TCL, usually known for TVs, has recently jumped into the world of audio with a line up of different headphones. The one that really stood out to me though, especially considering the fact I’ve been doing videos recently on the new Sony noise-canceling headphones that I’ve liked a lot, was the new TCL ELIT400NC noise-canceling headphones.
These headphones are being marketed as bringing some of the noise-canceling goodness of the much more expensive Sony headphones to an under $100 price point, so, naturally, I was intrigued.
Now, I managed to get my hands on the new headphones so figured I’d do a complete walkthrough for you guys. If you aren’t familiar, a complete walkthrough on this channel is where I try and go through every feature I can so you guys are better prepared should you be in the market to go buy one.
With that said, there’s a lot to go through so let’s get started with the design.
Now, with a $99 price tag when other competitor models are in the $250-$350 range, you expect some corners to be cut.
Picking them up there is one immediately apparent one and that’s that the materials. There’s no way around it, it feels much less premium than the Sony WH1000M3’s but not that much less than the newer Sony XtraBass XB900N’s (Sony’s own cost-cutting pair of noise-canceling headphones that are $250 compared to the $350 of the WH1000M3’s).
I do like the look though as they are very minimalistic and come in two colors (cement gray and midnight blue) I both like. I will say that because of the way they are designed though there is a decent gap in between your head and the band which I think looks weird, but maybe that’s just me.
We have memory phone cups that are breathable and comfy actually but no cushioning on the top like the Sony’s have so you’ll get that slide pain on top of your head if using it for a long period of time (it does thankfully take a while though, we’re talking hours and hours of non-stop listening before I felt it).
For controls, we have a dedicated switch to turn the noise-cancellation on and off on the left cup.
On the right, you have the power button (that is also held down when off to enable Bluetooth pairing), and we have three other buttons. Two are used for volume, and the one in the middle is used to answer or hang up calls/pause or play music with one push, go to the next song with two pushes, and the previous song with three.
We also have a MicroUSB port on the left cup which I wish was USB-C (not sure how much cost that would have added but can’t imagine it would have been much), but it is capable of fast charging, at least (15 mins for 4 hours of playback which is awesome).
And we have a 3.5mm audio jack port on the right cup for you to be able to plug into the headphones instead of using Bluetooth if you want (handy for plugging into the in-flight entertainment system on a plane).
The headphones are supposed to last for over 21 hours and I can confirm after a round-trip flight to Taipei from NYC and used them a lot on the flight, that’s pretty accurate.
Also, they can be folded up which makes them great for traveling with as they then don’t take up as much room in your bag.
And even though they use the slightly older Bluetooth 4.2 standard, they stayed connected to my phone without any issues.
Now, as far as the sound and noise-cancellation? It’s best if I just show you probably.
So, here we are in a noisy environment. I’ve put my microphone I use to do these videos inside the right ear cup and put them on so you guys can hear what I’m hearing (see the video above) and I also wanted to see how they did in a phone call since I feel that that is probably important to a lot of people, as well.
So I called another phone and put myself on speakerphone and talked using the headphone’s built-in microphones. See the video above for how that sounded.
Now, honestly, even though I mentioned the Sony headphones in this video a few times when comparing these to other headphones, that’s obviously not fair. Sure the Sony ones are better in a lot of ways, but also, they’re at least 2.5x the price.
Overall, they cancel some noise, if not a ton, and they sound good enough to me (and my non-audiophile ears) and if you have $100 and want to get some noise-canceling over the ear headphones, here is a list of all the options from name-brand companies you can choose from.
Frankly, that’s just downright impressive of TCL.
Head here for the best price I could find on the headphones, subscribe to my weekly email newsletter for more tips, tricks, videos, etc. and, as always, thanks for watching!