Noise cancellation in headphones is becoming increasingly common, but few companies have developed noise cancellation that’s as good as the likes of Bose. The latest company to try to take on the noise cancellation boss is TaoTronics, which has launched the new 2019 TaoTronics Active Noise Cancellation Headphones.
The headphones come in at $70, which is well under the multi-hundred-dollar asking price of some Bose headphones. But are they worth even that cost? We put the 2019 TaoTronics Active Noise Cancellation Headphones to the test to find out.
The 2019 TaoTronics Active Noise Cancellation Headphones may not be anywhere near as expensive as headphones like the Bose QuietComfort 35s, but they actually offer a similar design in many ways. For example, they have a sleek black overall look, and are largely made from a black plastic. We don’t mind the plastic though — it still seems relatively strong and keeps the headphones relatively light.
On the left ear cup, you’ll find a MicroUSB charging cable, which is disappointing to see. It’s now 2019, and it’s time for companies to adopt USB-C. On the right ear cup, you’ll find a volume rocker, power button, noise cancellation switch, and an aux port. It’s a good selection of controls, and we generally found that the buttons and switches were easy to access.
On the inside of the ear cups, there’s a good amount of padding — and while we’ll talk about comfort later, the amount of padding is always helpful. There’s padding under the headband too, which again, is helpful in ensuring that the headphones are relatively comfortable.
In the box, there’s a good selection of accessories. There’s the MicroUSB charging cable and an aux cable, but perhaps more important is the clamshell case. It’s a nice case, with a little compartment for things like cables, and it’ll clearly keep your headphones safe and sound.
Just because the headphones have plenty of padding that, of course, doesn’t mean they’re comfortable. After all, these are headphones you might wear on long plane trips — so comfort is perhaps the most important thing to consider.
Thankfully, they are relatively comfortable, with a few quirks. You might have to work a little bit to adjust the size to the right fit, which is fine, but once you do you might need to remember which size works for you, as you’ll need to shrink them down again to fit them in the case. Apart from that, we found that the headphones fit quite well. They were a little heavy, which can get uncomfortable after long periods of listening, but that’s the only real downside.
Ultimately, the most important thing to consider is how the headphones sound, and they’re unfortunately a little hit and miss.
Let’s start with the bass response, which is relatively punchy, but simply doesn’t extend very far. The result is that a lot of the body of a bass drum doesn’t seem to land — and bass guitars feel a little light.
Mid range is strangely tuned too. Low miss are there, and they’re relatively warm, but high midsized seem to have gotten a cut — to where vocals seem a bit empty.
Last but not least is high end response, and it’s pretty lacking. Cymbals sound tinny, while vocal sibilance doesn’t really shine through the way it should. There’s a lack of high end extension too, which is frustrating to hear.
That brings us to noise cancellation, and it’s perhaps the best thing about the headphones. We found that the noise cancellation was above average in quality, and was able to cut out a lot of outside noise. The downside to that is that music seemed to get even thinner than it already was.
Ultimately, we were disappointed in the audio quality of the 2019 TaoTronics Active Noise Cancellation Headphones. They were thin and dull, despite the fact that the noise cancellation was pretty good.
The 2019 TaoTronics Active Noise Cancellation Headphones connect to your listening device through Bluetooth 5.0, which is good to hear — while Taotronics hasn’t adopted USB-C, it’s still not being totally left behind. You’ll generally get a listening distance of up to 10 meters, or 33 feet.
When it comes to battery life on the headphones is quite good too. Taotronics rates the headphones for between 25 and 30 hours of battery use, which is excellent — and should get anyone through long days of travel. We do assume, however, that the 30 hours of battery life is with noise cancellation off. The headphones charge quickly too — you’ll get two hours of charge out of five minutes of charging, which isn’t bad at all.
Ultimately, the 2019 TaoTronics Active Noise Cancellation Headphones have a lot going for them — but were let down by their sound quality. The headphones are decently comfortable and their design isn’t bad — but the dull and thin sound quality simply didn’t live up to those other values. We did like that the headphones had Bluetooth 5.0 and a good battery life, though.
So what should you buy if you have $70 to spend on a pair of noise cancelling headphones? Well — these. That’s right — despite the bad sound quality, these are still probably your best option for over-ear noise cancelling headphones in this price range.
Because of the fact that the 2019 TaoTronics Active Noise Cancellation Headphones are well-designed, comfortable, and have a great battery life, we’ve awarded the headphones the Headphone Review Bronze Medal.