apart enough, and located on the left-hand side. A gold logo "Shanling" was imbedded on both sides.
I looked under the tray and found an instruction manual, charging cable, a nice storage bag, and a small packet of mmcx gap gaskets. The charging cable was usb-A - usb-C. I connected the MW200 to to my MacBook Pro. The usb-c connection is under the unit. I noted that there is no cover for this port and so will be prone to getting dirt into it. Knowing that it is IPX4 means that this might not be a problem.
I also took a look at the instruction manual which is very poor. For example, the instructions are for Android, but not an iPhone. Lacking was instruction for putting the MW200 into pairing mode. Linsoul provided a chat option on their web site and they provided a better instruction manual. Also, if other reviews did not mention an app, I would not know by the manual.
The app allows the user to manipulate the sound through an equalizer, choosing from the multiple codecs, and it provides a better instruction manual. It also shows what codec is being used and how much battery is left. It is simple and smart, but there is room to improve. For example, I could only access the settings and manual for the MW200 if it is connected. One should be able to look at the settings and change them without the connection by having the last settings stored. Second, The expanded manual helped, but there were some holes there too. For example, there are four filters to choose from, but no instruction on what filter does what to the sound. The good news is that the app is evolving, and so there is plenty of room to improve.
It did not take long for the MW200 to charge. When the light turned green, I connected my Pinnacle P1 to the MW200. The rubber gaskets weren't needed. Be careful. These are easily lost-as I have already lost one. I put the Pinnacles in my ears and turned the MW200 on by pushing the button on the top for about 3 seconds. The MW200 did not show up on on my iPhone right away. I turned it off and then entered it into pairing mode by holding down the power button for 5 seconds and saw the button flash blue and red. It showed up on my iPhone and the unit told me it was connected. There was very little sound at first, but after turning up my iPhone all the way and then turning up the volume on the MW200, the volume was more than adequate. So, be aware. Turn your volume up on the source and control the volume on the MW200. I began to explore the app and the sound options, did some additional research as mentioned above, and started putting the MW200 through its paces.
Sound: The sound was wonderful. I had to make sure that I chose AAC and AptX. I could not check out the other codecs because Apple does not support them. Separation and balance was wonderful. Sound stage was amazing. Listening to a piece of music that had a knock on the door, I actually turned around to see where the sound came from! My P1 sounded as good, if not better than they ever did because of the built-in DAC.
Battery: Easily 14 hours.
Quirks: When connecting to my phone and computer. switching to the computer, the sound was consistently skipped for about 30 seconds before stabilizing. Disconnecting and reconnecting the app created this problem; It was supposed to be AptX on the computer, but the app shows AAC; phone call does not interrupt music and so I can miss a call (big issue); have to disconnect the app for codecs to switch; after disconnect, the music does not automatically reconnect and resume; no instructions to update the firmware in iOS phones; and, no mmcx to .75 mm adapter? I want new IE buds for these. Offer a steep discount or include them.
The experience with the MW200 is worth the purchase. Shanling has definitely created ...