MPOW proves that you do not have to break the bank for a pair of headphones.
It is amazing how on-the-go our lives have become. As we hustle from place to place via bus, train, uber, car, etc., we can enjoy the games, movies, and music that we like on our smart devices. Unfortunately, background noises sometimes get in the way of this fun. For these instances, active noise canceling technology can help you to reconnect. Luckily there are devices like the H5 headphones from MPOW that will not break the bank.
The MPOW H5 Wireless Headset arrived in a 7 inches long by 5 1/4 inches wide by 3 1/4 inches tall white retail box. The top panel provided an attractive 4 7/8 inches tall by 2 7/8 inches wide image of the black H5 Wireless headphones upon the white background. To the left, there was a 11/16 tall by 3/4 inches wide red square, with H5 listed within the negative space. MPOW was listed in grey font along the bottom left and just beneath the H5 square, the company added “Wireless Headset” in grey font. Just beneath the image of the left ear cup, you will find “MPBH143DD.” The front panel provided the same information as the top panel but slightly angled the earphone image and oddly listed a different model number (BH143A). The right side panel displayed four tenets of the headphones: up to 33 feet range, up to 30-hours music, up to 30 hours talk, about 2-3 hours charging time. The opposite panel listed four additional features: Active Noise Cancelling, Foldable Design, Hi-Fi Audio, and Soft & Comfortable. The rear panel essentially repeated the details that were presented on the right side panel but added many of the typical product labels.
Within the box, I found the 8.18 oz black headphones, a ten-panel instruction manual, a 50-inches long flat cabled 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable, a 40-inches long USB-A to USB-micro cable, a green warning card to only use 5V adapters, a small square instruction panel to link the headphones to a TV and a 7-inches wide by 8 3/4 inches tall grey felt drawstring bag. The felt bag had a suede-esque feel and easily accommodated the folded headphones and accessory cables. Returning to the headphones, the 6 inches diameter headband with 1/4 inches thick padding and the ear cuffs, with swivel and hinge, were all colored black. Between the headband section, and the ear cuff hinge, there were 3/8 inches long chrome accents, which housed a 1 3/8 inches long extension. To properly orient the earphones, the company conveniently labeled the inner surfaces of the chrome accents with an “L” and “R.” Along the lower rim of the right earcup, you will find the 3.5mm input port and the ANC toggle switch. Along the lower rim of the left earcup, you will find a round 1/4 inches diameter, round, Bluetooth button flanked by two 3/8 inches long oval shaped volume buttons and the USB-micro input port. Thanks to the flexible headband, the added extension section, the stirrup-shaped hinge, the rotating swivel and the comfortable 5/8 inches thick ear cups, the earphones were quite comfortable.
To turn the device on, press the circular Bluetooth button for 6 seconds and you will hear a female voice announce “Power On, Pairing.” I navigated to Settings, then to Bluetooth, chose “MPOW H5” from the list and the voice noted “Connected.” Once paired, I navigated to audiocheck.net to test the headphone parameters. I used the Low-Frequency Response and Subwoofer Audio Test (10-200 Hz) and heard a high pitched buzzing from 10Hz to 20Hz and then solid base above 20Hz. I repeated the test with the ANC activated and obtained the same result. Utilizing the High-Frequency Response and Hearing Audio Test (22-8 kHz), I was able to hear the test tone starting at 15kHz, which was the upper limit of my ability to hear. As we age, we lose the higher frequencies first. My ten and seven-year-old sons were able to hear the high-pitched tones up to 17kHz, which was their upper range of hearing. After completing the high/low range tests, I tested the Left/Right/Center programming and found the channels to be correctly labeled.
If you have never utilized the audiocheck.net website, I would encourage you to check out the “The Real Thing” within the Stereo Perception and Sound Localization Test section. For the squeamish among us, consider using the restroom and turning on the lights before using this feature. I have recently grown to appreciate binaural recordings and absolutely love the “Sound Of Silence (3D Binaural Audio)- Simon and Garfunkel Cover-Jarvis Brothers (Ear to Ear). As a fan of Disturbed “Sound of Silence,” I was quite pleased with the quality of the above recording. Another favorite binaural recording was Bohemian Rhapsody-3D Audio (Total Immersion) by Queen. To further test the staging and sound placement, I utilized Radiohead “The National Anthem,” Bob Marley and the Wailers “Turn Your Lights Down Low,” “Hurt” and “Man in Black” by Johnny Cash, “Dragonborn” Skyrim Theme by Jason Soule, and “Carribean Blue” by Enya. I also utilized Yosi Horikawa Wandering/Bubbles and enjoyed the ability to visualize the placement of the instruments. I would give the above tests a solid 8.5/10 for quality. For a sub $50 pair of headphones, the MP5 exceeded my expectations.
To further test the bass, I turned to Amazon Prime Unlimited and listened to the bouncing bass line of “Train Song” by Holly Cole. I then turned to CeeLo Green and fired up “Bright Lights Bigger City,” to the Beastie Boys for some “Brass Monkey” and then to Home Free “Ring of Fire.” To test the upper range of the MPOW headphones, I utilized the Far and Away Soundtrack, The Greatest Showman Soundtrack, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves Soundtrack, Queen “Somebody to Love,” and Billy Joel “Piano Man,” and “The Longest Time.” With my main testing done, I listened to Adam Levine “Purple Rain” and “Locked Away,” as well as a variety of songs from CCR, Alabama, Johnny Cash, and Joaquin Phoenix/Reese Witherspoon in the Walk the Line Soundtrack.” To test the sound to video timing, I watched Instant Family on Itunes and then turned to Amazon Prime Movies and watched a few episodes of Star Trek Voyager.
I was pleased with the bass, sound blend, overall sound output, the comfortable ear padding and with the long battery life. However, I did not like that I could not easily change between my iPad Pro and iPhone XS Max. This feature felt lacking as many devices allow you to pair with multiple devices. To change between them, I had to power off the headphones and then power them back on after forgetting the device on my phone or tablet. When active, the ANC did work to decrease ambient noises, but human voices were not easily reduced. I loved the volume up/down buttons on the bottom of the left earcup. The central multifunction button was responsive and allowed music to be played/paused with a short press, to cancel a call with a long press or to activate Siri with a double press. A short press of the volume buttons quickly and reliably increased/decreased the volume of the headphones. Long pressing the buttons quickly changed the track forward or backward. Phone conversations
Reviewing some of the Amazon reviews, there were some complaints about the inability to hold a charge, about a foul smell from the device, too tight of a fit, and button sizes too small, to name a few. 81% of the reviewers gave the headphones a 4-5/5 star rating and after personally reviewing the headset I agree with the 4.5-star reviews. The device I received did not have any foul odor, the three buttons and ANC toggle worked perfectly for my fingers, the battery lasted more than two weeks of regular use on a single 2-hour charge, the noise canceling tech reduced ~75% of background noises and the device sizing seemed appropriate. I did not feel that the headphones were cheaply made nor that they were uncomfortable. My biggest complaint was that the headphones could not be used when charging. When plugged into micro-USB, the headphones automatically turned off, which was odd. Luckily the ANC and sound made up for that odd feature. Despite the negatives, I feel that the $50 price tag was a fair valuation for the product. I have tested numerous headphones and the audio quality of the MP0W H5 headphones reminded me of similar devices in the ~$100 range.