If you’re a frugal and frequent traveler like myself, chances are you own very few material things that are more expensive than a round-trip plane ticket. With every major purchase I make, I tend to compare it to the cost of a trip I could have taken instead. Travel addicts with a budget are a lot more likely to find ways to spend less money on everything that’s not travel, especially non-necessities.
That’s why when I finally decided recently to take the plunge on a pair of wireless noise-canceling headphones, I was shocked to find out the name brands I was familiar with, like Beats or Bose, cost hundreds of dollars. I wasn’t willing to pay that much just for headphones to use on a plane. I wouldn’t be on a plane again for a long time if I did.
I knew there must be a comparable option that costs a lot less, and that’s what I found in COWIN’s SE7 Active Noise Cancelling Wireless Bluetooth headphones.
Price and where to buy: This wireless, streamlined iteration of COWIN headphones are $110 on Amazon or $120 on COWIN’s website (at time of writing). Earlier versions of COWIN headphones start around $60.
How the SE7 Active Noise Cancelling Wireless COWIN Headphones Rate :
- Usefulness: 8/10. A whopping 30 hours of battery life, APTX 5.0 Bluetooth that pairs easily and automatically after syncing to a device for the first time, and impressive QuietBalance noise-canceling power make these foldable headphones perfect for travel. The noise canceling on COWIN headphones even turns on and off with the flip of a switch so you can reserve battery power. My personal favorite part is the buttery-soft ear cushions. They also have easy-access buttons on the ear base for quick volume and Bluetooth commands.
- Value: 7/10. You really can’t beat the price of COWIN headphones for the quality of what you’re getting. The comfort and noise-canceling power make the low price tag surprising, but the overall sound quality is somewhat of a trade-off. Although the sound is generally good, these headphones are not quite as bass-thrumming as over-$300 headphones are. They do come close, especially when listening without the noise-canceling (read: background white noise) turned on. With noise-canceling on, though, you’ll need to turn the volume up a little higher than usual to get the bumping undertones you might be used to. Plus, noise canceling is more useful when you’re listening on a low volume, anyways. That could be a deal breaker for some.
- Durability: 9/10. The sleek and sturdy adjustable headband on COWIN headphones stays in its adjusted state thanks to stainless steel that clicks into place—solving a problem I’ve experienced with other adjustable noise-canceling headphones. After months of wearing these while traveling and at work, I’ve noticed no major scratches and they haven’t shown any technical issues. The uber-cushiony ear padding hasn’t deflated at all.
- Portability: 8/10. COWIN headphones are foldable for easy storage, and come with a sleek zippered case. In general, noise-canceling headphones are always going to be clunkier than ear pods or wired earbuds, but going wireless on a plane is life-changing, and you’ll never want to go back.
- Cool Factor: 9/10. I love the expensive-looking black matte of my COWIN headphones, and they’re also available in other colors. This active version is sleeker and more streamlined than the original retro-looking COWIN styles, making them look more expensive than they actually are.
Final Verdict: if you’re looking for a generally good sound quality that might carry a slightly less thumping bass than the most-expensive headphones out there, COWIN headphones are a game-changing travel accessory, and a steal.
More from SmarterTravel:
- Aukey Headphones Review: Drown out the World Without Wires
- 12 Best Travel Gadgets for Any Trip in 2019
- 7 Travel Electronics the Least Tech-Savvy Travelers Will Love
Editor’s Note: Reviews are based on usefulness, portability, durability, value, and “cool factor.” Some review products are sent to us free of charge and with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions, positive and negative, and will never accept compensation to review a product. If you have any questions or comments concerning our reviews or would like to suggest a product for review, please email us at email@example.com.