Quality build, comfortable, over-the-ear headphones, combine style with full, enriching sound.
It is amazing that there can be so many varieties of the same technologies. So far, this has been most evident with my experience in reviewing Bluetooth headphones. There are three main varieties of headphones that you can sample. Whether you use over-the-ear (circumaural), on-ear (supra-aural), in-ear (intra-aural), stereo/mono, wired/wireless, you have a variety of quality and comfort. It is by personal preference, that I choose the circumaural over both the supra-aural and earbuds. Now do not confuse this statement, as buds have their place. Long term, you cannot beat a strong over-ear option for comfort. I find that this type of headphone produces a better sound, better ear fit, better noise cancellation/reduction, while allowing for reduced fatigue. Some products come with no case at all, some with a drawstring bag and occasionally a harder clam shell case. The Benwis H800 Bluetooth 4.0 headphone, is a circumaural headset, which provides a great, smooth sound with comfortable ear cups.
The Benwis Headphones arrived in matte black cardboard box 8 1/2” tall by 6” wide by 2 1/2” thick. The box is a retail cardboard box that has a cardboard hanger. The cover has a golden tan diagram of the “Foldable Bluetooth Headphones,” and additionally detail a few of the features: stretchable sides, rotatable and foldable, and Bluetooth 4.0 status. You can also immediately appreciate the foreign-to-me language, which I believe to be Chinese. This is not distracting and honestly, I do not mind English to be secondary on my technology. I just request that the English be well written and not choppy. Turning the box onto its side you will see additional specifications in both languages. The first side (counter-clockwise) details:comfortable wear, classic/elegant color, revolutionary mellow acoustics, Streamline Portable Folding. The back of the box shows a QR code in the bottom left, a wonderful depiction of the actual look of the device and address/contact information for Shenzhen. Turning the packaging yet again, you have a detailed explanation of the specifications: 32-ohm impedance, range 20Hz-20KHz (beyond my hearing), CSR 4.0 Bluetooth, Li-Po battery with 2 hour charge time, 8 hour talk time and 10 hour music time with include an omnidirectional microphone. It is listed as ideal for gaming, movies, music and phone/computer use. Personally, the packaging is as ideal as you can expect, without a clear plastic window to actually display the product. You know what you are getting, the packaging is trendy and eye pleasing. I actually like the design of the back of the box better than the front.
Opening the box, you will note that everything is contained within a black acorn shaped clam shell case, measuring 8” tall by 6 1/4” wide by 2 1/4” deep. The clam shell has a nicely stitched handle at the top 1/2” wide with good stitching. This appears to be leather, almost with a vinyl feel to it. This same vinyl feeling is present on the case itself. There are no identifying marks on the case, but it is very elegant in its simplicity. I really like the black coloration of this case. Even without a zipper pull to assist you, the zipper action is smooth. This detail is usually a negative for my reviews. However, in this case, the zipper pull was not missed. The clam shell opens nicely with a wide hinge of fabric. There are two compartments within the clamshell case. The lower compartment houses the folded headphones and the upper mesh compartment contains the instruction manual, a 58 1/4” 3.5mm to 3.5 mm headphone jack, a 13” USB A to Micro USB connector (too short in my opinion), and the instruction manual. It is actually hard to say which is better, the headset or the case. This case protects the headphones very well and provides an organizational mesh compartment for the needed accessories.
The headphones arrive folded up inside of the case. The white plastic with a golden/tan accent is quite eye catching. It honestly reminds me of a color scheme that Apple may use. The ear cups are attached to the main body at a swivel/hinge which gives you both the ability to fold the ear cups into the semicircular arc and to rotate them 90 degrees. This flexibility allows you to easily place the device into the case. Just above the swivel/hinge is a square labeled L and R, which will allow you to easily orient the device. If you get confused, either look for the flashing blue LED or feel for the buttons and place this over your right ear. The LED is a bit distracting and I wish that it could turn off. In a dark room, a bright blue LED light, flashing every four seconds, is very annoying to you and anyone else in the room.
I do not review a device positively unless it truly deserves it. The packaging was quality, the clamshell case was quality and I expected that the build of the device would be quality. I was not disappointed. I do not think that I have felt ear cups that were more comfortable. The soft foam covers fit around the ear amazingly well. Along the inside of the semicircular plastic rim is a section of soft padding, which rests against the top of the scalp. Combining these contact points, it feels as if the headphones are floating on your head. My ears do tend to get a little hot at times inside of all of the around the ear style cups. These are no different, with prolonged usage. It appears that Shenzhen has clearly worked on creating an incredibly comfortable pair of headphones. Personally, it does not matter how well a headphone sounds if it is not comfortable.
The charging port is on the bottom of the rich earcup, just next to that annoying Blue LED. You will note four buttons, Power on/off button, Volume up/next, Play/Pause, Volume down/previous. At the bottom of the left cuff is the 3.5mm port. It is amazing that they packed the control packaging into the same size unit as the opposite ear cuff. There is no discernible difference to either cuff, from the side. It is recommended to charge the device for the first time. The manual notes that it takes about 2 hours to charge the device fully. Setting an alarm, I charged the device as instructed. To turn the device on, hold the button nearest the Micro USB port for 2 seconds and you will hear a beeping sound. To pair the first time, hold this same button for 5 seconds. You will see Red/Blue alternating flashing of the LED. Navigate to settings on your phone, choose Bluetooth and look for H800. Select this and notice the paired device.
The instruction manual further details the use father device. The English, within the manual, was better than I expected. The headphones will pair with two smart devices at a time, but I do not use this feature. I did test the call feature and just like other headsets, this is passable. The omnidirectional microphone is better than I expected. My wife noted that this caused much less tunnel sound than previous headphones. It seemed to pick up less background noise than I expected. The buttons are responsive, short presses will increase/decrease the sound, long presses will change the track and you can accept/reject/end calls with a single button press. Lastly, there is a battery widget located on my iPhone 6S plus. I could not find the actual LiPo battery size. I have used the device, for approximately 4 hours, listening to music and audible and note that the battery indicator is just at about 50%. This seems very reasonable for the sound output. The range is standard Bluetooth range of 10meters or up to 30 feet (barring interference).
I know it may seem a bit boring and repetitive, but I test my headphones using the same songs and soundtracks, to get a comparison. I love to use audiocheck.net and I tend to use a collection of songs that showcase bass, treble and stereo sound. For a while now, I have used the Bose AE2 over-ear headphones as my comparison point. I may have a new set to use as my favorite. The sound is very smooth and full, creating an immersive sound. The bass was great for Josh Turner “Long Black Train,” “Why So Serious” Joker Theme from Dark Knight Rises (listen from 3 to 4 minutes), and the Braveheart soundtrack. The lows were dynamic, with good Sub-bass, as proven n the opening sequence of Star Wars Attack of the Clones. The lows were well supported by the treble, listening to “For The Longest Time,” Billy Joel, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” by Queen and by listening to the Far and Away Soundtrack. I think my favorite part of the headphones are the sound blocking nature. Without music playing, you can hear ambient noises (my children listening to the TV). With music playing, there is essentially no background noise. You will likely not hear people talking to you. You may hear/feel walking or vibrations, but these do a rather nice job at noise reduction. There is no active noise canceling technology, it just appears that the drivers/ear cuffs do a good job of helping you to hear what you want to hear.
Many Bluetooth headphones are plagued with intermittent popping/cracking/beeping. To be fair, this is often positional and dependent on background interference. I was really pleased with the quality of the sound and the lack of this popping/cracking. I turned to audiocheck and used their site to blind test my hearing and headphones. This site is really a godsend for testing out audio/speaker devices. You can check a variety of tones and blind tests to get a great idea about abilities of your speakers/headphones. I was able to blind test the headphones with a one-decibel difference (up, down and flat). The headphones provide sound from 20Hz-20KHz (the range of human hearing). However, at roughly the age of 18, we start to lose upper range hearing. I was able to hear up to about 15KHz. You will likely be able to hear from 20Hz easily, showing the lower range of bass for hearing.
The limiting factor of many headphones belongs to our ears and not the technology. The range of these headphones is full but limited by your age. My personal ability to hear is about 20Hz-15KHz. Using the bass shaker, I did not get the weird rattling that some devices will exhibit. If you have not had a chance to evaluate the audiocheck site, it really is eye opening. These headphones seem to pair nicely with my iPhone, work wonderfully for my test tones and for the soundtracks Gladiator, Far and Away, and Braveheart. Lastly, I really enjoy audiobook listening with the Audible application. The Benwis headphones delivered a quality experience for my Audible listening enjoyment as well.
To summarize the review, the packaging, clamshell case and headphones deliver a quality experience. I was really impressed with both the sound quality and the comfort. You will get about 8-10 hours of music playtime per charge and it takes roughly 2 hours to charge to full. This is a device I plan on keeping around for a while, my Bose AE2 are going to be put aside. I rate the device at 5/5 stars.
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