Up for review today we have the Phiaton BT 220 NC noise-cancelling wireless earphones. We’ve reviewed a handful of products from Phiaton in the past and have always been pleased with the results. Spoiler alert: we really liked these, too. But, that doesn’t mean they’re perfect.
When reviewing headphones, earbuds, and things of this nature there are typically two things consumers look for. Are they comfortable? How do they sound?
In short, we found these earphones to be very comfortable to wear, even for longer periods. My wife likes to wear them when she goes for runs while I typically use headphones for mowing and bike rides.
We went with the default ear tips that came with the earphones as they fit quite nicely. Should these not feel good to you there are others in the box. In fact, the Phiatons come with four sets of silicon ear tips and one set of memory foam. Regardless of ear size or shape there’s something for everyone.
There’s also an included neck strap however we didn’t bother with them. The main unit itself has a clip on the back which allows wearers to attach it to a sleeve or neck of a shirt. Your experience and preference may vary, but we couldn’t think of a solid reason to attach the strap.
As is the case with other models we’ve tested with Phiaton, the sound is excellent here. Whether it’s corded or wireless, noise-cancelling or not, this brand consistently delivers a solid sound experience.
This particular model offers noise-cancelling which can be accessed by sliding a little toggle on the side. Whether you want or need to use this feature remains to be seen, however, I like to enable it when there’s some sort of ambient noise to contend with. To me it’s like when your ears pop on an airplane and suddenly everything is so much clearer.
Lawnmower engine, air from riding a bicycle, or general traffic noises are essentially turned off. Don’t get us wrong, things work well even if you don’t bother with it. In all fairness, my wife didn’t realize this was even an option. Beyond that, she doesn’t use the earphones in situations which might merit the noise-cancellation.
I’m not the tech and spec guy so I won’t talk up things too much here. But, looking through the Phiaton page I find they offer the following details:
- Frequency Range: 10 Hz ~ 27 kHz
- Impedance: 32 Ohm
- THD: Less than 1% at 1 kHz
- Sensitivity: 100 dB at 1 kHz
Both highs and lows are very clear and I never encountered something that seemed muddy or tinny. I listen to a wide assortment of musical genres and nowhere did I find that sound came across as lacking. Even at high volume levels, the Phiaton is able to deliver a consistent and enjoyable audio experience.
According to Phiaton you should end up with up to 16 hours of calling time, 17 hours of music-listening, and upwards of 300 hours of standby. We typically don’t measure the actual hours but suffice it to say these are not a pain in the butt, charging-wise.
Given we’re prone to charging phones over night and carrying around portable power supplies for in a pinch, we didn’t have to worry about these earphones. Between my wife and I we were able to use these a few times each before one of charged them up.
One area of improvement, however, comes in the notification of life. Although there is a notification of a low battery we didn’t know exactly what percentage we were at our how much longer we had. Would they last for a quick couple mile run or are they gonna die in the next ten minutes?
If there were some sort of audible alert that mentions “50% or 25% battery remaining” we’d have felt more at peace. But, even in the few weeks we played with these we never got stuck with a pair of dead earphones halfway through an activity.
Everything you might expect in a pair of Bluetooth headphones is present, including volume, track advance, play and pause. What’s more the noise-cancelling option (see above) is a nice added touch.
We like that we’re able to pair two smartphones to the device at the same time. This makes for a hassle-free experience which lets both of us grab them and go without slowing down to pair or reset.
Many modern smartphones feature NFC connectivity of which the earphones are able to take advantage. Simply tap the earphones to your phone and you’re paired and ready to go. It’s quick, easy to do, and worked every time we tried.
One area we weren’t totally in love was the overall shape and design of the controller. Not that we didn’t appreciate its sleek design and lightweight presence. Essentially we were accustomed to another pair of Phiaton headphones and liked that setup better.
As one of our favorite Bluetooth headphones of the last few years, we really liked the egg shape and directional toggle of the now-discontinued PS 20 BT. To us, at least, it was easier to control tracks and volume without looking. Reach down and you have the D-pad joystick-like thing which works great. On the other hand, the BT 220 NC is more polished and sophisticated looking.
Expect to pay somewhere between $160-$180 for these headphones; they don’t come cheaply. But, having spent the better part of three years with a different pair of Phiatons we know they’re built to last. We’re not saying you can be lazy or treat them roughly but we know they can take moderate abuse with no problem.
There’s nothing here in this model to suggest they are not worth the money. Everything is put together soundly and the entire experience is solid.