- Beefy sound
- Very picky about positioning
Review Price £19.99
Design, Build and Comfort
MEElectronics is an almost-unknown brand here in the UK, but it offers a wide range of IEM earphones and headphones, including ones hewn from wood and ceramics. The MEElectronics HT-21 heaphones are more conventional, with an on-the-ear design made from plastic, metal and, everyone's favourite, pleather.
Using a supra-aural design and on sale for £19.99, these headphones are in direct competition with several all-time classic headphones including the Sennheiser PX100 and Koss Porta Pro. Unlike both these pairs though, this MEElectronics pair uses pleather ("plastic leather") coated pads instead of simple foam ones.
These pads are notorious for causing your ears to heat up uncomfortably and sticking to your skin, but the highly-textured surface of these pads seemed to keep this effect to a minimum. We even had to check with MEElectronics itself whether these pads were coated in plastic or leather, although expecting leather at this price point was a tad optimistic.
This pleather is also used to cover the part of the headband that rests on the top of your head, along with a thin piece of foam underneath, for comfort. They're lightweight enough to be comfortable to wear for hours on end, but if warm environments like a tube train are going to be your main listening environments, you may not appreciate the effects of those pleather pads.
The on-the-ear design of the MEElectronics HT-21s helps to cut out some ambient noise, more so than an equivalent supra-aural foam pair like the PX100, but they don't cut you off from the outside world. Use them in the office at low volume and you'll still be able to hear your co-workers talk about the latest goings-on in Albert Square. Use them on the tube and you'll still hear its signature cacophonous rumble. For better isolation, look for an over-the-ears pair - although the best isolation will come from a set of IEM earphones.
The HT-21s don't want to be left at home though. They fold up, just above each speaker housing into a reasonably compact package, although there's no hinge on the headband to further minimise the space they take up. The package comes with a bundled drawstring bag, although made from crummy textured plastic it’s a cheap addition that shouldn't figure in your buying decision.
Build quality of the headphones themselves is much better. The hinges of the folding mechanism are sturdy and the cable is thicker than average at this price. The MEElectronics logo that features on each of the cups makes these headphones look less sleek than price rivals, but they're just as solid.