Bluetooth headphones allow users more flexibility to move around and multitask whilst still being able to enjoy their music. Recent models, such as the Philips SHB 7000, produce high quality sound that is comparable to wired headphones.
Like many headphones made for casual listening, the SHB7000 has a penchant for bass. Backed by large and dynamic 40mm neodymium drivers, the audio is boosted in the lows, whilst maintaining good clarity in the other ranges.They have a frequency response of 20Hz to 20,000Hz, and are able to play both low and high notes well. Although boosted, the bass is tight and powerful, instead of muddied and thumping like in the Beats – making them great for genres such as pop, hiphop, rap and electronic dance music. Mids are solid and vocals are crisp, although details seem to be lost in the trebles. The good news is that there is no sibilance.
The overall response is warm and lively rather than accurate or flat, so the audio is non-fatiguing to the ears. The headphones work best with loud, bassy tracks, so if you’re looking for something that can highlight details or subtle nuances in a track, then these are probably not a good fit. Aside from music, the impactful bass is good for movies and gaming, especially with action scenes. As there is no noticeable lag, users need not worry about scenes where the audio is not synced with what’s happening on screen. A wide and spacious sound stage places users within their audio environment, with a ‘surround sound’ effect.
The SHB7000 runs on Bluetooth 3.0, which is backwards compatible. Although not the latest version, they should work well with most devices. The headphones also support various profiles such as Hands Free Profile (HFP), Headset Profile (HSP), Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP) and Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP). The latter produces CD-quality stereo sound when paired with audio sources with a similar profile. The result is minimal loss during transmission and high fidelity audio, comparable to wired headphones.
In wired mode, the headphones have a low impedance of 32ohm and high sensitivity, so they can be plugged into portable music devices such as smartphones, MP3 players and home hi-fi sets.
The SHB7000 is an over-the-ear model that envelopes the ears completely for better noise isolation. The circumaural, closed back design helps to minimize environmental noises, blocking out the sound of people mowing the lawn or dogs barking in the neighbourhood. They also keep noise in well, so you won’t bother others on a commute with loud music – that is, if you’re using the headphones outdoors.
They don’t seem to be designed with portability in mind, since the cups do not fold down for easy storage. Typical of DJ-inspired headphones, they are large and bulky, with giant ear cups that threaten to swallow up users with smaller faces. At 1.4kg, they are much heavier than models like the August EP650, but the thick headband helps to distribute the weight evenly over the head. The grip is firm to avoid slippage, and the band is adjustable to fit different head shapes and sizes.
The padded ear cups are covered in a velour-like material for added comfort. The soft, buttery texture is easy on the ears, but since they build up heat and sweat, they might not be suitable for warmer environments. Machine stitched edges make them resistant against tearing. Meanwhile, the body is made from high quality plastic with a solid, robust build that is able to take abuse.
Design wise, the headphones are simple and clean-looking, but tasteful and modern. There are no unnecessary hinges or screws, and the smooth surface looks sleek and shiny. Users can choose between black and red, or white and blue for a personalized style.
The SHB7000 has an operational range of 15m and works as advertised, unlike some headphones that promise a wide range but drop off after a few feet. There is minimal static or hissing.
The mic is in-built into the headphones so users can make and answer calls easily. Mic quality is decent, and they pick up voices well whilst blocking out environmental noise. While they won’t make the cut for recording game walkthroughs, they should be good enough for making Skype calls.
For wired connectivity, the headphones come with a 1.2m audio cable that connects through a 3.5mm jack into a port on the left ear cup, which can be used when the batteries run out. Also on the cup are controls such as the power button, pause and play, call receive button, slider button for skip track and previous /forward tracks. They run on rechargeable battery with a decent nine hours of battery life, with 200 hours of standby time. Also included is a Micro USB port for charging.
Overall, the SBH7000 is a good all-rounder when it comes to sound quality, build and comfort. The Bluetooth 3.0 supports various profiles for high fidelity, stereo sound which is suitable for listening to music, watching movies and gaming. The headphones also come with all the works – inbuilt mic, controls, a wide operational range and decent battery life. For their price point, these features make them great value for money.