I have tested a ton of headphones including in-ear, on the ear, noise-canceling, noise isolating and whatnot. In the last two months, I tested four Active Noise Cancellation enabled headphones including Sony WH3, Taotronics BH060, Bose 700 and of course this MPOW H12. Which of these headphones do you think is the winner? Can this headset be even compared with Sony’s or Bose’s flagship ANC headphones’? I will touch upon this at the end of this post.
This is my hands-on, in-depth review of Mpow’s H12 Hybrid ANC Headphones with detailed images, use cases, pros, and cons.
The product being reviewed in this article is
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What’s in the Box?
The headphones came in a nice little orange box inside which I found the headphones, a 3.5mm cable to convert the headphones to a wired version, a warranty card, a quick start guide, and some promotional materials.
Design and First Impressions
These headphones look absolutely beautiful. The design aesthetics is fantastic. I really loved the matte black look and those shiny radial textures on the earcups. The ear cups are foldable which makes it easy to carry around, this has a little bit of an issue too which I will address in a while. The headband is adjustable and the cushion on the earcups is so smooth and comfortable, I love these because I can wear them for a longer period of time, with no pain, no discomfort feeling. The right and the left indicators are on the headband and you can see it in the image below.
On the left earcup, you have
- A button to toggle the ANC (Active Noise Cancellation) on and off.
Unlike many high-end headphones like Sony WH3 which need to be turned on to activate ANC, BH12 headphones take care of it even when the headset is off.
- A 3.5mm audio jack
This lets the users connect the headphones to a computer or a smartphone using the 3.5mm audio cable (included in the package). This feature is really helpful when the headphones run out of battery. In such cases, the headset can be used as a wired headset.
- There is a microphone
On the right earcup, you will find
- The control buttons to pause, play, skip buttons.
The top and bottom buttons are useful when you want to skip to the next song or when you want to increase the volume. The middle button is used to turn the headphones on and off, play/pause the audio. Here is a breakdown of the button controls.
- Play/Pause Button
Long press for 3 seconds: Turns the headphones on/off
Long press for 2 seconds: Triggers Voice Assistant (OK Google)
Short press for a second: Plays/Pauses the current song.
Double press – Calls the last called number
- A Micro USB port to charge the headphones
- An LED light to indicate the status
LED is Blue: while the headphone is on.
LED is Brown: when the headphone is charging
- There is a microphone as well
I would give 5/5 for the design and aesthetics.
At a glance,
Pairing is straightforward. Long pressing the pause/play button for around 8 seconds will trigger the pairing mode. Open the Bluetooth settings on your phone or PC and look for a device named Mpow H12 and connect to it. The headphones allow you to simultaneously connect to more than one system. For example, I connect mine to my smartphone and my laptop at the same time. If you are finding any difficulty, first connect it to the laptop and then to the smartphone.
After you are paired, you should hear a tone with the message ‘Your Device is Connected‘
Comfort and Ease of Use
The comfort is Top-Notch
The headphone is so lightweight and the super smooth earcups and the headband lets me wear this for a long long period of time without even noticing that I have something on my head. I would give a 5 out of 5 for comfort.
It is easy to use, allows quick pairing, solid Bluetooth connection and has minimal controls making it one of the easiest headphones to use. One thing I dislike is “when the headset is disconnected from a device, it makes a hissing repetitive tone which is very irritating”, this goes on until I reconnect it. For example, assume I have it paired with my laptop as well as my smartphone at the same time. If I turn off the BT on my laptop, the headphone will be disconnected from it. Now starts the annoying repetitive tone which is never-ending (please note that I still have a connection with my smartphone). I will have to restart the headphone to get it fixed. This is so annoying. I would give a 3.5/5 for ease of use.
Very stable. I have been using H12 headphones for almost 3 months now and I never had an unexpected disconnection until now. The Bluetooth range is good too but when as I go far and away, the audio will start to stutter/lag and this is expected though. The auto-reconnect does not work sometimes which is pretty annoying. I will have to manually open the Bluetooth settings and connect to it. It is good to note that this headphone rocks a Bluetooth 5.0 chip which means low power usage and better connectivity. I would give a 3.8/5 for this feature.
According to me, no matter how good a headphone looks and feels, the ultimate deal-breaker will be the audio quality. Lucky enough, this headphone has a very good audio reproduction and bass. Talking about the bass, I felt it was so smooth and pleasing and not a lot of headsets in the price range of $30-$50 will have a smooth bass. Even some of Mpow’s $30 headphones have terribly poor audio reproduction. I felt no harshness in the audio, even at a high volume. I could easily compare the audio quality to a $100 ANC headset. The volume level is not bad either. At high volume, there is a little bit of audio leakage. I would definitely give a 4.5/5 for audio quality. For less than $50, this audio is way worthier than anything.
Active Noise Cancellation
To start off with, I will talk about noise isolation. As soon as you put on the headphones, you will start to feel a 20% dip in the noise around you (note that you haven’t even turned on the ANC option yet). 20% is significantly high but you can only observe this in a noisy environment like an airplane.
When you turn on the ANC button on your left earcup, you will be blown away for a while because you will be thinking about how a $50 headphone could minimize so much noise. Mpow’s H12 uses Hybrid Active Noise Cancellation technology which is not pure ANC though. The previous headset I reviewed had a pure ANC feature but I didn’t find a significant difference between the two.
When ANC is ON, the noise would be reduced to almost 70% which is okayish. When I am outside, I could hear some high-frequency noise but the headphone neutralizes most of the low and mid-frequency signals. While you are listening to music, if you turn on the ANC option, you will see a significant difference in the audio quality. If you ever buy these headphones, I recommend using ANC even while you are listening to music. For ANC, I would give a 4/5 rating.
Bad. Battery life is not good at all. The manufacturer claims a battery life of about 30 hours. I would say it is around 20 hours (with ANC turned on), not more than that. Sometimes I recharge it twice in a two-day span with moderate usage which is ridiculous. Taotronics BH060, my previous daily driver had a slightly better backup of around 30 hours. My Audio Technica SR30BT has a HUGE 70 hours battery life. I still use it but recharge it, maybe once in 15 days or so. It would have been the best headset if it had ANC feature and a lesser price.
The charging is very fast, I would say 50% in 30 minutes or less. I don’t have the exact figure though. Even with this, I feel inconvenient when I have to charge it every now and then. I would give a harsh 2.5/5 for battery life.
One hack for getting a good backup from this headset is to minimize the use of the ANC feature. By turning off the noise cancellation, you will be saving a couple of hours of battery.
Very very good. It has a dual-mic technology that could pick up the slightest sounds too. This feature is very important because you don’t have to talk loudly. Not a lot of headphones will have this feature. When I am doing some work on my computer, I always use this headphone for calls. I would give the perfect score of 5/5 for this.
Comparison with Premium Headphones
Can I even compare this with a $400 headset? I don’t know but I will give it a try. If I take a look at the differences between Mpow H12 and Sony WH3, I don’t see anything extra that sony offers other than a 50% better audio quality and noise cancellation. But paying ten times more just for the brand name? to show off? I don’t know. If I were to buy a $400 headphone, I would go with Bose 700, I just love its aesthetics over Sony WH3 even though WH3 is priced at around $300.
If I compare MPOW H12 with a $60 headset like Taotronics BH060, I would say MPOW is better in terms of audio, aesthetics, and comfort but BH060 is better in ANC and battery life. There is a trade-off. If you are not concerned about battery, H12 is the best of the best you can get for this price range, otherwise, choose BH-060, it is a bang for the buck too.
Key Points to Take Away
- Best in design, comfort, portability, microphone and ease of use
- Good in Audio Quality, Noise Isolation, Noise Cancellation and Bluetooth connectivity
- Poor Battery life
- Better than all the headsets priced at around $50
- One of the best under $100 except for the battery
- Very lightweight makes it comfortable to wear, foldable design makes it easily carryable.
- Good hinges, adjustable headband
- ANC can be turned on without turning on the headset
- Pairing is easy and supports multiple devices at once
- Reconnecting sucks sometimes
- Optional 3.5mm jack to use it as a wired headset too
Mpow H12 is priced at around $50 (the price keeps changing). If you get it for like $50, it is a good deal.
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Last update on 2024-02-10 / Links / Images from Amazon PAAPI