Budget headphones that sound great, look great, and feel great do exist but they’re sometimes a little hard to come by. Not only that, but when you do stumble upon a pair that hits all those points, they generally come from a large, well-known company. Not the Noontec Zoro II on-ear wireless headphones.
You may not be aware of Noontec, but after testing these headphones it because clear that we all should be aware of the company. The Zoro II headphones were launched last year as a consumer-first closed ear set of headphones that offer a great look to match their great sound. We took the headphones for a spin to see if they lived up to that goal.
Before putting the headphones on for the first time, the first thing you’ll notice is how they look and how they’re designed. Often when a headphone company tries to make their cans look unique, they end up making them ugly instead — not so with the Zoro II’s.
It’s clear that Noontec took a page from Beats’ book in the realm of design, but they’re also different enough to not warrant being called a copy. The pair that we received featured the black and red color scheme with a glossy black plastic arching over the top of the cans and the bright, premium-looking red giving the headphones a splash of color underneath the band. Some may find the plastic look a little “cheap,” and while that might be true for other headphones, we think they look more sleek than cheap.
On the side, you’ll notice that instead of being circular, the headband connects to the earcup in a kind of rectangular shape — that’s not a huge change from other headphones, but it’s enough to give them a more unique look.
On the left earcup, you’ll find a play/pause button and a battery indicator, while on the right you’ll find volume controls and fast-forward/rewind.
In general, the headphones look great, but they’re designed for functionality too. They fold up well, and can easily be put inside their carry bag, which is little more than that — a carry bag. No hard case here folks, you’re going to want to be careful when you put these headphones in your suitcase, as the carry bag will really only protect against light scratches.
Design isn’t the only area these headphones excel — for a pair of on-ear headphones, the Noontec Zoro II’s feel great.
On-ear headphones are never going to be the kings of comfort — the way they press on your ear will always result in some level of discomfort after long periods of wearing them, but that doesn’t mean that manufacturers should simply give up. Noontec clearly understands that.
The ear pads were generally not too tight at all, especially when you first put them on. That’s a pretty big deal — on-ear headphones are often criticized for having too much pressure, something that Noontec seems to have been able to avoid.
The underside of the headband is also quite comfortable on these headphones, although a little more padding might have been nice.
Overall the Zoro II headphones offer plenty of comfort, especially for a pair of on-ear headphones. After a few hours, you’ll want to take a break from using them, but that’s true of many headphones of this type.
Let’s make something clear — these headphones don’t sound realistic. That’s to say, if you’re a mixing engineer or music producer, these aren’t going to be the headphones for you. They have a boosted bass sound, along with shiny highs. That unnatural sound isn’t necessarily a bad thing — the headphones in general sound great. But if you need your headphones to sound natural, this isn’t the right pair for you.
Having said that, for the price that they come at, we were seriously surprised with how great the Noontec Zoro II’s sounded.
Let’s start with bass, which seems to be a main selling point — these cans offer plenty of bass for any hip-hop lover, however they don’t go as far as to be overpowering or muddy. That’s a good thing. Plenty of bass is nice, but too much bass is the worst.
A nice thing about these headphones is that they offer plenty of high-end too. The vocals really shine through, as do instruments like guitars and keyboards. When we get into the really high-end, however, things are a little more problematic. It seems as though some of the super high-end frequencies were rolled off a little, taking some of the air out of instruments like the hi-hats and cymbals. The result is a slightly altered sound.
When it comes to the mids, the Zoro II headphones seem to be a little all over the place. The low-mids seem slightly scooped, while some of the high mids are most certainly boosted. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does contribute to that slightly unnatural sound.
The headphones also offer a closed design — which means that while they don’t have any active noise cancellation, they do offer decent noise attenuation simply by design. They didn’t cut a huge amount of sound out, but enough to make it easy to enjoy music distraction free while still safe enough to hear traffic noise when you’re walking down the street.
The Noontec Zoro II headphones are all about options, and they actually offer a total of three ways to connect to devices and listen to music.
The first is by using Bluetooth and connecting like you would any other Bluetooth headphones. Turn the headphones on, turn Bluetooth on on your device, look for the headphones, and hit the pair button. With Bluetooth 4.0, these headphones should connect up to 33 feet away, which is more or less in-line with what we experienced.
The second way to connect these headphones is much easier, and it uses the NFC chip. Simply hold your NFC-enabled phone up to where it says NFC on the headphones, and they should pair. It took a few seconds for us to get the headphones to properly connect, but it works quite well and cut out a number of steps. It’s important to note that once they are connected, data is communicated over Bluetooth — so the same distance restrictions apply.
Last but not least is using the wired connection — we all know how that works. One thing to remember about a wired connection is that it saves battery life, as the headphones don’t need to connect using their Bluetooth chip.
When it comes to battery, Noontec says these cans can last as long as 35 hours on a single charge. That’s a ton of battery life, so kudos to Noontec for that. When testing the headphones, the 35 hour figure is more or less what we experienced.
You would be forgiven for saying the Noontec Zoro II on-ear wireless headphones are an all-out Beats copy, because they’re pretty darn close. The major thing that’s different is the price.
At only $140, these headphones are a steal — they’re comfortable, they sound great, and they have a very long-lasting battery life. Not only that, but if you’re fashion conscious, these cans also look great.
If you’re in the market for a new pair of portable on-ear headphones, we highly recommend the Noontec Zoro II wireless headphones. You can get them for yourself at the links below.
|Frequency response||13Hz – 26kHz||Noise attenuation||Unknown|
|Driver size||40mm||In-line controls||Yes|
|Sensitivity||108dB at 1mW||Microphone||Yes|
|Rated impedance||32Ω||Earpad material||Cotton|
|Total harmonic distortion||Unknown||Magnet material||Unknown|
|Rated input power||Unknown||Water resistance||No|
|Maximum input power||60mW||Battery life||650mAh, 35 hours playback time|
|Wireless connection||Bluetooth 4.0, NFC||Wireless distance||33 feet|
|Wired connection||Yes||Cable length||1.2m (3.9ft)|
|Detachable cable||Yes||Case type||Soft carry bag|
|Weight||190g (6.7 oz)||In-the-box||Carry bag, microUSB charging cable, 3.5mm cable|
|Active noise cancellation||No||Colors||Black, Red, Volcanic Rock|