Published on October 11th, 2016 | by Varuna Singh0
Sony h.ear Wireless NC Headphones [MDR-100ABN]
Headphone jacks aren’t gone yet. But not worrying about dangling wires on a headset that lasts a really long time? Its liberating. These headphones from Sony are wittingly called h.ear. Its so simple and playful that incorporates both the device and the user in a simple branding synonymous to how VAIO used to be.
It also reflects on the headphone’s design. Mostly metallic finish with reassuring plastic and housing that fits snugly in its case. The head cushions on the top and the ear pieces are colored the same as the headphones. They feel comfortable but they could be better.
These are both wireless and wired headphones. Which means if you run out of charge you can still use the included headphone cable to listen to music. You won’t be able to use noise cancellation if the battery runs out. You can also activate noise cancellation while they are plugged in.
Noise cancellation is by far one of the best I’ve experienced. They do a fantastic job. I’ve tested them on a recent 1 hour flight and the feature works really well there. If you travel a lot, this one is for you.
Sound Quality and Noise Isolation
A good noise cancellation not only isolated and blocks noise, it also does it in a way that the sound quality from the audio drivers doesn’t change. A lot of nosise cancellaiton headphones sound different when you toggle between noise cancellation. These Sony h.ear wireless headphones maintain a similar quality of audio with or without the noise cancellation feature.
These headphones sound really nice and the tones and drivers offer a very neutral and honest sound. Neither the bass or treble are over powered. Some people may not prefer how flat these headphones can be in comparison to earphones but I got used to it and appreciated it after a few minutes with them. They don’t necessarily knock your socks off by amplifying things like bass and other tricks. Needless to say they can get loud too.
They don’t leak a lot of noise when over your head. They cushions on the ear have a decent comfort to them – but nothing extraordinary.
These headphones are also wireless – and this is probably the best executed feature of the headphones. They paired instantly with my iPhone. I did not have any issues with dropping signal and even maintained signal if I was in the next room. These headphones use Sony’s own LDAC wireless technology over Bluetooth. This basically means you get up to 3 times more data transmission which enables higher fidelity audio transmission using aptX. We’re talking about 96kHz/24bit in audio fidelity. More data is also used for error correction that all means you get way better wireless performance. LDAC can also automagically prioritise quality and connection based on the fly. That would explain how the connection is always rock solid with these headphones.
Another neat feature is if you have an iPhone, the Bluetooth symbol at the top of your iPhone displays the current battery level of these headphones. Its really neat and I didn’t realise myself how good Bluetooth related technologies have come.
“Best in class wireless technology & battery life”
Speaking of battery, I’ll be honest – I never really got the chance to charge them. We received a review unit of these headphones and I took about 10 days to review these. I probably used them on average 1 to 2 hours every day. I didn’t even have to charge these headphones. The h.ear headphones are rated to last you about 20 hours with noise cancelling ON on a single charge. Thats about the same as the Bose QC35 which is really the main competitor to the Sony h.ear wireless headphones.
To put the competition in perspective, the BOSE QC35 and the Sony h.ear ON Wireless NC headphones are in the same price range. Sony h.ear ON is priced at AED1399 – a little bit cheaper than the QC35.
These headphones, for the most part are comfortable. But not by a huge factor. I found the Bose QC35 ones a bit more comfortable than these in the long run. But this is something that differs from person to person. So I’d encourage you to go to a store nearby and just try them out. I’d recommend the Sony store in Dubai mall. Noise cancellation headphones are one of the best audio related products you can assess in a noisy store.
One of my favorite part about these headphones is how good they look. Their design and heft make handling them satisfying. They come in five metallic colors: Cinnabar Red, Bordeaux Pink, Lime Yellow, Viridian Blue, Charcoal Black.
The headphones also feature playback controls in addition to a standard micro USB port for charging. There is also a 3.5mm headphone jack that allows you to use these headphones plugged especially when the battery runs out on the headphones.
Some technical specifications: Driver Unit: 1.57″, dome type (CCAW Voice Coil), Frequency Response (Hz): 5–60000 Hz, Titanium-coated diaphragm domes minimize distortion, Sensitivities (DB/MW): 103 dB/mW, impedance: 24 Ohms at 1Khz.
I’d recommend the Sony h.ear ON headphones. They look and feel as if they are designed well and sound great too. The wireless connectivity and noise cancellation is one of the best. I’d highly recommend you try them before you buy. Their comfort might not suit you. At AED1399 they are a good competitor to BOSE QC35. The Sony h.ear ON headphones do wireless really well in a wireless world we are heading towards.