Phiaton has been building a name for itself over the past few years for its affordable yet decently high-quality headphones. Now, the company is back with another pair — the Phiaton BT 120 NC headphones.
But the last time Phiaton tried to build a pair of neckband-style headphones, we weren’t all that impressed. Are the Phiaton BT 120 NC headphones worth buying, or should you steer clear? We put them to the test to find out.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Phiaton BT 120 NC headphones is their design, and they’re actually quite well-designed. Rather than a blocky white plastic design, the headphones feature a sleeker black look, with a small thin frame around the back, which connects two modules on either end of the headphones.
On the inside of the left module, you’ll get a power button and volume controls, along with a button to activate noise cancellation and a MicroUSB port for charging. We’re a little disappointed to see MicroUSB being used here. In 2019, companies should be using USB-C.
At the end of each arm is a wire, which in turn attaches to the earbuds. The earbuds themselves are relatively small and sleek. They come with small fit wings pre-installed, and there are a few different sizes of those wings that come with the headphones, along with different earbud sizes and a MicroUSB charging cable.
Overall, the design of the headphones isn’t bad at all. We think Phiaton has improved on the BT 100 NC headphones in leaps and strides. We would have liked Phiaton to adopt USB-C, but apart from that the basic design is quite nice.
Thanks to their small earbuds and relatively light design, the Phiaton BT 120 NC headphones are actually very comfortable — which is always helpful. As is usually the case with in-ear headphones, we recommend users experiment a little with the ear tip and fit wing sizes, as it will help ensure a good fit — but we think most will find something that suits them.
Of course, there is the fact that these are still neckband-style headphones, and they’re not for everyone. If you like the idea of neckband headphones, then these are among the more comfortable ones out there. But they’re not for gym or running use given how much they move — so keep that in mind.
Ultimately, the sound quality was one of the biggest issues with the Phiaton BT 100 NC headphones, but thankfully, it seems as though Phiaton has stepped things up a bit for the new headphones. While sound quality isn’t incredible, it’s not bad either — and most will find listening to music on these headphones a good experience.
For starters, the bass is quite punchy, which always helps. Kick drums are able to punch through a mix nicely, while bass guitars generally sound smooth. The bass extension isn’t bad, though it’s not incredible either — but in general we found the bass quality to be the best sounding frequency range of these headphones.
Mid range is decently tuned, but a little unexciting. Low miss are warm, though there is a touch of muddiness in there, while high midsized seem to have gotten a relatively major cut — which means that things like vocals and guitars can sometimes be overshadowed by other instruments.
The high end is probably the weakest aspect of the headphones, but again, it’s not terrible. We found that cymbals had some bite to them, though they seemed to take a back seat to other instruments. Overall, the headphones had some detail, but a little more attention to high frequencies would have been welcome.
The noise cancellation on the Phiaton BT 120 NC headphones isn’t great. While it clearly does cut some noise out, it does little in comparison to the likes of the Bose QuietComfort 35 headphones. We wouldn’t recommend buying these solely for their noise cancellation, but it is a nice added bonus.
The Phiaton BT 120 NC headphones connect to your listening device through Bluetooth 4.2, meaning they’ll get a range of up to 10 meters, or 33 feet. We found that they connected perfectly fine, and didn’t skip or jump much.
Battery life isn’t great. It comes in at 8.5 hours, which is a little under the 10+ we would have liked to see from the headphones. We suppose it’s a trade-off of having a relatively light design — but still a little frustrating. Battery life gets even worse with noise cancellation activated — when it is, you’ll only get 5 hours.
The Phiaton BT 120 NC headphones are a serious improvement over the previous-generation Phiaton BT 100 NC headphones. They’re much better-designed, offer a comfortable fit, and don’t sound bad at all.
But are they the neckband headphones you should get? Well, that depends. If your budget is $80 at most, then these are absolutely a pair of headphones to consider. If, however, you can extend your budget a little, then we recommend looking into headphones like the RHA MA650 neckband, or the JBL UA Sport Wireless Flex headphones.
Still, because of their quality, we’ve awarded the Phiaton BT 120 NC headphones the Headphone Review Bronze Medal.
|Frequency response||20 Hz – 20kHz||Active noise cancellation
|Driver size||12mm||Noise attenuation||Unknown|
|Sensitivity||102dB||Ear tip material||Silicone|
|Total harmonic distortion
|Rated input power
||Unknown||Battery life||8.5 Hours (5 Hours with ANC on)|
|Maximum input power
||40mW||Wireless distance||10m (33ft)|
||Bluetooth 4.2||Cable length||N/A|