In summary over twenty independent reviews of the understated ES110 conclude that it boasts superior piano sound quality resulting in the best affordable digital piano on the market.
With our long history and experience working with acoustic pianos, we know a lot about authentic piano feel and sound. It’s because of this experience that we’ve always been impressed with Kawai’s range of digital pianos and specifically their ability to emulate an acoustic piano playing experience but with all the associated benefits of a digital piano.
The ES110 is Kawai’s most affordable model in their digital piano range, and as a result it’s a best seller. Prospective customers often ask us to compare the ES110 to its competitors from the likes of Roland and Yamaha. We believe strongly in the superiority of the ES110 in the affordable digital piano segment and we happily list the reasons. But because we have a vested interest in promoting the product, we decided to adopt a different approach to arrive at an impartial answer to the comparison question.
We’ve read and watched as many reviews and product comparisons of the ES110 as possible and summarised the results. Product reviews in isolation can be misleading if the writer has a vested interest in selling the product but taken as a group you start to get a good sense of the true quality and comparability of the product. We’ve gone through over twenty reviews of the ES110 to determine what the experts believe the product is good for, who it’s good for and how it compares to its competitors. We’ve listed the individual products reviews at the end of this article for reference.
Summary of the ES110 product reviews and comparisons
Digital pianos can broadly be thought of in two categories; those that attempt to replicate acoustic pianos and those that are built around composing music with a variety of instruments. If you are looking for the former, an acoustic piano experience, almost every one of the reviews states the ES110 is the best option in this price bracket.
Without fail every one of the product reviews would recommend the ES110 as providing excellent value, with most stating that it is superior to the competitive products in the same price bracket. Its rather plain design causes some people to underestimate the ES110 because it looks like an ordinary electronic keyboard, but in reality, its performance exceeds expectations in the critical areas of piano sound and responsiveness of touch.
The following quote from one of the reviews accurately summarises the general sentiment of all the reviewers: “In a world populated by instruments trying to do too much, Kawai tries to do one thing and do it really well with the Kawai ES110. Instead of designing a piano that does other stuff too, they have tried to make a digital piano that comes as close as possible to an acoustic piano.”
The shared view of the reviewers is that if you’re looking for an authentic acoustic piano experience (touch and tone) at a relatively low price then the ES110 is the best option when compared the other products in this price bracket. If you are looking for a versatile fully featured keyboard and all associated bells and whistles then the ES110 not ideal for you. This confirms our view that the Kawai digitals excel in pure piano terms, and given that we are first and foremost an acoustic piano business they fit very well into our product line up.
Here are some of the particular areas which were noted in the reviews as setting the ES110 apart:
Piano sound quality
Almost across the board in all the reviews, the ES110 was rated as having the most authentic acoustic piano sound – this can be attributed to:
Individual note sampling – A digital piano reproduces a recorded piano sound when you play it. The way the recording is made matters greatly to the end sound product. Using their proprietary Harmonic Imaging technology, Kawai record their own EX concert grand and according to the reviews, no other portable digital piano apart from the ES110 in this price bracket has 88-key individual sampling resulting in better piano sound quality.
Highest polyphony rating – “Polyphony” is the term used to describe the number of concurrent sounds a digital piano can produce, which in turn affects how realistic the piano sound is. Only the Kawai and Yahama digitals in this price range boast 192 note polyphony which results in its superior piano sound.
There was strong agreement across the reviews that the ES110’s feel is one of, if not the, most authentic feeling amongst its competitors, down to two factors:
The key sensor is located underneath the middle of the key rather than the tip of the key, affording faster key-playing response.
The introduction of the new action design, named the Responsive Hammer Compact action, is seen as a big step forward and the main reason behind the ES110’s exceptional feel. As one reviewer put it – “it is the new key action now called RHC (Responsive Hammer Compact) that really made it more obvious to me that the ES110 was on another higher level than any portable piano before it in this price range.”
A particularly impressive aspect of the ES110 is in its connectivity – it has a Bluetooth 4.0 connection, which allows you to connect the keyboard wirelessly to iOS or Android tablets.
Weighing in at only 12kgs, the ES110 was rated by many of the gigging musicians as being one of the best portable digital pianos at the price.
Application – who is the piano suited to?
In summary, anyone interested in an affordable digital piano focused primarily on emulating an acoustic piano very effectively. Most often this means beginner to intermediate pianists wanting a home piano home either as their sole instrument or as a second instrument in addition to an acoustic piano but allowing evening and out of hours practice.
Gigging musicians also rate this piano very highly as an excellent portable option able to reproduce an acoustic piano in a performance environment.
The ES110 is slightly more expensive than some of its direct competitors, but the reviewers broadly felt that the price difference is expected and justified based on its superior performance.
Kawai ES110 Specs and Features
88-key fully-weighted keyboard with matte black/white keytops
Action: Responsive Hammer Compact (RHC) action
Touch Sensitivity Options (Light, Normal, Heavy, OFF)
Sound: Harmonic Imaging
19 instrument sounds (8 pianos)
3 built-in song books (over 100 songs)
Keyboard Modes: Split, Dual
Lesson Function (ability to practice each hand’s part separately)
Recording: 1-track MIDI recorder (3 songs)
Sound settings: damper resonance, fall-back noise, damper noise, brilliance, temperament (7 types)
Metronome (100 rhythm styles), Transpose, Fine-tuning
Speakers: 7W + 7W (12cm x 2)
Connections: MIDI In/Out, Bluetooth 4.0, Headphone jacks (2), Line Out (R, L/Mono), Sustain jack
Dimensions: 131.2 x 28.6 x 14.8 cm
Weight: 12 kg
Warranty: 3 years – parts and labour
The ES110 can be mounted on a X stand if you need the piano to be portable or you can upgrade to the HML-1 designer solid stand and F-350 triple pedal bar if the piano is to be used as a home piano.
In summary then, according to the following reviews, the ES110 is a highly impressive and highly competitive affordable digital piano aimed at those wanting a realistic piano experience.
Appendix - Notes from Individual Reviews
Here are some notable quotes from the individual product reviews:
1) REVIEW - Kawai ES110 Digital Piano - Recommended
The previous model ES100 was very good, but this new model ES110 is outstanding for its low price.
In my opinion it offers the most realistic piano playing experience in key action, piano sound, and pedaling of any portable digital piano from any piano brand under $1000 right now.
However, it is the new key action now called RHC (Responsive Hammer Compact) that really made it more obvious to me that the ES110 was on another higher level than any portable piano before it in this price range.
There are obviously many good portable digital pianos under $1000 including Yamaha P125, Yamaha DGX660, Casio PX160, Casio CGP700, Casio PX360, and Roland FP30, and even though all those models definitely offer some good features and you can certainly play piano on them, in my opinion the new Kawai ES110 is a superior instrument if you are mainly focused on playing piano and want the most realistic piano playing experience in a portable digital piano under $1000.
No other portable digital piano under $1000 has 88-key individual sampling that I know of.
So when it comes to selecting a portable digital piano under $1000, in my opinion the Kawai company has "hit a home-run" (again) with their ES110 piano just like they did with their previous ES100.
The quality and ability of the acoustic piano sound and playability to be of higher quality is partly due to the amount of polyphony that is in the sound chip that is in the piano.
One of the more interesting and useful educational features on any of the good portable digital pianos in this price range is what Kawai offers on the ES110.
In my opinion Kawai has pretty much jumped ahead of the pack again and actually for what it does and how it plays as a piano it should be selling for at least $899US instead of its $699US in my opinion...that's how good it is as a piano in my opinion, and I am not easily impressed.
2) Kawai ES110 Review (2017) – King of Budget Digital Pianos?
I can only say that the ES110 offers an excellent value for the money and even an experienced player would be pleased with how it sounds and feels.
I’m not gonna lie, the ES110 has made a great impression on me. I believe this is one of the best digital pianos you can get for under 1000$.
The 8 beautiful piano tones and various settings that allow you to tailor the sound to your taste make the ES110 stand out from its competitors.
It’s still hard to compete with the ES110, which sounds more authentic (to my taste).
The P-115 is probably the most popular digital piano from Yamaha, which is often compared to various keyboards in the 1000$ price range including the Kawai ES110. The Yamaha P-115 is equipped with the fully-weighted Graded Hammer Action (GHS). It’s the same keyboard action as you’ll find in the P-45 (next model down). The GHS is good for the money and provides a fairly realistic playing experience, but to me, it doesn’t feel as realistic and nice to the touch as the ES110’s RHC action. Being about 130$ cheaper than the ES110, the P-115 offers the same amount of polyphony (192 notes), Split, Dual, and Duo Modes, a 2-track MIDI recorder and 50 preset songs for listening and practicing along with. Yamaha’s Pure CF sound source combined with 14W high-quality speakers deliver very mellow and rich sound that lots of piano players just love. That said, it’s still hard to compete with the ES110, which sounds more authentic (to my taste).
3) Kawai ES110 Review – Best Portable Digital Piano
In my Kawai ES110 review, let’s explore this popular choice and in my opinion the best portable digital piano.
For its price, the Kawai ES110 offers amazing value.
It is considered by many the best digital piano under 800 dollars. After reviewing it, I tend to agree with that assessment.
4) Kawai ES110 review
One way is having the piano attached to its own stand and pedal-board for a more permanent home use, making it an ideal practice piano for learners.
Another way to use the piano, of course, is without the stand entirely. This is most ideal for someone that is a working musician and needs to take the ES110 on the road with them.
Notable selling points
o Light and incredibly portable
o Great speaker driver system
o Keyboard brimming with dynamic response
o Great piano and electric piano sounds
o Bluetooth connectivity
The key sensor is located underneath the middle of the key rather than the tip of the key, affording faster key-playing response than some of the springier keyboards available in this price range
What does win hands-down is the ability to split the keyboard right down the middle for the duet feature. In fact, this is a perfect feature for piano teachers. I remember my own piano lessons, sitting side-by-side with my teacher who sat at the bottom end of the keyboard. Whenever he demonstrated a passage, he would play it several octaves below the intended pitch, giving each melodic phrase all the grace and nuance of a clumsy elephant in an undersized tutu.
A particularly impressive aspect of the ES110 is in its connectivity – it has a Bluetooth 4.0 connection, which allows you to connect the keyboard wirelessly to iOS or Android tablets.
For the price, it’s difficult to find fault with this Kawai digital piano. As a gigging musician myself, I recognize the value of its diminished weight.
5) Kawai ES110 Portable Digital Piano Review – Is This Affordable Piano Worth It?
The Kawai ES110 would offer the excellent value for your money, from beginner to experienced players appreciating the features it has to offer. Though it lacks some of the features performers and advanced pianists look for, it has the portability and latest technology that makes it worth it in the long run.
6) Kawai ES110 Review
In a world populated by instruments trying to do too much, Kawai tries to do one thing and do it really well with the Kawai ES110. Instead of designing a piano that does other stuff too, they have tried to make a digital piano that comes as close as possible to an acoustic piano. In this review we’ll find out if it has accomplished this task.
At this price range this is one of the best digital pianos that you can get that actually feel close to an acoustic piano.
o The overall feel of this keyboard is its best feature and if all you want to do is get that authentic piano feel for a reasonably low price then this is one of the best options out there.
There are plenty of other options in this range from many different manufacturers but what Kawai offers with the ES110 is very unique. Whether this will be to your liking or not will completely depend upon your needs. You have to understand that this instrument has only been designed for one purpose and one purpose only – to replace an acoustic piano and it does that job great for its price. Anything beyond that is all a big let down but that is the whole point of this instrument. If you are a pianist then this will make the perfect road and practice companion for you but if you want your digital piano to be versatile and not set in its ways then this is the last piano you should consider buying.
7) Kawai ES110 Digital Piano Review
The weight and feel of the keys is akin to being in control of a more expensive musical instrument.
The ES 110 is also equipped with Bluetooth 4.0 through which the keyboard can connect wireless to iOS or Android tablet. This allows you to tinker with the sounds to your satisfaction.
The Kawai ES110 gives great value for money. It is suitable for gigging musicians and anyone who would like to practice piano at home. Its light which makes it very portable
8) KAWAI ES110 REVIEW
With 192-note polyphony, this piano is suitable for practicing the most complex chords and expressions. Besides, the feature allows you to layer numerous sounds without notes cutting off.
The body feels slightly plasticky; you might underestimate its performance from the feel.
Many people underestimate Kawai ES110 because of its look which resembles that of an ordinary electronic keyboard. But the fact is that two are two worlds apart when their respective performances are compared. Kawai’s performance is incredible.
Kawai ES110 feels very lovely to play. Besides, its sound quality is top-notch across the entire frequency spectrum. You can’t go wrong with this in case you are looking for a portable, simple and easy-to-use piano for high-quality gig performances.
9) KAWAI ES110 REVIEW
Special thing about Kawai ES110 is that the key sensor is located under the middle of the key instead of under the tip of the key. This system allows Kawai ES110 to response faster than other similar priced digital pianos.
10) Kawai ES110 Review: Budget-Friendly Digital Piano
There are lots of improvements on the ES110 over the ES100 which include a new Response Hammer Compact keyboard action, redesigned speaker output, and a Bluetooth MIDI Interface.
As a Music Tutor, I’m opportune to listen to the sound outputs of several digital pianos, but the ones obtained from Kawai’s musical instruments will surely blow your mind.
This amount of polyphony is only offered by Yamaha and Kawai of this range.
The more realistic sound obtained from the ES110 is sampled from the Kawai EX Concert Grand. This sound is rich and incredible on both headphones and speakers.
11) REVIEWED: KAWAI ES110 DIGITAL PIANO
There are few of us that would dispute the fact that Kawai certainly know how to put together a beautiful playing and sounding piano. This also translates to their digital piano range where they implement sounds and engineering techniques recreate the tone and feel of their acoustic works of art. It is little wonder that so many people turn to a Kawai ES series digital piano when looking to learn and play piano at home. It doesn’t take up anywhere near the space of the real thing, and costs a considerably lower amount than an upright or a grand, yet still offers the playability and sound that you would expect from Kawai. The new ES110 is no exception, and being able to test drive it this month left me wondering why I haven’t touched a Kawai in so many years.
There are two main elements to a Kawai digital piano that stand out to not only seasoned players but beginners alike. It is easy to see how the transition from acoustic piano to digital piano and back can be so smooth when you feel the way the keys behave.
Most importantly, it feels like it has weighted hammer action.
The other key characteristic of any Kawai digital piano is undoubtedly the piano tone it replicates. If you are looking for a wide range of synth and organ sounds, then this isn’t the right instrument for you. But if you want a very realistic piano sound, then you can’t go wrong with the ES110
12) Kawai ES110 88-key Digital Piano with Speakers - Gloss Black
Playing feel is superb — Kawai's Responsive Hammer Compact action gives the ES110 the feel of a real acoustic piano, complete with graded hammers. And the sound is sublime: Harmonic Imaging technology and 192-note polyphony deliver impeccable grand piano sound. And with its dedicated line-out jacks, plus MIDI ports, you'll have everything you need to take the stage. The Kawai ES110 does double duty as an ideal home piano with onboard lessons, Dual and Split modes, and Bluetooth for connecting to your smart devices.
13) Kawai ES110 88-key Digital Piano Review
Digital pianos are divided into two main types: those that attempt to replicate analog pianos and those that are built around composing music with a variety of instruments. One of the best representatives from the first type of intermediate piano is the Kawai ES110.
Digital pianos can have a great deal of features. Some are for piano realism. Others are to create better sound, to connect to and from sources and outputs, to make using the piano easier, or to give you more ways to use it. Do some research and come up with a core list of "must have" features and balance that against your budget to come up with the best fit.
It's a digital piano that focuses on replicating a concert piano and helping pianists practice and improve in a portable form
The ES110 has more features and tools than most of the competition. The polyphony is higher, there are more ports, there are extra features, and the included speakers and pedal all add up to significantly more than most digital pianos that cost around $800 include. In general, the digital pianos that replicate concert pianos tend to have smaller feature lists, but that is not true of the ES110.
The ES110 from Kawai is a strong competitor in the area of digital pianos that attempt to replicate concert pianos. It has a focus on learning and practice tools to help serious and new pianists improve their skills.
14) KAWAI ES110 REVIEW – DIGITAL PIANO
The Kawai ES110 is a beautifully designed and well executed mid-level portable keyboard. This piano is the perfect choice for the somewhat niche market of Kawai grand piano fans. If this is you, go out and buy this instrument! We highly recommend the Kawai ES110 to fans of the Kawai grand piano sound who are looking for something portable.
The key word with a Kawai piano is warmth. If a warm piano sound is what you have been looking for you’ve found it in the Kawai ES110! If you want an amazing sounding machine that suites both beginning players and advanced gigging musicians this is a solid option with a classic minimalist aesthetic.
Kawai, unlike some of the other digital piano manufacturers we have covered such as Casio, has a rich history of building acoustic pianos. They are one of the leading grand piano manufacturers in Japan and one of the most popular acoustic piano companies in the world.
The ES110 could be considered a mid-level keyboard but it is targeted at anyone who is a fan of the classic, warm Kawai sound, and anyone looking for a great portable piano option.
The Kawai ES110 is marketed as a portable piano with the sound and playability of a much larger model. We are happy to report that the Kawai ES110 lives up to this claim.
The advantage that the Kawai has over many other portable digital pianos is its shallow depth. The piano is only four inches “deep” or tall, so when you carry it under one arm it fits comfortably.
Understated. Minimal. Contemporary. These are words that can be used to describe the design of the Kawai ES110. Unlike other mid-level portable digital pianos, the Kawai doesn’t try to look like the acoustic pianos it emulates; the Kawai ES110 plays to its own strengths–its slim profile and portability–and simply looks like itself. This aesthetic is carried on to the piano’s keys, which we will be discussing next.
Some players argue that the similarly priced Yamaha P115 sounds better, however the Kawai versus Yamaha sound arguments has been going on since the late 70’s and is ultimately up to personal preference. Let’s break down the biggest factors in what makes these pianos sound different: tone and frequency range. The main difference between the tones of Yamaha and Kawai is that they highlight different frequency ranges. Yamaha pianos sound much brighter and more lively–great for lead playing–because the higher frequencies are boosted. Kawai pianos have a “warmer” sound–perfect for setting a mood or playing melancholic ballads–because they emit louder mid-frequencies which our ears associate with warmth.
Your feeling about the Kawai ES110’s sound comes down to if you enjoy a warm tone while playing. Some players like a brighter sound so they can stand out while playing with a band. Others recognize the value in a tone that is soft on the listener’s ears. Here at Instrument Pro we think a warm piano sound is better suited for solo piano performances. The Kawai ES110 sounds just like its forebears, warm and inviting.
If you are a fan of the Kawai sound then we highly recommend purchasing this piano over a different brand like Yamaha.
15) Kawai ES110
The Kawai ES110 combines strong performance and a very portable weight of 12kg with an affordable price tag, making it a perfect choice for beginners with limited space, or for more experienced players looking for an instrument they can utilize in a wide range of environments.
For gigging use the ES-110, with the included single pedal, will work well on a standard X-frame keyboard stand. Adding the optional HML-1 stand enables the use of the optional F-350 3-pedal unit, turning the ES-110 into a great value for money digital piano for home use.
16) Kawai ES110 Digital Piano Review
Bluetooth MIDI The built-in Bluetooth MIDI interface (can be activated via a key combination) allows the Kawai ES110 to be connected to compatible devices to transfer MIDI commands wirelessly (no wires/cables).
Surprisingly, Kawai’s free “Virtual Technician” app uses this feature to let you make exact adjustments to intonation, hammer and damper noise, etc. via the iPad.
Roland FP-30 and Yamaha P-115 are the options that are priced near to the Kawai ES-110. However, there are many who rate the keyboard action of the Kawai ES-110 and the Roland FP-30 better than the Yamaha P-115.
17) INTRODUCTION TO THE KAWAI ES110
If you decide to go for this keyboard you can rest be assured that you will get one of the best experiences when playing a keyboard.
Considering most other models of keyboards and even its previous model ES100 I would recommend this keyboard for any player who wants to have a unique and great playing experience. Its features make it a more integrated instrument in which you can play a lot of instruments at the same time. This reduces the needs to buy other instruments for your music enjoyment sessions.
18) The Best Stage Pianos
Voted best digital piano at the price.
19) Best Portable Digital Piano (2018): Buyer’s Guide & Reviews
Voted number one in @ Best Piano Sounds” category
This is a great sounding keyboard that is not too expensive, but it is not cheap in quality. It has great hammer action, and plenty of sounds to work with.
20) Kawai ES110
The last compact piano in our review is actually more of an honourable mention. It’s Kawai’s ES110 – a slightly more expensive option in comparison to our previous picks in this category, but there’s certainly a lot of things you’ll love about it that makes up for the high price.
First of all, the ES110 is relatively basic. It comes supplied with only 19 voices, but you’d be amazed at how real and authentic the timbres are. Furthermore, it’s surprisingly light, weighing only 26 pounds (without any accessories, that is).
Another great thing Kawai ES110 brings to the table is the superb speaker system. The speakers are very powerful and deliver a robust sound at all times. Furthermore, the ES110 features Bluetooth connectivity, so you’re set to go if you’re looking for a live performance keyboard that won’t provide you with too many troubles in terms of logistics.
The only real bad thing about it is that it costs quite a lot. Nevertheless, with pure sounds and an incredibly easy to use approach, it goes beyond all doubt that ES110 is well worth the cash.