review

Mpow H5 2018 Upgrade Budget ANC Headphones

Monday, May 27, 2019

When you buy headphones you have to weigh up quality, price and features such as active noise cancellation (ANC) which is a very useful headphone feature to have when working out in the gym and traveling.
Decent ANC headphones can be pricey but fortunately there are good budget ANC alternatives to flagship ANC headphones like the Mpow H5 which are the 2018 upgrade version without the Mpow logo.
The Mpow H5 are an interesting pair of over-the-ear headphones because the earcups both fold and swivel, which a feature you don't get in a lot of other headphones (usually one or the other).
Like most budget ANC headphones in this range, the Mpow H5 headphones use either feedback or feedforward active noise cancellation (ANC). The H5 seem to use the feedback ANC setup (microphone inside the earcup) because the cancelling noise seems to be able adapt itself to cancel out mid to lower range noises. To cancel out higher frequencies exclusively you need feedforward or adaptive active noise cancellation.
The ANC switch on the H5 headphones is tactile and has good resistance so very little chance for the ANC to get turned on accidentally.
Speaking of earcups, they aren't too bulky but still provide a decent amount of isolation so a lot of background noise is cancelled out passively. There is no sound leakage either so the Mpow H5 are perfect for watching TV without  disturbing anyone.
Active noise cancellation headphones like the Mpow H5 are best for cancelling pattern-based, low-frequency sounds like a car alarm or airplane noise. As mentioned earlier, if you want to cancel high to low frequencies including people talking, it's best to go with adaptive noise reduction headphones.
Aside from the ANC switch, you get three other user control buttons for controlling the audio playback including skipping tracks and volume, as well as answering phone calls (answer/reject/hang-up) and prompting up the voice assistant.
an audible beep is generated when changing the volume
There is no memory foam just regular polyurethane foam on the earpads, meaning the Mpow are comfortable to wear for short periods (i.e. couple of hours) so good for short haul flights.
When using them for longer than a couple of hours, you have to take breaks because of the foam cushioning getting hot and heavy after a while.
The material covering the earpads and headband cushioning is made of faux leather which isn't as durable as real leather but it's still comfortable on the skin.
While the Mpow H5 don't feature quick charging or USB-C charging, the internal rechargeable battery can last a full day with active noise cancellation turned on (30+ hours with ANC turned off). Full charge takes between 2 and 3 hours.
In the audio department, the H5 headphones deliver clear bass, mids and treble with narrow soundstage so instruments sound like they're coming from the same place, unlike with wide soundstage where there is clear instrument separation.
The volume can be turned up very loud though and the bass is boomy so all-in-all, the Mpow H5 are good all round headphones.
The Mpow H5 also have very low latency (136ms) which is low enough for audio to sync with a streaming video so you can use the H5 for watching movies on YouTube.
The H5 headphones use a bluetooth 4.1 chip, which isn't the latest Bluetooth version (Bluetooth 5.0) but still features a low energy protocol; hence the long battery life.
flat anti-tangle audio cable
There is a microphone built-in which is surprisingly good for a headphone in this price range. The microphone picks up your voice loud and clear.
The Mpow H5 headphones are constructed mostly of plastic with brushed aluminum for the inner frame of the headband adjustment.
Weight is fairly low at 357 grams which helps the comfort. You get a high gloss black finish on the earcup housing and silicone-like matt finish on the headband so the Mpow H5 headphones have a sleak, modern style. The silicone rubber finish is nice but it's a finger magnet and prone to fingerprint smudges.

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