ANC, superb battery life, and core shaking lows at an affordable price
The Active Noise Cancelling wizardry is a compelling technology that serves the purpose of blocking the environmental noise. It is particularly useful in large cities, public transport, busy streets, and noisy offices. For quite some time this headphone feature was proposed by models ranging above the average price point, but guess what, not anymore.
If ANC is something you have been searching for, but yet want to remain on the budget side, then the Mpow H5 could easily be the right product for you. At their price, they are probably one of the cheapest Bluetooth over-the-ear headphones around with a decent Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) capability.
Mpow H5 Features and Sound quality
What’s in the box
The Mpow H5 come with a semi-hard carry case, a USB to micro-USB charging cable and an auxiliary cable. The aux cable can be handy if you want to connect the headphones to a non-Bluetooth device.
Comfort and Ergonomics
The H5 headphones will be pleasantly comfortable for people with small to mid-sized ears. Your ears actually should fit within the earcups, but these are small earcups (inner cup size of 1.65” x 2.95”) and this may end up causing mild discomfort to those with larger ears, especially while engaging in long gameplay or music listening sessions.
They tick the comfort criteria checkbox with plenty of padding over the frame, making them conformable against the top of your head. The H5 also have length adjustments, so you can conveniently adjust the fit.
Controls and Design
The controls are pretty straightforward and include:
On the left earcup:
- Active Noise Cancellation on/off slider
On the right earcup:
- Play/pause button
- Volume up and volume down buttons (double press to skip tracks)
- Bluetooth/power button
The first time you use the H5 headphones you will need to pair them with your Bluetooth device. You can press and hold the Bluetooth/Power button for two seconds to power up. After that initial start the Mpow H5 goes straight into pairing mode. To pair it with other devices later on, just hold the button down for six seconds.
If you pair the headphones with your smartphone (Bluetooth 4.1), then for most operating systems (such as iOS on the Apple iPhone), you can activate the virtual assistant, with a long hold of the play/pause button. There is a noise cancelling microphone built into the unit so that you can answer calls. This isn’t the best microphone though, and you might be getting plenty of speak-up requests.
The Mpow H5 offer excellent high pitch clarity and a deep thumping bass. In comparison, the sound quality is better than that produced by the Mpow Bluetooth 059 Over-Ear headphones. We did notice that the dual 40mm drivers seemed to perform better whenever the ANC is turned on. For this reason, we recommend that you turn Active Noise Cancellation on and leave it on for good.
The earcups fold inwards and twist so the headphones can then be placed into the carry case. The carry case is great because there is also a netted pouch for keeping the cables in and they don’t get tangled up with the headphones themselves. The whole set is easily portable because it is extremely light at eight ounces (226g).
Active Noise Cancellation
The ANC works pretty well at removing low-frequency background noise, with a noise reduction level of 20±3db. With music playing, conversations happening on the other side of a large room are completely eliminated. If music isn’t being pumped towards your eardrums, then people’s chatter within the same room can be heard quite clearly.
The H5 certainly performs better than headphones that don’t have Active Noise Cancellation. However, they fall on the bottom step of the ladder for more expensive models that do have a noise cancelling tech built-in.
Even though not as refined as the higher-priced headphone models, you might still expect a fair experience whenever you pair the H5 with your TV, music player, cell phone or gaming PC.
You can save battery on the Mpow H5 headphones by turning Active Noise Cancellation off. However, the sound quality drops, so we don’t feel that this is a viable option. Having said this, the 18-hour battery life is good enough to likely carry you through the longest working day or gaming session.
You can charge these Bluetooth headphones by connecting them to your laptop, using the provided cable. You should turn off ANC, which drains power even while the headphones aren’t paying music. If you follow this advice, then the 300mAh battery can be charged in around 2 hours.
Mpow H5 ANC Alternatives
There are of course other products around, that are in the same pricing bracket or just slightly above. The ones we’ve picked for you are the following:
Mpow H8 – These sell at a similar price but have matt black finish instead of a glossy black one. They do not fold down, so the case isn’t as compact, and they leak more sound. If you make lots of calls then they have a better microphone, giving them a slight edge in such scenarios.
TaoTronics – You can get a better grade of noise cancellation with these headphones but they will cost you around $65.
Cowin E7 – Getting more expensive at 70$, the Cowin E7 has a better battery performance (30 hours) and the overall sound quality is a bit better. They do however have a better Active Noise Cancellation capability. Read our review about Cowin E7 here.
In conclusion, I can firmly say I was nicely surprised by the Mpow H5 headphones. The build is of high quality with a clean and robust design. The Bluetooth 4.1 offers connectivity that will let you move freely within a range of 33ft (10m) from your connected device. Most people will find the Mpow H5 comfortable to wear and you can expect a solid battery performance. Even though a little bulky, the included carrying case still makes taking them on a trip a viable option. For music, TV and gameplay this is an excellent proposal and at the $50 price tag, you can experience ANC without spending a fortune.