Oct 30, 2013

[Gadgets] Nocs NS400 Aluminum (Android)

So here's another Android accessory review thanks to our friends at Digits Training Corporation, who provided this review unit in exchange for my opinion of the device.

Headphones are an eternal frustration for mobile device users all over. Depending on how heavily you use them, wear and tear really takes a lot out of them and so it's probably one of the most frequently purchased accessories these days. And we've all gone through the routine of trying out fairly expensive units and alternating them with cheaper units in the hopes that you can save a little money.

If anything, cheaper units really don't go too far, in my experience, so it really helps to invest a bit in these headphones. So then it becomes a question of quality, especially with so many different earphone units being of similar price rates boasting similar features. Hopefully I'll be able to compare and contrast different headphone units in the weeks and months to come to come to a more logical conclusion.

This unit is the Nocs NS400 Aluminum headphones for Android devices. These earphones feature a single-button remote as opposed to the three-button report seen on the iOS-compatible version of the NS400. This aluminum model comes in both black and white and there's also an alternate Titanium model. It retails for about PHP 2,990.00 and can be acquired from Digits Trading Corp partner establishments like Digital Walker, Beyond the Box and Digital Hub.

The earphones feature an integrated microphone that can pick up one's speech within a 360 degree arc. The microphone also removes GSM/TDMA burst noises to offer a clearer phone experience, which I feel is pretty important when you take calls in noisier, public locations. The in-ear design also offers noise-cancelling coverage to allow you to better hear your music or whatever you have playing on your phone. However in my limited testing thus far, I don't detect any noticeable difference in noise reduction when using these headphones versus others. It may just be a matter of selecting the right eartip to best fit your ear or something.

These are in-ear headphones, which admittedly are my preferred audio device for mobile phones. Some folks prefer the big external devices more, but I find them a little too conspicuous when walking around the city. The only additional features that the headphones come with are three pairs of alternate ear tips in different sizes so you can figure out which one works best for you. Swapping the different ear tips for one another is pretty easy but not too easy such that you find them falling off all the time or being left stuck in your ear should you haphazardly yank them out.

In addition, the earphones are promised to be "tangle-free", primarily because of their unique flat cable design together with Kevlar-enhanced materials. Admittedly the flat wire design does seem to help limit tangle frustrations, especially when you quickly jam your earphones back into a cluttered bag or something. And I love the length on these things - they were pretty generous in this department without looking like you're carrying around a full roll of measuring tape or something. Compared to the HTC One's stock headphones, by a good 4 inches or thereabouts.

But let's talk about the most important factor-  actual sound.

Using my HTC One, I have to admit that the NS400 provides a nice full sound complete with a respectable amount of bass. The bass level doesn't quite match what you get from the stock Beats Audio earphones that come with your HTC One, but that's really a matter of preference I suppose. The sound offered by the NS400 remains clean and clear and does well in terms of cancelling out external noises. The stock earphones for the HTC One tend to address this more through a snugger fit for the ear tips and overall bass volume.

The single button remote follows the default Android functions provided for all such earphone units. Thus a single click triggers your phone's default music player, a double click dials your last dialed number while holding the button brings up your Google Voice Search interface. If you want to customize your button functions, you can download the Nocs Remote Control app from the Google Play Store.

The Nocs NS400 Aluminium earphones are a nice sleek pair of earphones that offer good audio, great cable design and other smart features. They rate a nice 3.5 out of 5 and stand a good chance of being my default headphones for now. It's really a question if the cost of the headphones is something you're comfortable with given the inconsistent feature set.

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