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Nokia Purity In Ear WH-920 review

Andrew Williams

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Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score

6/10

Pros

  • Warm, bassy sound
  • Windows Phone compatible remote
  • Slightly narrow sound

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Lacks treble sparkle
  • Tend to work their way out of your ears

Review Price £67.21

Key Features: 20 - 20,000 Hz frequency response; Windows Phone-compatible remote/handsfree; Dynamic driver; Carry case; Five pairs of rubber tips

Manufacturer: Nokia

If you're going to team up with a brand to make licensed earphones, you could do worse than Monster. It's behind the ludicrously successful Beats by Dr. Dre line-up, as well as tie-ins with all-time musical greats like Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga. Next for the Monster mauling is Nokia. In all honesty, we haven't thought all that much of much of Monster's output, but can it pull it back for Nokia?

Design

The Nokia WH-920 Purity is the in-ear entry in the Nokia-Monster partnership, sitting alongside the Purity HD on-ear headset. Available for around £70, they're not disastrously expensive, but unfortunately you can get better sound for less.

In true fashion earphone style, the WH-920 Purity In Ear come in four colours - black, white, pink and blue - and all are bold, block shades that cover the earphones from head to figurative toe. We were sent the black pair, which came as a relief after having to walk around town with the bright orange Sennheiser HD 229 and earmuff headphones in recent months.

Nokia Purity In Ear

However, they're not exactly normal-looking. All angles and bulges, they're not a million miles off the Heatbeats earphones Monster produced for spandex diva Lady Gaga. Given the block-colour finish, there are also quite a few splits and seams across the bud, as well as both glossy and matt finishes. Neither out there nor particularly demure, we're not quite sure what Nokia or Monster were trying to achieve besides a somewhat distinctive look (that'll be it then).

Control Talk Universal

The functional raison d'etre for these earphones isn't their style, mind. It's the handsfree and remote housing - hence why Nokia refers to these buds as a headset rather than earphones or headphones. Where most remote controls are made for iOS devices, and might cobble-together some sort of functionality for their Android and Windows Phone "poor cousins", the Purity headset will work perfectly with Nokia Lumia phones, which use the Windows Phone OS.

Nokia WH-920

Using other smartphones you'll be able to take calls, but not control music or volume. With an iPhone 4, pressing the buttons during playback did precisely nothing. Nokia is rather overselling the thing in calling it Control Talk Universal, but it's good to see Windows Phone get some love for once - even if it is coming from Nokia.

Comfort

Back to the earphones, though. They use a thin flat cable that claims to be tangle-resistant, although we found it certainly wasn't immune - better than some, worse than others but fundamentally nothing noteworthy. It's also fairly microphonic, causing rumbly noises as it rubs against clothing while you're on the move.

Much more annoying, the Purity In-ear headphones also tend to work their way out of your ears while you move around. It's because the tips used require being pushed in, then pushed out a little to get a seal, resting on the entrance to your ear canal rather than as far as they can reach down the winding aural road to your brain. The combo of the earbud design, cable style and perhaps the extra weight of the remote control - or something along these lines - makes this effect particularly noticeable. And it's not something we complain about often.

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Sam

February 8, 2013, 4:20 pm

I just bought this one today, because I had an issue with my previous in ear headphones (I drop it into water though), I see that they're cutting down the price for the black one to around $ 48/49 so I just want try it.

As I experience it, this isn't quite Monster earphone quality that I expected (I'm comparing it with Monster Turbine that my friend bought for $47 from the manufacturer). The bass is little bit more comfort than my Philips SHE8000 that I bought for $ 27/28 (My previous earphone, which is a bit tubby) even tough I don't feel any 'WOW' effect that I expected from Monster earphones. This Purity lack of detail compared with my SHE8000. I notice that some treble 'sparkle' like chimes are missing. This earphones is for one who look for bass oriented earphone I think. I found it that the sound is pretty common and for that price class, it isn't quite the competitive one.

I used it on my Ipod Shuffle, and it comes that it is better than my SHE8000, it produced a nice smooth bass though still missing some treble. I used it on my PC, the sound isn't quite distinct.

For the comfort, the Purity really doesn't like to 'sit' in my ear for too long. I notice that after around an hour or some heavy move, the buds will eventually slide away from my ear so I have to re-seat it (exactly as I just read here). Fitting it doesn't quite smooth thing to do compared with my SHE8000. The dangling cable also an issue when you touch the cable or when they hit my shirt (though the same thing happen with my Philips SHE8000, which in SHE8000 case even worse because the cable is a rubber made that sticky with other thing) For the comfort in ear, I rate that my Philips is the winner (it doesn't move around so easy and they sit very easy in my ear) This earphone definitely not for a person which is like to running around or use in in the gym.

The cable a little bit too long, plus the extend for my Nokia 701, it's not quite hassle free for me.

The volume and music control doesn't work with my Nokia 701 (which is using Symbian Belle platform running) thought the middle button still working for voice recognition, which you can make a call by touching it.

Overall, it is a good product but the price is not very competitive for the market.

Ali

October 2, 2013, 7:01 pm

bought them year ago......using on samsung galaxy s3, fortunately media keys do a good job(which i dint expect to be as they are specifically made for nokia lumia) but with the passage of time one of its ear stops working. have to send to claim warranty every 2months....for me its waste of money should get different pair of earphones if you are not a nokia user...

Lestat de Lioncourt

March 31, 2014, 7:07 am

did not even reached six months and one of its ear stop working what a piece of shet!

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