The premium audio market has been bustling recently, especially in the personal audio entertainment segment. When it comes to personal audio, noise-cancelling headphones have gained much popularity in the last few years. Apart from audio giants making their top of line ANC or active noise-cancelling headphones, a lot of brands have been introducing products both in the entry-level budget and budget-premium segments.
PLAY is a relatively new brand when it comes to making headphones. Apart from two wireless neckband type earphones, they have also launched a wireless over-the-ear ANC headphone which claims to use AI to provide the most optimal sound for listening. It uses a combination of active noise cancellation along with AI to deliver the sound which is tuned to an individual’s preference. However, there is a lot more to be examined.
Build and Design
The BH70 is made of plastic, period. No, it does not feel very premium when you actually pick it up and feels very plasticky and the joints feel a bit wobbly. However, the finishing on the headphones is good. The headband is flexible enough and has a layer of padding for comfortable use. The clasp is not too strong which is good for long usage periods. You can fold the BH70 earcups up to 90 degrees but it does not come with a fully-folding form-factor which would make them easier to carry. It comes with a USB-C type cable in the box and a sturdy case to carry it around.
The impressive part of the BH70 is the comfort it delivers over a long period of listening. While memory foam padded cups provide all the comfort for your external ears, the overall insulated fit provides a very high level of isolation from noise. The headphones come with buttons on the left and right earcup to control playback, noise cancelling, volume and activating the personal assistant on your phone. An infrared sensor which automatically pauses the playback once you take off the headphones. While it kind of sounds a bit sceptical, it surely works, each and every time. The ANC button helps you turn on noise cancellation, noise cancellation off and a transparency mode which allows you to hear the surroundings even when the music is playing. One can also place the palm on the left earcup which will allow temporary transparency.
Performance and Audio
Now, this is where things start to go in favour of the BH70. You PLAY has played around with terms like ‘AI-assisted auditory graph optimisation’ and ‘active feedback noise-cancelling technology’ and ‘Golden Hearing Curve’ for describing the audio performance on the BH70. PLAY claims to use algorithms which will optimise the hearing curve based on an individual listener’s feedback. What this essentially means is the audio performance of the BH70 improves over time which is fine-tuned to an individual’s response.
Over a period of use, there were no significant changes to the audio output. However, with at least more than 100 hours of total use, it seemed like the performance was more tuned to my liking. The BH70 can be optimised with the help of the PLAY headphones application which allows you to select the type of noise cancellation like normal or public transport. Each mode changes the way noise cancellation is taking place, especially when the public transport mode is activated, it focuses on reducing external noise like bus or train noise. You can also set the Golden Hearing Curve on the app following a series of tests. Lastly, the EQ also allows you to tune the frequencies according to your liking.
What comes as an absolute surprise is the brilliant audio performance which can challenge the territory of some of the major brands in the market. The Active noise cancellation plates a major role in providing crystal clear audio. From Queen to Dire Straits, from Metallica to Kendrick Lamar, the audio quality was very clear and enjoyable. It uses Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity and can pair more than one devices with it. The BH70 also supports popular codecs like AptX, SBC and AAC formats.
Noise cancellation was top notch and did not disappoint. With the transparency mode, the headphones do a good job of amplifying the surrounding noise to allow you to hear clearly. The 40mm drivers do a great job of producing clear mids and lows with the highs clear but certainly rolled off to an extent. This is also a combination for a lot of people who like a bit more of bass than a balanced output. The BH70 also supports Hi-Fi output and if you have a device which has an inbuilt DAC, you will have your mind blown with the quality of the audio.
As much as one could be concerned about the build quality, the battery life makes up for its flaws. With about 24 hours of playtime with active noise cancellation, you do not have to worry about charging the headphones frequently. It takes it about four hours to charge completely and the most thoughtful part is the USB-C type charging port which is welcome.
The Play BH70 has been priced at Rs. 14,999/- and provides you with a host of features like ANC, AI-bases hearing optimisation and solid battery life. While PLAY could improve on their build quality (most users would not even notice), the audio performance can be seriously vouched on, especially for the price it is being offered making it a true value for money product.
- Hybrid ANC
- 40mm Dynamic Drivers
- Bluetooth 5.0
- Apt-X, Apt-X LL, SBC and AAC support
- 1000mAh Battery
- 24 hours of playtime