Editor's note: We have changed the rating in this review to reflect recent changes in our rating scale. Click here to find out more.
With a list price of $99 and costing even less online, Panasonic's RP-WF930-S headphones are among the most affordable 900MHz wireless models we've seen. Inexpensive as they are, the WF930s still look and feel like more expensive headphones, thanks to their plush leatherette ear pads and comfortable headband. The headset weighs 9.2 ounces, which is about average for today's wireless models.
The WF930s' silver plastic charger base has a permanently attached, wall wart AC power supply and a stereo hook-up cable that you can plug into your receiver's headphone jack or the stereo output jacks on your TV, DVD player, or computer. The right ear cup houses the volume control.
Panasonic claims the WF930 can receive signals from up to 200 feet away from its base unit, but we found that its useful range was closer to 25 feet. Yes, we could still hear sound beyond 25 feet, but the background noise level became intrusively loud. The headset's two 2.4V nickel-metal-hydride batteries automatically recharge when you place the WF930 in its base, but you must ever so carefully ensure contact with the base's power receptacle. If contact is made, a green LED on the base lights up to indicate that the battery is being charged.
The WF930's pleasantly warm tonal balance was evident on all sorts of music, reminding us of our listening experience with Sennheiser's RS65 wireless headphones. CDs sounded rather mellow and laid back, which isn't a bad thing, though we do prefer the immediacy of our corded Grado SR80s.
The Pirates of the Caribbean DVD demonstrated the WF930s' ability to play nice and loud, making them suitable for the demands of rigorous home-theater duty. Dialogue wasn't as clear as we like, but bass on the sea battle scenes sounded nice and deep. On the quieter scenes, we became aware that the WF930s' electronics were adding background hiss and noise--just like all other wireless headphones we've tested. When we checked out the WF930s' "surround" feature, the sound took a turn for the worse, becoming more distorted and too reverberant for our tastes. We continued in stereo for the remainder of our listening sessions.