Noise cancelling earphones are a great way to isolate yourself from the hustle-bustle of everyday life. While traveling on the metro, working in the office or even listening to music at home, noise-cancelling earphones envelop you in a cocoon of your own thoughts.
Most such earphones are extremely expensive. There are very few examples out there that offer good active noise cancellation on a budget. The Samsung Level In ANC aims to fill this void with noise cancellation up to 20db, a rechargeable battery, and a premium design - all for less than Rs. 4,000.
Let's see if the Samsung Level In ANC is worth its Rs. 3,799 sticker price.
Despite being predominantly made of plastic, the Samsung Level In ANC looks and feels quite premium. The only traces of metal, on the outer edges of the earpiece housings, adds some much-needed design flair.
The right earpiece cable has a three-button inline remote with mic that is easy to use. The buttons can be distinguished by feel and are not mushy at all. The mic also performs well - we experienced no issues while on calls during our test period.
The one-metre-long cable is covered with a braided fabric which not only looks and feels great, but also prevents it from tangling. There is a fairly hefty inline module just after the 3.5mm plug that houses the battery and noise cancellation circuitry. The lack of a right-angled 3.5mm plug, which can better withstand the rigours of day to-day use, is a bit of a letdown.
The Level In ANC earbuds are extremely comfortable thanks to their ergonomic shape and the ear-hooks that keep them in place even when working out. There are four sets of eartips bundled in the box - small, medium, large, and extra-large - making it easy to get a good fit.
The sound signature of the Samsung Level In ANC skews towards bass and treble, with the mids definitely taking a backseat, though the bass is quite punchy and does not distort, even at high volumes. The clarity is disappointing - it's difficult to tell instruments apart in densely layered recordings such as Radiohead's Kid A and Arcade Fire's Funeral. These earphones are best for genres such as EDM, R&B and Pop, in which vocals are not predominant and the focus is on the bass.
Samsung claims that the Level In ANC is capable of reducing external noise by up to 90 percent. Each earpiece has a microphone that picks up external noise. The device analyses ambient noise and creates inverted sound waves to cancel it out.
Unlike other noise cancelling earphones in this price range that take standard off-the-shelf AA batteries, the Level In ANC has a built-in rechargeable battery, which is extremely convenient. The earphones lasted around 6-7 hours on a single charge during our test period, which is less than the 9 hours promised by Samsung.
There are two noise cancellation modes to choose from - 'Talk-in mode' allows a certain amount of ambient sound in so that you can be aware of your surroundings, and 'ANC' activates noise cancellation to the fullest extent possible.
While the quality of noise cancellation pales in comparison to expensive products from the likes of Bose and Sony, what you get is good enough for the price. In fact, the Level In ANC does a better job at cutting out external noise than most other offerings in this price range.
While this pair of earphones does struggle a bit in extremely noisy environments such as the metro or a coffee shop, it is more than capable of cutting out distractions and letting you focus on your music or any other content in the office and at home.
However, the Level In ANC does emit quite a loud hiss, which becomes quite irritating when listening to soft acoustic tracks and music at low volumes. The 'Talk-in-mode' is a bit of a letdown because it's just a slightly lower level of noise cancellation. Similar modes in more expensive earphones intelligently filter in voices while blocking noise - which is much more useful.
If noise cancellation is a must and your budget is tight, the Samsung Level In ANC is definitely worth looking at. These earphones are comfortable, have a rechargeable battery, and are built quite well. The noise cancelling is also fairly decent for the price.
However, the sound quality leaves a lot to be desired. If you can live without noise cancellation, you can find better-sounding earphones in this price range, such as the Fiio F3, SoundMagic EC 10, and Sennheiser CX 3.00.
Price: Rs 3,799 (MRP)
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