Full disclosure I got an incredible deal on the headphone, but I’m trying to be as unbiased as possible.
Sub $100 BT noise cancellers
Yes you read that right these are Active Noise-canceling Bluetooth headphones that spoiler alert aren’t garbage, but are in fact are pretty solid.
A simple build done right.
As per all Anker products, the build on these is pretty stellar for its price range. Decent quality hinges that are half plastic half metal, solid smooth polished feeling yokes, and incredibly high-quality pads. They also have an excellent size L and R inside the earcups. I would give these a solid 8/10 for the >$200 price range. They have design cues inspired by both the Sony and Bose noise-cancellers and they pull it off well. Utilitarian but not ugly.
They also come with a very nice hard case, and Micro-B wire, as well as 3.5 mm aux.
The pads, as mentioned before are very good at this price. Quite soft and smooth with adequate padding and deep earcups. The top of the headband is well padded as well, and I didn’t have any issues with hotspots on top of my head.
The cups are well-shaped and fit my quite large ears, as well as having deep cups so my ears don’t hit the driver. What I would point out is that in longer listening sessions, they do get quite warm.
Noise Cancellation and Isolation
Here is where these headphones get quite tricky. Let me give a quick explanation of what the difference is between passive noise isolation and active noise cancellation. Active noise cancellation works by using mics to measure the frequency of the outside noises and then creates an equal opposite sound wave to block those incoming frequencies. Passive noise isolation is creating a physical seal preventing the noise from entering your ear.
Back to these headphones, they have a good seal leading to above-average passive isolation. Now to the active NC, it”s pretty mediocre compared to the Bose or Sony, but at its price point, it works reasonably well. In combination, though, these headphones are very good at blocking out most noise.
Controls Bluetooth and Battery Life
The Bluetooth connection both in terms of distance and pairing speed is above average. This headphone only has SBC, but for its detail retrieval, that’s fine. Multi-device pairing works well.
The swipe/touch controls are the worst part of this headphone. On the right earcup, there is a touch-sensitive control pad. After a while, you can get used to it but it takes a few days. You have to learn to be careful not to brush it accidentally while adjusting the headphones as well.
Battery life is excellent and seems to be above the claimed 20hrs.
These have a pretty consumer-centric sound but don’t sound like a bass-bloated pos. The mid-bass is a bit more pronounced than I would like, but not to the point that I cant listen to them. Eq helps a bit but not as much as I would like. Mids are present but slightly recessed, and detail retrieval is ok. The highs are a tad rolled off but still there. Overall it has a warm semi-detailed sound signature that won’t push away audiophiles or consumers. The weird thing is this headphone sounds better when set to the noise-cancellation. Significantly better in fact. Though with the NC and Bluetooth on, there is some hiss, so I wouldn’t recommend these only as earplugs or for highly sensitive content like ASMR.
The mic quality for phone calls is well above average and is definitely usable.
Overall these things do everything decently, which at the price range leads to a definite buy. If you need a solid Bluetooth headphone that sounds solid, is built well, and has a great warranty, go for it.