If you called the Nokia BH-905i the swiss army knife of headphones, you wouldn't be too far off. These wireless noise canceling headphones have function and style, but are they the right headphones for you? Read on after the jump to see our review.
It seems like I'm always searching for the perfect headphones. This time around I was looking for something to replace my Monster Beats. I wanted something wireless that had active noise canceling, so I could use it during my commute. To my surprise, there weren't that many to choose from. There are noise canceling headphones like the Bose QC3 and good wireless headphones like JayBird, but not both in one. I've been eyeing the Nokia BH-905 headphones for a while now, but thought they looked a bit awkward. However Nokia released their newly redesigned BH-905i so I thought I'd give it a try.
The one thing I really love about these headphones is the ability to use them either wirelessly or plugged in. The BH-905i comes with 5 adapters and 2 wires that allow you to use it with your computer or anything else with a standard headphone jack. This is great if you want to use it with an older music player with no bluetooth functionality. The battery time is great with 25 hours of music playback (with noise cancellation off) and 16 hours with noise cancellation on. I only wish I were able to charge the headphones through USB and not have to rely on a dedicated charger.
The sound quality is quite good and even though you can find wired headphones in the same price range with better sound, the quality is surprising considering these headphones are wireless. I experimented listening to various different types of music and found that the sound was good all around, from electronic/dance to garage rock to folk. The bass is nice and punchy without sounding too powerful and overwhelming like my previous Beats, and the lows are definitely much better than my Urban Ear Plattans. The mids can sound slightly muddy every once in a while and there are moments when I wish the highs were a bit more crisp, but I think that generally the sound quality does very well across many different music genres.
Over the years I've owned a few noise canceling headphones, including the Beats by Dre Studio and an old pair of Bose QC1s. The noise canceling on these headphones beat them both hands down, which is another surprise considering that these sit on top of your ears rather than cover them completely like my previous headphones. The active noise canceling also has a separate switch from bluetooth, so you can turn noise cancelling on/off whether or not you're listening to music. This is different from most other noise canceling headphones, which require you to have noise canceling on at all times. This is a nice feature for city commuters—after I get off the subway, I keep my music playing but turn the noise canceling off so I that I can hear street traffic. I can also turn it right back on if I'm receiving a phone call.
The headphones are comfortable enough, with soft high quality padding around the ear cup. Since these are "on the ear" headphones, some people may be uncomfortable with the pressure on the ears but I found them to be comfortable on for extended periods of time. The headphones are light but have a slight weight issue, with the battery and electronics in the ear cups. The weight makes the headphones not as snug and secure as I would like them to be, so they probably wouldn't be ideal for running/exercising.
The buttons you use to control the headphones are located on the right ear piece—this includes pause/play, skip forward/back and a voice dialing button. The only problem with this is that every time you need to perform an action, you push the ear piece, pressing against your ear. It gets a bit annoying after a while, especially during the long presses required to activate voice dialing.
Overall, the BH-905i headphones are a great buy. They sport high class style similar to the Bose QC3 with comparable noise canceling technology. The sound quality is amazing considering that the headphones are wireless, and with all the adapters included in the box, it can be used with virtually every gadget you own. For $199 you can probably find better headphones with better sound quality, but you'd be hard pressed to find good all around headphones like this that are both noise canceling and wireless (with the option to be plugged in). These headphones may not be perfect for everyone, but they're definitely a great choice for commuters and frequent travelers.
- Ability to use wirelessly or wired
- Long battery life
- Great active noise canceling
- Separate switch for ANC
- Hard to tell when it's on/off
- Non USB charging
- Not very snug/secure on the head
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.