I purchased through amazon some items including some thomson noise cancelling HED 2303 headphones and even though I selected free delivery it seems that my package was taped within amazon prime tape, perhaps this was just to advertise prime but I hope not to charge me for expensive prime services I did not want and would not use. The reason I splashed out on a purchase was a variety of reasons one being that I had been needing noise cancelling headphones for a while with my computer graphics card giving off ridiculously loud noise and they were definitely needed.

The headphones themselves were reduced from £70 to around £30 and amazon does tend to have fluctuating pricing so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on things see if you can find the product you want at a better price, and at these prices you do get free amazon delivery. This along with the fact that I had some credit from old surveys I had completed unspent needing to be used meant that I decided to splash out on a few things.

How Comfortable Are The Headphones?

The headphones do have softened ear pads and an adjustable strap on the top so you can resize to fit your head for the most part however the ear cups do seem to be a little small to contain your ear within the padded area, and so you have the pads pushing onto your ears which can be a little uncomfortable for long periods of use. If you have smaller ears or different shaped ears you might find things more comfortable but the tips of my ears which are a little more pointy do get sore wearing these for long periods as the pressure focuses down on this area.

How Effective Is The Noise Cancelling

The noise cancelling is probably the main reason you would want to buy a pair of headphones like this and with the retail price noted around £70 you expect it to be rather effective, and having tried noise cancelling headphones at shows like the gadget show in the past of a more expensive standard I had a baseline to compare to even though they were out in the open cancelling background ambient conversation noise rather than close by noisy repetitive fan whine.

This being said the fan the fan can still be heard over the noise isolation of the insulated cups, and there is a noticeable reduction of fan noise with the noise cancelling feature turned on as well as some noticeable audio noise which perhaps is a feature of noise cancelling where I may have gained tinnitus from the fan alone and as a result I am hearing the counter noise through the headphones, or perhaps the microphone just might be poorly calibrated at noise cancelling and is making additional noise in a separate frequency. Overall I feel there is some noise reduction but not to the level and standard I really expected for such an expensive set of headphones, as you do have to take things at their retail price and not the reduced price you might have purchased a product for.

How Is The Sound Quality?

With the noise reduction feature on the sound is as expected and clear as I have come to expect from headphones, however with the noise cancelling off as this amplifies the treble and muffles the base while switched on slightly due to the construction it could be how I have become use to headphones, if you prefer bass heavy headphones noise cancelling will reduce this and you’d prefer it switched off, however I prefer the sound with the amplified treble and lower bass so when the batteries run out switching it to noise isolating alone does sound a little unusual.

So What Are My Overall Thoughts?

The headphones do state that they should manually switch from noise cancelling to isolating when the batteries run out however as the batteries run lower and lower the volume becomes minuscule so you cannot hear anything and you are forced to switch manually from noise cancelling and even if you force it by switching up the volume again and again eventually you get very distorted sounds before finally the batteries run dry and you still have to manually switch off noise cancelling to hear anything, however the batteries do last a reasonable amount of time, using 900mAh Ni-MH (nickel metal hydride) rechargeable batteries the noise cancelling under heavy use would last at least 50 hours of constant use before needing a recharge or battery swap, perhaps longer if you force turning your volume up.

Are they worth the retail price, possibly not I would suggest to look for sale’s as at £70 it is a large commitment even with noise cancelling, but at around £20-30 then these are a reasonable purchase and only because of the added value of the noise cancelling, perhaps if the earphones were a little more comfortable for all ear types and the folding feature actually did anything rather than be pointless the cost might be higher but these might as well be generically shaped headphones you could get for £10-15. The fact that the product comes with a separate cable does add a little to the value as it means if you break the cable you don’t have to replace the entire headset which is good, however I have dropped these off my desk once and it did leave the sound a little strange for a few days, and the adjustable ear pieces if swiveled too far in one direction even though they are designed to swivel more to adjust to your head shape can knock off the noise cancelling feature perhaps due to a loose wire or something getting caught which is disappointing.

However if you need a set of noise cancelling headphones these are the cheapest I could find at the moment and that is a good thing as they tend to be a lot more expensive, sure the noise cancelling isn’t as good as I hoped but there’s no guarantee’s that more expensive noise cancelling would do any better as I can’t test them with my computer fan either.

Don’t confuse “noise cancelling” with “noise isolating” which often get’s branded as noise cancelling, this is active noise cancellation technology and you will struggle to find another pair cheap at this time, perhaps this is the herald of cheaper active noise cancellation technology but for now if you’re not willing to wait a few years for prices to come down this is the best you will find at a very affordable price!

What About The Whiteboard?

I did get an “add on” item from amazon, something you have to buy other products of a minimum price to get, with toothpaste and a whiteboard, the whiteboard would normally be £15 but I got it for under £3, and it’s only really worth the price I paid for it, sure it come’s with a pen which magnetises to the board, 2 magnets and hanging strips but the whiteboard is a little flimsy quality seperated in half from the corkboard and looks like it could fall out or break off easily, which could be fixed no problem with something perhaps gluing the whiteboard down so it doesn’t flim flam around or if the corkboard simply was seperated with a little plastic divider so the whiteboard was held down, but this looks like a corkboard with a flimsy bit of whiteboard plastic attached inside it cheaply and it wouldn’tve taken much to make the quality better to justify the retail price, however at under £3 it wasn’t a bad purchase but would require you to buy other things on amazon to meet the £15 criteria and also to qualify for the free shipping.