UNBOXED: Reviewing the TaoTronics 2019 Hybrid ANC Headphones
What’s refreshing about a headphone brand like TaoTronics, to me, is that they seem to understand the type of consumer that they’re going to attract and they simply own it. They’re a no-frills kind of company that offers plenty of different options in the way of headphone styles—alongside their soundbars, LED lamps, and air care products—but they generally fall in the “very affordable” range.
That shouldn’t be cause for concern, though, when it comes to the performance of their products. Specifically, we recently got our hands on the company’s 2019 Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling Headphones, which left us pleasantly surprised. Despite their size, the $99 cans are incredibly light and easy to wear. TaoTronics wrapped these things in thick layers of padding, which certainly helps their cause. And while they aren’t the most-sleek headphones I’ve ever come across, they won’t stick out like a sore thumb on your head. The aluminum accents help to raise their profile without going so overboard. The only real thing missing from a design standpoint is the ability for these headphones to fold up. The earcups themselves are flexible and conform to the wearer’s head, but not being able to fold up makes them a little bit cumbersome to pack away when traveling.
On the headphones, you’ll find a micro USB charging port on the left ear, and then all of your controls—the volume rocker, power button, and ANC switch—alongside the microphone over on the right side. It’s a little disappointing that we’re now well into 2019 and brands still are hanging on to the legacy USB port, but TaoTronics does make up for this misstep in a way by adding Bluetooth support to these headphones for a wire-free experience. Battery life isn’t lagging either, with roughly 30 hours of run time. And, if you’re in a hurry to leave but forgot to charge the headphone, a quick five-minute bump charge will give you two full hours of listening.
As for sound performance, the headphones are serviceable. When plugged into a headphone amp, they sound a little higher end than TaoTronics likely intended them too, which was a nice experience as a reviewer. But for those consumers who don’t happen to carry around a portable amp with them, the Hybrid ANC’s still performed alright. They’re a little inconsistent on the bass side of things, and the highs would seem to peak earlier than I would’ve liked to see. When the ANC switch was flipped on, the sound performance took a slight dive, which was to be expected. Everything generally got a little more flat, and vocals got a little lost in the fray. I will, say, though, the ANC performance itself was better than anticipated. It was able to block out more noise than I expected, keeping the outside world from filtering into the headphones.
Another solid point in favor of these Hybrid ANC’s from TaoTronics was call quality. I’ve seen mixed reviews to this end, but for me they performed great both in terms of audio quality and what the person on the other end experienced. So, from an on-the-go perspective, these headphones certainly succeeded.
All in all, I kind of go back to my original point, which is that TaoTronics understands their level of consumer, and they do a tremendous job of offering that customer a great deal of value. The price point can’t be viewed in any other way than a great value. The sound quality is a little sluggish at times, but I have no complaints when considering where in the grand scheme of things these headphones are intended to fit in.