Earlier today we ran a story about AT&T discounting the Nokia Monster Purity HD headphones from $199 to $99. While many of you will still balk at such a price, we’re sure a few of you have a cocked eyebrow and are considering the purchase.

Being the tech geeks we are, we figured we would help you out by springing to our local AT&T outlet and pick up a pair. While we won’t full on review them now, you can watch our video below to see what’s in the box and after the break, I’ll share my initial thoughts...

First impressions

The Nokia Monster Purity HD headphones (whew, that’s a mouthful), are actually lighter than I thought. Not that I expected weights for headphones but they are surprisingly nimble. Traditionally, I’ve had mixed results with on-ear designs as they’re comfortable for the first 30 minutes but if you wear them for a few hours (say on a trans-continental flight), they can become unbearable. From my experience there are two crucial pressure points: the apex where the headphones make contact with the top of your skull and ear pressure.

After wearing the headphones for 20 minutes, I have to admit they are quite comfortable. For reference, I’m comparing them to my Sony MDRNC200D Noise-cancelling, on-ear headphones (Retail: $199). While I would have expected the padding to be more substantial, so far I’m not getting any ache on the top of my skull, unlike my Sony’s.  Likewise, the headphone ear pads are rather large—that’s a good thing, as it more evenly distribute the pressure on the ear. While I can’t say they won’t hurt after 2 hours, I can say they are very comfy to wear. The seal for sound is also very good.

  • Frequency response: 20 - 20000 Hz
  • UI features: Call controls, Music controls, Volume controls
  • Weight: 180g

In terms of audio, it’s a very rich, almost ‘warmfuzz’ sound. In listening to Godspeed You! Black Emperor, I quickly toggled between the Sony’s and the Nokia Purity HD—I was kind of shocked at how much better the Purity’s sounded (this is with the digital noise-cancellation off on the Sony). I then put on an electronica mix album Good Fellas (Goa-Psy Trance) and was also left impressed.

On the Nokia Lumia 920, I found myself turning on Treble boost under the graphic equalizer, which tells me these are a little heavy on the bass side—more so than I would have thought. Boosting treble though worked for me, which is a departure from my usual setting of Loudness when I use the in-ear Purity headphones.

We’ll do a more in-depth report in a few days but my off-the-cuff impression is I don’t feel ripped off. In fact, I’m quite impressed how well they compare to my Sony’s, which due to comfort problems I barely use. Even forgetting the comfort issue, the audio quality to me is much better as well.

In other words, I’m very happy with ‘em. Time will tell if that holds, especially with the newer Nokia Purity Pro headphones supposedly right around the corner. Those feature NFC pairing, Bluetooth streaming and 24-hour battery life, quite the step up in technology from these wired Purity headphones. Of course, there's a price for that too, which is estimated to be $300.

You can pick up the Nokia Purity HD headphones from AT&T (online or check stores for availability) or through online retailers.