Noise cancellation technology has become somewhat common over the past few years — but great noise cancelling headphones still aren’t cheap. There are products like the Bose QuietComfort 35 II, and the new Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones — but in the sub-$200 range, quality can be a little hit and miss. That, however, is the market that TaoTronics wants to take on, with the new TaoTronics TT-BH406 noise-cancelling headphones.
At $99, these could be the go-to noise-cancelling headphones for those on a budget. Are they worth buying, or should you save up for something else? We put the TaoTronics TT-BH406 headphones to the test to find out.
When you take the TaoTronics TT-BH406 headphones out of the box, you’ll immediately notice that they look quite good for a pair of headphones in this price range. They feature plenty of padding, a nice sleek look, and easy to use features.
Most of the build of the headphones is plastic, though they still seem relatively strong. We would have liked to see a little more metal in the build, however thankfully there’s metal where it counts — like in the frame.
On the left ear cup, you’ll get a MicroUSB port, which is very disappointing to see. It’s 2019, and anyone not using USB-C is way behind the times. On the right ear cup, you’ll get an aux port, a volume rocker, and a power button. There’s also a switch to activate or deactivate noise cancellation, which is found on the front of the ear cup and very easy to turn on and off.
In the box, there’s a nice selection of accessories too. You’ll get a MicroUSB charging cable, an aux cable, and an airplane adapter. There’s also a nice strong carry case, which is very handy for a pair of headphones that you’ll likely use while traveling.
Noise cancelling headphones are often used for long-haul flights, and as such it’s important that they remain comfortable. Thankfully, the TaoTronics TT-BH046 headphones do pretty well in that area.
For starters, there’s plenty of padding in the ear cups and under the headband, which helps ensure that the headphones continue to feel soft even after long periods. We found that the headphones did have a slightly tight fit. Still, we were able to use the headphones for hours at a time without too many issues.
The headphones are generally well-designed and pretty comfortable, but how do they sound? Thankfully, not bad at all — though they’re not perfect, and they sound significantly different depending on whether or not noise cancellation is activated.
Let’s start with the bass, which is by far the most prominent frequency range on these headphones. The bass is thick and heavy, to the point where it can get a little muddy at times.
That muddiness extends into the low mids too, making for a super warm listening experience. The high mids sound fine, but without noise cancellation they’re a little tucked away — while with noise cancellation they’re much more pronounced. Perhaps too much so.
The highs are a little lacking on these headphones, both with and without noise cancellation. Without noise cancellation, highs are relatively clear and detailed, though a little more of them would be nice. With noise cancellation, highs seem to be cut off a little more, which isn’t great.
In general the headphones sound fine, though we preferred the frequency response with noise cancellation deactivated.
The noise cancellation itself is actually pretty good. The headphones are good at cutting out unwanted drones and engine noise, and while they’re definitely not on the same level as the likes of Bose and Sony, we think most will enjoy the noise cancellation on offer.
The TaoTronics TT-BH049 headphones connect to your listening device through Bluetooth 4.2, and as such you’ll get a listening range of 10 meters, or up to 33 feet. We found that during testing the headphones retained a pretty good connection without running into too many skips or jumps.
The battery life on the headphones comes in at 30 hours on a charge, which is pretty impressive. It’s not the most we’ve seen, but it’s definitely above average.
TaoTronics has really hit a home run with the TaoTronics TT-BH046 headphones. They’re pretty well-designed and relatively comfortable, plus they offer a decent sound for the price.
But is there a better option? Well, not unless you’re willing to spend a whole lot more. Our top picks for noise cancelling headphones are still the likes of the Bose QuietComfort 35 II, Sony WH-1000XM3, and Master & Dynamic MW65 headphones, but in this price range you can’t do a whole lot better.
Because of their excellent value for money, we’ve awarded these headphones the Headphone Review Bronze Medal.