Picking headphones is about balancing different factors. Are you mostly interested in portability? Does battery lifespan make the most difference to you? Are you planning on wearing your headphones for six hours in a row? Answering those questions will help dictate what kind of headphones will work best for you.
Mpow H10 Dual-Mic Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones
That being the case, how does the Mpow H10 stack up? Well, they have a couple of distinct strengths, and a smaller number of notable weaknesses. For starters, the H10 make use of an upgraded design. But most of the upgrades have to do with call clarity and ANC capacity. More specifically, the combination of feed-forward and feed-back dual microphones allows for some pretty strong ANC.
The H10 are supposed to have one of the longer battery capacities of basically any pair of over-ear headphones in this price range. Whether they live up to those expectations depends on how you end up using the H10, as is usually the case with over-ear headphones like these. But their battery does end up going head-to-head with some pretty impressive headphones that end up costing much more than these.
But it’s really calling features where the H10 is surprisingly effective. They’ve made their ANC work well alongside their calling features, resulting in fantastic levels of clarity on both ends. This level of clarity is hard to find on midrange headphones like the H10. Though these calling features aren’t exactly the point of these headphones, they are more than a cherry on top.
Design & Layout
The outside of the H10 are largely made from ABS plastic. However, they’ve decided to slightly polish the exterior, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. It’s a good thing because they look a little nicer as a result. Unmodified ABS, even when it’s the right material for the job, can often end up looking cheap. So the polished version looks better. But since the design isn’t matte black, these headphones do end up creating a small amount of glare on their surface while in direct sunlight.
Those issues are less prominent on the gray version. Because the H10 are available in two varieties: dark and sky gray. The dark is basically a charcoal black, while the sky gray is a muddy white. In both cases, the only difference is color.
While many brands have moved out into offering touch control interface, Mpow has been sticking to classic analogue inputs. On the base of the left ear-cup, you’ll find the ANC switch. It’s pretty easy to tell when it’s flipped into the on-position. And because no other buttons are anywhere near the switch, it’s impossible to accidentally press something else while trying to toggle the ANC. Very smooth for quick operation.
On the right ear-cup, you’ll find three multi-function buttons. Those buttons allow you to play, pause, skip between tracks, and affect the volume in either direction. Since there are so many controls stuffed into three buttons, you do have to learn a few tapping patterns, and there’s a small learning curve. It’s comparably better than having to only deal with two multi-function buttons, though. And below the analogue inputs, you’ll find a charging port and 3.5mm audio port, but we’ll look more closely at those a bit later.
The H10 were intended to be worn all day long. That’s done in a couple of ways. One way is to make sure the headband doesn’t clamp too tightly against the side of your head. In combination with enlarged ear pads, the result can be pretty good.
In this case, the H10 also make use of a rotatable design that allows you to move the ear-pads in a 90-degree rotation around their axis. So no matter the shape or size of your head, you can expect the H10 to do a pretty good job of keeping comfortable. That rotational design means you can pop off one of the ear-cups and start listening to your environment as it’s needed, too.
The design is also collapsible. So you can fold them up and shove them into a bag, and they’re less likely to be damaged during travel. Speaking of travel, these headphones are actually exceptionally lightweight – for wireless headphones. It’s often the case that wireless headphones are allowed to be pushed out towards the 1-lb mark. That’s actually horrible for long-term comfort, even though it does allow you to add a lot of cool stuff to your headphone design.
The H10 actually weigh closer to 10 ounces. That puts them a tad on the lighter side for wireless gear, though they’re still about two ounces heavier than is considered an ideal weight. As long as you’re not going to keep them on for 8-hours in a row, you shouldn’t end up feeling the weight.
Wireless & Call Quality
These headphones make use of pretty ordinary Bluetooth connectivity. Since these aren’t true wireless earbuds, it’s not necessary to obsess too much about the Bluetooth connection. But there are a few things to note. For one, the CSR9635 Bluetooth chip is further backed with CVC 6.0.
For people who aren’t familiar, CVC tech basically works by blanketing some ambient noise over your voice. The person on the other line will hear your voice come through clearly, even if there’s six other people chatting in the area around you. It’s actually a pretty common technology used in call centers for that very reason.
In any case, along with the use of two separate microphones for sound capture, it’s clear that the H10 can deliver some excellent call quality. Especially when compared to a more ordinary single mic setup that lacks the CVC tech.
The H10 are supposed to be able to provide a total of 30 hours of battery life. Can they get that far? Well, the answer actually depends on you. How are you using your headphones? Do you have the ANC running at all times?
When you’re listening at around half volume, and you’re not using the ANC, the 30-hour estimate is actually pretty realistic. But does that sound like how you’ll be using the H10 most of the time? Probably not. When it comes to ANC headphones, ANC tends to be turned on more often than not. These headphones are actually designed with the expectation that will be the case.
So it’s a little inaccurate to suggest these headphones can achieve 30-hours of playtime. Because even though the quality of the ANC means that half-volume levels are probably going to be pretty good for you, it also means battery lifespan will drop towards 22-hours pretty quick. That’s close enough to the kind of battery outcomes that the typical listener should be searching to find.
As is sometimes the case, it’s possible to creep back towards that 30-hour estimate with the addition a wired connection. Because Bluetooth and ANC use a comparable amount of battery power, so if you’re able to run a wired connection and get rid of Bluetooth, you can shoot back up towards 30-hours. However, that may have an impact on sound fidelity, as we’ll see in a moment.
These headphones were built around fairly sizable 40mm drivers. It’s great they didn’t decide to shrink the drivers in the interests of portability. They’re backed with a CSR chip, promising wide support for a variety of audio codecs, these headphones end up sounding consistently smooth. The average listener probably won’t notice the difference in codec support, but if you’re someone who’s using high resolution audio codecs, that kind of coverage can count.
Mpow claims that the ANC allows to remove background noise by 32dB. This is a bunch of nonsense. You can’t predict the amount of noise removed by ANC because this technology targets different parts of the tonal range in different ways. In some environments, the ANC will remove almost no sound. That’s especially true for people who are around high-pitched tones.
In other environments, sounds can be eliminated almost entirely. That’s especially true for lower bass tones. Since voices are a combination of high tones and lower tones, they tend to mostly slip through ANC, only slightly washed out by the effect.
In any case, once you’ve got the ANC running, it’s much easier to appreciate how nice the H10 end up sounding. They should be suitable for virtually any genre of music, especially when it comes to bass reproduction.
One issue! The microphone can only work while you’re running the wireless mode. So if you decide to go with the wired mode, you can’t be taking any calls. That kind of limitation is still pretty common for headphones like these. Another thing you might want to note is that the ear-cups can’t be removed or replaced, so you’ll want to take good care of them. Mpow includes a 2-year warranty, but that warranty only covers electrical components, not regular wear and tear.
Who Should Choose Mpow H10 Dual-Mic Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones?
When it comes to portability and comfort, the H10 have as much of a passing grade as you can give to over-ear headphones. Since these aren’t quite as small as earbuds, so they’ll never have that kind of portability. You’ll never effortlessly shove these into a pocket. But the H10 are pretty compact, and more importantly, they’re able to bend and move as needed so they don’t get damaged while traveling.
The Mpow H10 are going to be a good choice for a few kinds of people. One type is someone who greatly values call clarity. The H10 can provide fantastic call clarity for both you and the person on the other end of the line. Because the combination of ANC and CVC tech works very well. Another group that will like these headphones are people who aren’t familiar with ANC, but want to give it a shot. This isn’t exactly ANC at its very best, but it’s quite respectable, and a pretty good introduction to the tech.