Headphones with noise cancellation are becoming more and more popular solely for the reason that they allow you peace of mind even in a crowd. While that might not sound too much fun right now because of the COVID 19 lockdown and self-isolation, having a pair of Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) enabled headphones in the office is the real deal on a normal day.
Gurgaon-based Play, which was making only neckband-style earphones so far, recently launched the PlayGo BH70 — a pair of AI-based wireless headphones with ANC. The product is priced at Rs 14,999 and promises a lot on the specification sheet. But is it really worth your money? I’ve used the headphones for a month and here’s what I think about it.
PlayGo BH70 AI wireless noise-cancelling headphones review
Design and build could have been better
PlayGo BH70 sure looks good, but are not as premium as you might think. The build of the headphones feels sturdy but is a bit too bulky and weighs a bit too much for comfort. The plastic body doesn’t win PlayGo BH70 any points either and the glossy part has already started showing marks of wear and tear.
Play has packed a carrying case within the box of the BH70 and I really liked it. It looks premium and offers basic protection. It also includes a pocket to store the charging cable in.
The foam-type material under the headband makes the BH70 easier on your head. The same material in the earcups completely engulfs your ear without putting any pressure on it. When you wear these headphones, the weight doesn’t bother much because of the comfortable fit. However, after three-four hours of straight usage, you start to feel the urge to take them off.
The PlayGo BH70 features physical buttons on both the earcups. The right earcup has three buttons that can be used to turn up volume/skip to the next song, play/pause music, and turn down the volume/go to the previous song. The left cup carries the power button and the ANC button. The ANC button allows switching between three modes— Noise cancellation on, Transparency mode, and Noise cancellation off.
Full marks for ease of usage
The PlayGo BH70 ranks quite high on ‘ease of usage’. Even though changing between ANC modes is not quick and the vocal announcement is an irritant, the “smart touch and talk” feature is really handy.
It almost mutes the sound of music and temporarily turns on the transparency mode to let in the sound of the outer world with just a simple touch on the left earcup. As soon as you remove the finger, it turns everything back to the way it was.
The feature is quite useful and I really liked it. When you are enjoying the music with ANC on and realise someone is trying to talk to you, all you have to do is keep your finger or palm at the left earcup and catch up on the conversation.
The PlayGo BH70 also comes with what seems like a proximity sensor under the left earcup which automatically pauses music when you take off the headphones and plays it back again when you put them on.
To my surprise, the feature works really well and it even pause/play video irrespective of the app and platform you are watching on. Even if the PlayGo BH70 is connected to your Windows or Mac laptop, it will play/pause the music and video when you take them on/off.
Sound quality is impressive
Play claims the BH70 customises the music experience for each user as it detects your unique hearing conditions and “makes up for any hearing loss and fills in your blind music spots by matching it to the Golden Curve”. While I could not confirm or deny this claim, I have had no complaints with the sound quality of the PlayGo BH70.
The audio output is rich and listening to the bass-heavy tracks is pure joy. Just play the “Azadi” song by Divine and Dub Sharma and “Lucky You” by Eminem and Joyner Lucas on full volume, and you’ll know what I’m talking about.
With so much focus on the lows, BH70 still keeps vocals clear. The mids and highs are also good and at no point does the audio deteriorates or sounds like noise. The instrument separation is commendable. You can distinguish each and every sound in a song.
The surround sound hits the spot and gives the feeling of being a movie theatre with the sound coming from all the directions. While watching movies, sometimes I mistook the sound coming from the headphones as something happening around me. It becomes more evident in songs like “Rare” by Selena Gomez, “Graveyard” by Halsey, “Dura” by Daddy Yankee, and “Taki Take” by DJ Snake, Selena Gomez, Ozuna, and Cardi B where you can distinguish each musical instrument clearly and spot the sound coming from directions and distance.
Noise cancellation could have been better
The PlayGo BH70 is equipped with five microphones, four of which are dedicated to measuring the noise signal. However, the noise cancellation experience is not up to the mark. When the ANC is on, you do not feel that ‘oomph’ like Sony’s ANC-enabled headphones but then again, there is a price difference. Still, I expected better ANC on the PlayGo BH70.
Battery and charging
Play claims that BH70 can last 24 hours with ANC on. In my usage, I could get up to 16 hours of battery backup if counting only the time it played the song. In normal usage, I could get around 4-5 days without having to charge the headphones. The PlayGo BH70 comes with a Type-C port for charging and it takes around 2-3 hours to get charged.
Connectivity and calling
PlayGo BH70 feature Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX support. It connects easily with laptops, tablets, and smartphone. It also connects to two devices at the same time.
One thing which I feel Play should have included in the BH70 is the 3.5mm audio jack. It sure has a great battery backup but what if you run out of juice and do not have anything to power it up?
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When it comes to receiving or making calls, PlayGo BH70 is not the best companion. The audio is a bit muffled and the performance of the mic alters from time to time. I used to take the calls over my phone instead of talking over the BH70.
PlayGo BH70 verdict
For Rs 14,999, PlayGo BH70 has a lot to offer. Its design could have been better and the weight is a bit too much, but the headphones nail the sound quality, deliver great battery life, and come with features that make the usage a lot easier. The ANC is not too great, but keeps the noise out. All in all, the PlayGo BH70 offers value for money and you can definitely try these out.