- Super affordable
- Comfortable fit
- Average audio quality
- Review Price: £60
- 25 hour quoted battery life
What are the TaoTronics Bluetooth headphones?
The descriptively named TaoTronics Bluetooth headphones aim to offer buyers on a budget access to wireless and ANC (active noise cancellation) features traditionally seen on more expensive sets.
They don’t do much to differentiate themselves from competing sets, such as the KitSound Immerse Wireless, but if you’re after a bargain then you’ll struggle to find a better wireless over-ear headphones for less than £60.
But, like all headphones at this price, the return on investment you get spending even a little bit more is palpable.
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TaoTronics Bluetooth headphones – Design
The TaoTronics have a pleasingly unassuming design. The all-black set I tested feels more expensive and well made than other budget units. The metal finish and trimming of the cups give these headphones a slightly more premium look than the KitSound Immerse. Build quality is also a better.
Any pretence that these are premium headphones quickly falls away the moment you put them on, however. The band and faux leather has a plasticky feel that quickly becomes sticky when met with sweat.
They’re also easily scratched. Within a few days of sitting in my satchel, the cups had already picked up a couple of marks. Thankfully, a case is included for protection, so long as you have space for it in your bag. The fact that you can’t swap out the memory foam ear pads will impede their usability long-term, despite the case.
The TaoTronics Bluetooth headphones tick all the right boxes when it comes to fit and functionality. Simple-to-use volume up and down buttons sit on the right cup, with a convenient switch for ANC (active noise cancellation) on the left cup. Down below you’ll find a 3.5mm jack and micro-USB charging port.
For a set of headphones at this price to include any form of ANC is impressive. But before you get too excited, be warned: the ANC is significantly less powerful than you’d find on even moderately more expensive sets such as the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2.
It works okay for low-level noise: sitting on my balcony, it noticeably reduced the volume of the traffic below. But if you’re looking for a pair of headphones to block out noise on a train or plane, you’d be better off investing in a more expensive set. The ANC wasn’t good enough to block out the background noise of the London underground, and it was outright useless on a long-haul flight.
Build quality aside, the headphones offer a reasonable fit and seal. The memory foam pads and headband are comfortable and, unlike the KitSound, aren’t too tight. The seal is solid and offers reasonable noise isolation, even with ANC off.
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TaoTronics Bluetooth headphones – Sound quality
You’re unlikely to get blow-you-away sound quality from a set of headphones in the TaoTronics’ price bracket. Every set we’ve tested offer passable quality, at best, for casual listeners. This remains true of the TaoTronics Bluetooth headphones.
Tonal balance isn’t terrible. Listening to classic rock, no single part of the sound dominated any other. The low rumbling bass did occasionally wander, but it wasn’t pronounced enough to drown out the mid-range rhythm guitar or attacking drum parts.
However, overall, the sound lacks dynamism. Attacking punk guitar breakdowns and swooping post-rock crescendos was deficient of power and the changes in volume weren’t as marked as they are on even moderately more expensive sets. The difference was particularly noticeable when I compared them to the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2s.
Like all the headphones I’ve tested at this price, stereo image is also pretty much non-existent. On the whole, the sound was fairly flat.
Being fair to TaoTronics, these issues will be evident with most sub-£100 over-ear headphones, yet the audio quality is likely to be fine for casual listeners. This is simply something that music fans on the hunt for a bargain should be aware of.
Why buy the TaoTronics Bluetooth headphones?
If you’re a casual music listener looking for a pair of affordable over-ears with basic ANC, the TaoTronics Bluetooth are a decent choice.
Audio quality is pretty much on a par with most other sub-£100 sets, and the ANC – while not powerful enough to tackle loud noises – is capable of drowning out minor disturbances. Build quality is also excellent for such an affordable set of over-ears, making these a solid choice for people who regularly travel.
The TaoTronics Bluetooth are a solid choice for people on the hunt for a set of affordable over-ear, wireless headphones with basic ANC. Just don’t expect killer audio quality.
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