Here I am, typing up this review, while listening to the same headphones I am about to review here: the Harman/Kardon Soho headphones. These headphones were unveiled in NZ late last year and let me tell you now: These headphones take portable to a whole new level!
Upon unboxing these headphones, I was thinking to myself if there were actually headphones inside this box! I mean, the case of the headphones measure at just 160 x 120 x 25 mm and weigh in at about 200 grams! So when I opened the case and saw these headphones, they were pretty tiny! However, don’t let its miniature appearance fool you for how powerful the headphones actually are!
One thing to beware of the headphone case is that it is just like an enlarged jewellery box: They [hard plastic cover] snap close with a BANG! if you don’t close it slowly. And mind you, the huge BANG! seems like it will take out your fingers as well, if they are in the unfortunate position of being in between the opening/closing lining. Don’t let children play around with the box!
The Harman/Kardon Soho headphones are actually on-ear headphones and not over-the-ear, which means these didn’t make my ears feel hot like the other over-the-ear headphones I previously reviewed did. But they also mean that passive noise cancelling is effectively ruled out, as sound can travel in all directions from the headphones.
At first, because the headphones and the headphone cable were in two separate pieces, I had trouble finding the ‘holes’ for where these wires connected to the headphone itself. Yes, I did say ‘holes’ because unlike normal wired headphones where there is usually one 3.5 or 2.5mm hole for the cable, this headphone had two: one for the left and one for the right. It was not until I read the instruction manual (Yes, I finally had to read an instruction manual!), did I find out that the on-ear pads were magnetic, and all I had to do was to pull it out.
Because of how the headphones fold up into the carrying case, it is not possible to leave the headphone cables plugged into the headphone if you want to put it in the carrying case, which is a nuisance. You would have to do a heap of work just to unplug the not-one-but-two cables and plug it back in again. Therefore, I just tie the cable neatly around the headphone and just carry it in my hand, since it is so lightweight and miniature.
Even though these headphones aren’t over-the-ear, sound quality is still very good. Harman/Kardon wanted to emphasise the bass on them through specially-selected 30mm drivers and neo-transducers. If you happen to be in a noisy environment, if you turn up the volume of the music, you should be able to hear your music more than the outside noises. Not sure if this would work in an aeroplane environment though.
One thing to note is that while these headphone come with a volume control and play/pause button on the cable, the volume control doesn’t work on Android phones e.g my Nexus 5. In fact, now that I come to think of it, volume control buttons never seem to work on any Android device as far as I can tell! It must be a device limitation or something like that. However, the play/pause button do work, and if you hold that button down, you get Google Voice Search.
Overall, these miniature headphones are great for that road trip in the car, because of its size and weight. The sound quality is great, and the bass is well defined as advertised by Harman/Kardon. However, if you plan on going further distances e.g on an aeroplane, you would be better off getting full sized over-the-ear headphones with an active noise cancelling feature.
To purchase these headphones, please visit: http://www.avworld.co.nz/shop/product/harman-kardon-soho-i-headphones/overview