Active Noise Cancelling headphones can come at a significant price premium due to the complex technology used to recognize and counteract sounds around you. However, in recent years, there have been more budget options cropping up from brands such as TaoTronics, Anker, and more. The OneOdio is a new contender in this category and comes in at a very competitive $59.99 USD, but with such fierce competition, will they stand out among the increasingly crowded pack of budget ANC headphones?
- Bluetooth Version: V5.0
- Battery Capacity: 3.7V/500mAH
- Bluetooth Chipset: QCC3003
- Noise Reduction Depth: 26±3dB
- Charging Time: About 2.5 hours
- Using Time 1: 15 hours (ANC+BT)
- Using Time 2: 25 hours (BT Only)
- Using Time 3: 45 hours (ANC Only)
- Bluetooth Profile: HFP/HSP/A2DP/AVRCP
- Bluetooth Range: 10m/33ft
- Sensitivity: 100±3dB
- Impedance: 32Ω
- Driver Diameter: 40mm
- Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz
- Weight: 268 grams
- OneOdio A30 Active Noise Cancelling headphones
- 120cm 3.5mm Auxilliary cable
- 50cm USB Type-A to Type-C charging cable
- Dual 3.5mm airplane adapter
- User Manual
When first handling the OneOdio A30s, they felt distinctly ‘rickety’, with the materials used not feeling quite as nice for something that’s going to be sat on top of your head for hours on end. Additionally, the hinges feel particularly brittle, which doesn’t bode well for headphones that are designed to be folded away daily. The headband is simply constructed, with padding over an otherwise naked strip of aluminum, which offers little comfort for the wearer, nor protection for the headphones themselves. This cheap-feeling construction and quality have us feeling as if the OneOdio A30’s headband could potentially be permanently bent out of shape, which is less than inspiring.
The earcups feel disproportionately high-quality in comparison to the rest of the headset, with memory foam padding and additional coating of artificial leather. Ultimately, the experience of wearing a headset relies on how comfortable they feel when you’re actually wearing them, so it seems like OneOdio has put a lot of the material cost into the earcups themselves, in hopes that their comfort will beat out their overall build quality, which is lacking.
Dressed in a dashing matte-black, the OneOdio A30s are pretty unassuming, which makes it take on a more ‘stealthy’ aesthetic. The surface of the earcups is dressed with a tight-knit texture of concentric circles and the OneOdio logo at its center. There is some additional branding on the top of the headband and sides of the headset, but it’s nothing gaudy or egregious. It appears as if the product design team at OneOdio has taken no risks, the A30s look like any other pair of wireless headphones you’ve ever seen, with the only available color listed as “Warehouse Black” which strikes us as a tad weird. What happened to the warehouse, why is it black? Was there a fire? Either way, it’s a bit of a shame to not see any further color options, and instead, it stands among a crowded product category as yet another anonymous listing.
The OneOdio A30s feel soft around the ears, the earcups are perhaps a little small for larger-eared people as they are closer to circular in shape than an oval, so if your ears are on the larger side, you might want to steer clear. The hinges can be contorted into whichever way fits you best, which is a nice addition as even Sony’s entry-level ANC headsets are pretty limited. The OneOdio A30s come in at a featherweight 0.45lbs/368g, which helps mitigate the less-than-generous padding on the headband. After an extended period of use, the earcups can get humid, thanks to the memory foam materials clamped to your head, but this is a pretty simple fix in the form of switching them out for something else a little bit more breathable. They are fairly comfortable, given the asking price. However, due to the stuffy earcups, we don’t recommend doing any physical activity in them.
These headphones have an impressively balanced soundscape, they have a surprisingly powerful bass considering the unremarkable 40mm driver. The mids and highs come through with relative definition too. After a few days of daily listening to a variety of music genres, I’ve yet to find a notable flaw in the audio fidelity of the headphones. Some audiophiles may be left lukewarm, but the $59.99 price point makes this a legitimate value for money proposition. The battery life is very impressive and they survived the entirety of the testing process without having to be charged once.
This is where the fatal downfall of the A30s rears its ugly head. Active Noise Canceling (ANC) works by using microphones on the exterior of the headphones to capture outside sounds. The onboard electronics then measure the wavelength and amplitude of the unwanted sounds and reproduce the same sound 180 degrees out of phase, thus canceling them out so, in theory, the wearer should only hear the sounds that they want to listen to. No ANC system is perfect, and this technology is better at canceling out consistent sounds, like car engines or loud fans.
The OneOdio A30s have decent ANC, they nullify ambient chatting noise in the office and can provide a reasonable excuse to pretend not to hear your colleagues which is always a bonus. These were tested on a 30 min tram ride and were impressively effective at removing the frequent bumps and groaning noises from our surroundings. For those of you who’d like more info about the technology of Active Noise Canceling there’s an informative and easy to read breakdown from SoundGuys.
However, the OneOdio A30s have one fatal weakness. The noise-canceling mode is unusable when walking or running. No headphones sit perfectly still on the wearer’s head, as the wearer takes steps the headphones slightly bob up and down. This is typically unnoticeable, but the ANC microphones on the A30s pick up every slight sound of each movement. This is rebroadcast through the speakers, which results in an infuriating popping noise that beats in time with every footstep. This is a major issue, and there are no settings or software for the A30s so you can’t even adjust their sensitivity. However, this type of feature isn’t even on the highest-end sets of ANC headphones. Due to this lackluster implementation, you are left with headphones that are nigh on impossible to use when out and about.
The OneOdio A30 Active Noise Canceling Headphones are close to being fantastic. The comfort, design, and sound quality land far above the expectations of a $59.99 USD price point, and the noise cancelation is effective at removing background noise, so long as you’re sitting or standing still. The popping noise when walking that was detailed earlier is inexcusable for a set of headphones that you’d expect to take while out and about, which is a profound disappointment.