Aiwa has re-entered the Indian market, with possibly the right product; now is the time to rebuild the brand value
About 20 years ago, in the world of music systems in particular, Sony was aspirational but not really affordable for the Indian middle class. Aiwa, on the other hand, was both aspirational and affordable. But in the years that followed, Aiwa, its then-parent Sony, and other Japanese brands such as Panasonic lost out to Apple, Samsung and others. One of the reasons was the Japanese brands failed to understand changing customer expectations and didn’t have a product the customers wanted. After a hiatus of more than 15 years, Aiwa is now back, and it has possibly started with the right product range, i.e. personal audio devices, one of which is the ESBT-460 Neckless Earphone.
While the design of the ESBT-460 is like any other neckless earphone, you can see and feel the premiumness and attention to detail if you observe it closely. And not just the earphone, in the box you get a storage pouch, and even that feels like a designer pouch. Coming to the sound it reproduces, the bass is deep, the treble is soft on the eardrums, and there is absolutely no noise, just music.
It gets Bluetooth 5.0 (it connects to your smartphone in a second), the claimed playtime is 15-18 hours (the battery can be fully charged in a little over an hour), it has a microSD card slot and so it can be turned into an MP3 player, you get three sizes of silicone ear-tips in the box, and whenever there is an incoming call it produces a soft vibration.
At Rs 4,999, the ESBT-460 is priced too steep, but right now on Reliance Digital and Amazon it’s going for Rs 2,999. Even at this price it’s marginally more expensive than the competition (which offers more or less similar features). It remains to be seen if customers are ready to pay a premium for the quality and the brand. The quality is just right; now is the time for Aiwa to rebuild its brand value in India.
Estimated street price: Rs 4,999 (Rs 2,999 on Amazon, Reliance Digital)