With the latest technologies implemented and feedback from S80 users, Astrotec releases their latest true wireless earbuds, the S80 Plus with a more affordable price tag.
- Comfortable and secure fitting
- Sub-bass rumble
- Non-fatiguing sound
- Good clarity and detail retrieval capability
- Classy and modern charging case design
- Small earbuds
- Bad voice pick-up for microphones
- Relatively short battery life for earbuds
Where To Buy
The Astrotec S80 Plus is available on:
Founded in 2002 by several members with long experience in the audio industry, Astrotec believes in the concept of “continuous exploration”. The brand name “Astrotec” is made up of Astro (Astronomy) and Tec (Technology), which carries the meaning of embodied technical exploration and pursuit. Astrotec utilizes cutting-edge technologies in producing their products, to deliver better listening experiences to consumers.
In November 2019, I reviewed the first generation of S80 – a solid pair of true wireless earbuds at an affordable price. It also built up my faith towards this relatively young Chinese company. I’m glad that Ryan from Astrotec informed me of the S80 Plus when it was launched and generously arranged a review sample for me.
We will find out how S80 Plus is different from the S80 in this article! Let’s go!
- Battery Life: 20 hours
- Connector: USB Type-C
- Wireless Charging: No
- Battery Capacity: 500 mAh
With a relatively pocket friendly and portable charging case, Astrotec S80 Plus has a battery life of 25 hours – 5 hours on earbuds and 20 hours on charging case. It’s definitely more than sufficient to last you more than a day, even if you’re a heavy-user of true wireless earbuds. For those who use it for daily commuting like me, it can last you three to five days for each full charge.
The USB type-C charging port is located at the side of the charging case. There is no fast charging or wireless charging on S80 plus. It takes around 1.5 hours to fully charge case.
- Can be open easily with one hand: Yes
- Pass the shake test: Yes
- Light Indicators: Display battery level of the charging case and charging status
It’s possible to open the case with one hand – use your thumb to lift the lid from the small groove between the lid and the case. The earbuds are secured in the charging case with magnets.
There are four LED light indicators on the charging case to display the battery level of the charging case – four lights indicate fully charged and you should charge your case when there is only one light. Besides battery status, it also shows the charging status of the earbuds – lights on when the earbuds are being charged.
- Shape of the case: Rectangular
- Material: Plastic with cloth covering the bottom half
- Build Quality: Good
The charging case of S80 Plus is rectangular. The bottom half of the charging case is covered with a layer of fabric. This design is similar to the S80. Besides Astrotec, Sennheiser is using the similar design on both generations of their Momentum True Wireless. This design is very classy and modern. The overall build quality is great. There is always a satisfying “click” when the lid is closed.
- Weight: 53g (With earbuds inside, 5g each side)
- Volume: 6.86cm x 4.37cm x 3.02cm = 90.5cm cu (~5.5 in cu)
- Portability: Good
As mentioned in the previous section, the charging case of the S80 Plus is pocket friendly and highly portable. It can be easily stored in a pocket or bag. I prefer to store it in my bag because I don’t like to have items in my pocket, aside from my phone.
- Battery Life: 5 hrs
- Charge Time (15mins): Around 90 mins playback time
The earbuds of S80 Plus can give users a maximum of 5 hours of continuous playback – not the longest in the market but I think it’s sufficient for most scenarios. If you need to use it for more than 5 hours, simply place the earbuds back to the charging case for 15 minutes; the S80 Plus will be able to serve you for another 90 minutes.
- Control Mechanism: Touch
- Touch Accuracy: Good
- Control Symmetry on both earbud: Yes
- Mono Use: Yes on both side
- No missing controls, all essential controls can be done on earbuds
- Voice command can be triggered by touch sensor
S80 Plus utilizes touch control. The touch area is big and covers the whole faceplate of the earbuds. This is great because this maximizes the chance of the touch sensor registering the gesture and trigger respective functions. The touch accuracy is high. It is able to detect most of my touch.
The control on both earbuds are highly symmetric – users are not required to spend time memorising what are the controls on each side of the earbuds. For those who are using voice commands, S80 Plus allows you to trigger the voice command by the control on the earbuds.
- Profile: Low
- Material: Plastic
- Comfort: Good
- Fit: Good
This is the area where S80 Plus improves the most from the S80. The form factor of the earbuds reduces significantly. It has good insertion and there is almost no protrusion from the ears. I wore it for a 10km run and I didn’t feel any discomfort or irritation – a happy surprise!
- Noise Cancellation: Average
- Voice Pick-up: Bad
I tested the voice pick-up of S80 Plus under two scenarios – quiet and noisy background. The S80 Plus seems to be unable to recognise and pick-up my voice accurately. In a quiet background, my voice can barely be heard from the recording. In a noisy environment, the microphones successfully suppress the noise partially. However, it still does not pick-up my voice.
For those who are thinking of using the S80 Plus for calls, you better think twice. It’s definitely not suitable.
- Driver: Biological dynamic diaphragm
- Sound Signature: Warm and smooth
- Sub-bass: Good
- Bass: Good
- Mids: Good
- Treble: Average
- Sound Detail: Average
Overall sound quality
The S80 Plus has a warm and smooth sound signature, which is well-received by a lot of entry-level audiophiles. It’s comfortable to listen to and the warm presentation tends to tame the sparkle in the treble. This makes S80 Plus a great choice for both warm lovers and those who have lower treble tolerance.
Powered by a dynamic driver, the S80 Plus has good extension on the sub-bass. The rumbles from the sub-bass can definitely fulfill the crave of bass-head audiophiles. Despites having great rumbles, the bass is well-controlled. There is no significant bleeding towards the mids. The overall clarity is well-preserved.
The attack and decay of the bass is average, creating a warm sounding presentation. The rich texture of the bass creates some coloration, making the sound signature to be more musical and fun to listen to. You are not going to get bored!
The mids of S80 Plus have a rich and full body. It exhibits the warmth from the bass. I particularly like the male vocals presented by the S80 Plus. They are full of soul and emotions – with no hollowness or dryness. I can listen to it for hours without feeling tired or annoyed.
Moving to the upper mids, the body starts to become thinner and leaner. This results in an airy and spacious upper mids. Female vocals are silky smooth and sweet. They are well layered with lower mids and bass – the bass is further away from the audiences, punching from the back. There are no congestions between them.
The highs on S80 Plus are slightly weaker compared to the lows and mids. The spotlight is mostly on the lows and mids. This is one of the most common issues for warm sounding IEMs or earbuds. However, despites having less focus, the treble is still well-maintained – well-extended and free from distortion.
High quality treble is one of the criteria for a pair of earbuds to sound clear. S80 Plus definitely fulfills this prerequisite. As earbuds within the price range of USD$60, the clarity and detail retrieval capability of S80 Plus is great. While preserving the clarity, it tames the treble to cater to those who have lower treble tolerance.
- Audio Codec: SBC and AAC
- Bluetooth Version: Bluetooth Version 5.0
- Auto-connect when: Taken out of case
- Average drop-outs in an hour: 3 – 4 times
- Multi-point connection: No
Two codecs, AAC and SBC, are supported by S80 Plus. As most of my devices are from Apple, I normally use AAC. S80 Plus has an average connection stability. I tested it for my 10km jog and experienced multiple signal cut-off, especially at areas with stronger signal interference.
S80 Plus will automatically connect to the last connected device. There is no multi-point connection available on S80 Plus. However, as I mentioned in my review on EarFun Air, at the price point, I didn’t expect this feature.
- IP Rating: IPX5
S80 Plus has an IP rating of IPX5. This is more than sufficient for normal sport usage. As mentioned in the earlier section of this review, I tested the durability by bringing it for a 10km run. Tested and proven, it is definitely suitable for sport usage.
For more rugged sports such as mountain climbing or jungle tracking, users might need to be more cautious because the shock proof is not tested and the microphone openings on the earbuds might be vulnerable to mud or sand.