I’ve finally, at long last, more or less fully embraced the Bluetooth headphone lifestyle. I was reluctant at first, especially when certain big companies began removing the headphone jack from their phones. I hate being forced into new standards, especially ones that come at the cost of something that I’m familiar with and that works well. On the other hand, I’m really coming around to the wireless lifestyle, and though I never like to admit when I’m wrong, I have to say that I don’t think I can go back to wired headphones for day-to-day use when I’m out and about.
I recently reviewed the HD 4.40BT over-ear headphones and found them to be a fantastic set of headphones, with amazing battery life and awesome sound. The only downside—for me personally—is that I much prefer in-ear headphones, or buds, as I’m a fairly active individual and over-ear headphones aren’t conducive to being very mobile. On top of that, CGMagazine is a Canadian publication, and our weather isn’t always friendly to exposed electronics, making headphones you can fit comfortably under your toque the way to go.
The Sennheiser HD1 Wireless headphones feature a comfortable, stitched sheepskin nappa leather neckband or “halo” that rests softly on the back of your neck. The band itself ensures that the buds never get separated—which would definitely happen to someone as absent-minded as myself—and features the standard controls, including a power/pairing button, volume buttons that are also used to skip songs, and a multi-function button that does everything from pause the track to answer a phone call. The buds themselves are attached on either end by a short wire, that is long enough to allow plenty of head movement but short enough that you’re not getting tangled up in wires as you go about your day. Business types will be pleased by the sleek and simple design that looks modern and professional but can also be hidden easily under a sweater or coat. The buds themselves are nicely angled so they don’t jut out awkwardly and—again—fit nicely under a toque. There are several different size options that are also available for those of you with extra big or really tiny ear holes, but the standard size worked perfectly for me in creating a nice, soundproof seal that prevented most outside noise and never fell out when I was moving. They aren’t noise-cancelling officially, but for the most part did a solid job of blocking outside sound.
As far as technical specifications go, the Sennheiser HD1 Wireless headphones feature Bluetooth 4.1, AAC codec support and Qualcomm® apt-X™ compatibility and supports A2DP + AVRCP + HSP + HFP
Profiles—and pairing with most devices is a snap. My MacBook didn’t particularly like the Sennheiser HD1 Wireless headphones and often required several “turn on, turn off Bluetooth” steps, but on my OnePlus phone pairing worked instantly and I never had an issue. As for sound profile, the frequency response is 15Hz – 22,000Hz, SPL (Sound Pressure Level) 112 dB (1 kHz/0 dBFS), and a Total Harmonic Distortion of <0.5% (1kHz/100dB SPL).
The sound itself is great, and not nearly as tinny as most earbuds tend to be. The mids sound nice and warm, the bass bumps surprisingly well, and the highs won’t pierce your eardrums. I listen to mostly metal and hip-hop, so on the low end and the high end of things, the sound profile is well-rounded and really lets you feel the separate instruments or heavy beats, depending on your choice of tunes. My only minor complaint with the Sennheiser HD1 Wireless headphones are the battery life. The box promises ten hours on a 1.5-hour charge, but it often felt like less than that before I’d have to plug them back in. I got used to the awesome battery life on the 4.40s, but granted, they were a lot bulkier and therefore had much more room to store a larger battery. Of course, if you’re just using them for day-to-day activities, it’s not a big issue to simply plug them in to charge when you sit down or go to bed. Considering the amount of action I put the HD1s through—from simply walking around town to days upon days of snowboarding and mountain touring—a slightly-less-than-ideal battery life is not the end of the world and shouldn’t sway you from checking these headphones out.
All in all, I was thoroughly pleased with my experience using the Sennheiser HD1 wireless earbuds. The sound is, as always, excellent, they’re super light and comfortable and often I would forget I was wearing them. Aesthetically they look sleek and modern without being ostentatious, so whether you’re a young person out wandering the streets or a business professional using public transportation, you’ll have great sound and portability without looking like a walking advertisement for a rapper-turned-business mogul—no offence Dre.
A retail version of this device reviewed was provided by the manufacturer. You can find additional information about CGMagazine’s ethics and review policies and procedures here.
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