Talking tech since 2003

If you are a frequent traveller, whether that be by plane, train, or bus, you know that one of the most annoying and distracting drawbacks to travel is the noise. Whether that noise be from the engines, crying infants, or just the hustle and bustle of a commute, it is always nice to have a pair of noise-canceling headphones to hiss away the sound. Unfortunately, active noise-canceling headphones can run a pretty steep price. That is a dilemma Able Planet has set out to fix.

The NC200b headphones are their $100 model and feature their patented ‘Linx’ audio. This means the audio you find on these NC200b’s will not be onboard any other sets of cans. The audio quality is about average for the price in my opinion. There are certainly better sounding pairs of earphones in the price range, and there are definitely much worse sets of headphones. But in the $100 range, you will not find as good noise canceling sets as these from Able Planet.

The noise canceling on these are not to be compared those like the Bose QC15’s ($300), but should be compared to the likes of a Sony MDR-NC40 ($100). These headphones absolutely blow out the NC40’s. Comparing these to the QC15’s is a mistake as there is a $200 price difference, but the difference in quality is not a $200 difference. The QC15’s are better sounding and have a better cancellation percentage, but the difference is minimal.

My main complaint about these NC200b’s is the very annoying ‘hiss’; something that you will find on every active noise canceling headphone. The NC200b’s hiss is a little  excessive compared to others, which gets slightly irritating and brings headaches at times. I, personally, am not a fan of active noise-canceling headphones for this exact reason. I got headaches after using these for more than 45 minutes to an hour straight. However, that may just be the way my body reacts to these types of headphones, as this is usually the case with all active noise-canceling headphones.

Build quality on these cans is quite impressive. It is an all-plastic frame, but the plastic feels far from cheap and even features a soft-touch coating which makes them feel very durable. They aren’t the lightest things in the world, but one has to expect some heft with the noise canceling features being integrated in the cups. The cushioning on the cups feels soft, but not as soft as I would have liked to see. They are still pretty comfortable nonetheless. The cups are large enough that they will fit around your whole ear, which is key, as a perfect seal is very important in isolating sound. The cable is quite long and incorporates a volume wheel built-in to the cable, which is removable. These Able Planet’s are functional even without a battery (takes 1 AAA, included), so if your battery dies you will still be able to use these to play music, just without the noise canceling feature. You can also turn off the noise canceling feature by switching the switch on the right cup.

Overall, if you are looking for a pair of noise canceling headphones that wont make your wallet cry, then these NC200b’s are definitely worth taking a look at! Sound quality isn’t the greatest, but it is quite good for the price, and the noise cancellation is quite good as well.

My Rating: 8/10

Able Planet NC200 @ testfreaks.com

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