Blueant is best known for its Bluetooth headsets, but with the Embrace the company is taking on the premium headphone market. The Blueant Embrace remind us of the B&W P5 but they cost a cool £100 less. Does this make them a great bargain alternative or have their looks been deceiving?
Well on that looks front, these are everything you'd want from a premium, slightly portable, slightly fashionable set of headphones. It's all classy matt plastics and brushed metal, with a minimalist approach to the overall design.
Build quality is also very good. The visible parts of the headband are finished in brushed, anodised aluminium, the rotation mechanism that lets you fold the earcups flat uses strong steel, while the earcups themselves have a lovely soft touch matt plastic finish, and both the headband and earcups are finished in leather covered memory foam – you certainly feel like you're getting your monies worth.
There are some nice subtle touches too. The cable is removable, with two options included in the box: one black plain cable and a blue one that incorporates an iPhone remote (volume, play/pause, skip track, take call) with a decent mic – both are finished with angled 3.5mm jack plugs.
Also included is an OMTP adapter. This makes these headphones and remote compatible with handsets that use the OMTP headset standard, such as the Samsung Galaxy S. The only slight downside is that the socket on the headphones is actually a 2.5mm one so more common 3.5mm to 3.5mm cables can't be used as replacements.
Go to fold the earcups flat and that steel mechanism helps the cups on their way by springing into place as you rotate them. We're often amused by the idea of someone actually folding up and bagging their headphones when out and about, as they invariably still remain rather bulky, but at least Blueant has done its darndest to make this a viable option by supplying a plush leather carry case. You still end up with a rather large package to fit in your hand luggage but it's as good an effort as we've seen for a proper pair of headphones.
A further nice touch is the ability to remove the ear padding. This is another area where these headphones are rather similar to the B&W P5, though the P5 use a rather neater magnetised attachment, rather than the plastic lugs used here. Either way, the key thing is you can theoretically replace the pads if they get a bit grotty. They are available direct from Blueant for $25.99 if you're in the US or Canada, although it might be rather more difficult to track them down here in the UK, as they don’t ship worldwide.