ITeknics 2nd-gen ANC Bluetooth headphones review: Affordable alternative to Surface Headphones

ITecknic's second-gen Bluetooth headphones bring better build quality, improved sound, and great battery life, and they offer budget shoppers a Surface Headphone alternative. But there are compromises.

I recently reviewed ITeknic's Bluetooth earbuds and the company's first-generation noise-cancellation Bluetooth headphones. The products impressed me with their build and sound quality, overall comfort, affordable prices, and long battery life.

The second-gen (BH005) noise-canceling Bluetooth headphones continue in this vane with some great aesthetics, acoustic improvements and an overall package that pleases, while introducing some design compromises that slightly hinder a full evolutionarily leap the company could have achieved. Still, the iterative advance is a good one.  

What you will like about ITeknic Bluetooth Noise-Canceling Headphones

Image Credit: Lemuel Burton Photography

Image Credit: Lemuel Burton Photography

One of the first things you will notice about these headphones is the build quality. Compared to the plain black plastic of ITeknic's first-gen noise-canceling headphones, this metal and plastic headset screams quality and is satisfying to look at. ITeknic's efforts to bring high-end aesthetics to an affordable accessory business model succeeded with this second-generation headset.

The Chrome accents on the back of the ear cuffs are a shiny and reflective contrast to the brushed metal, adjustable frame that connects those cuffs to the soft cushion of the headset that rests comfortably upon the wearer's head.   The brushed metal frames bring a level of durability not found on other headsets that I have used. Unfortunately, iTeknic forsook the folding capability found in most, including its previous generation, headsets. Rather, than folding inward, the metal frames leading to the cuffs are inflexible but allow the ear cuffs to rotate. This metal design doesn't only look durable, but it also feels quite tough.

These headphones are visually-pleasing and durable.

The sound quality on this headset is excellent. Voices on telephone calls are clear, as are the voices and instruments when listening to music and watching videos. The microphone performs well under normal conditions; allowing people on the other end to hear my voice well. The headset also charges quickly and will last longer than a day on one charge.

Finally, the noise-canceling capability is good, but not necessarily a better experience than what the previous model provides. The improved noise-canceling technology does its job, but the physical design of the ear cuffs hinders the experience.

What you will dislike about ITeknic Bluetooth Noise-Canceling Headphones

Image Credit: Lemuel Burton Photography

Image Credit: Lemuel Burton Photography

The ear cuffs of these $90 headphones are very soft and comfortable but don't innately "shut out" the outside world as completely as ITeknic's first noise-canceling headphones. It was that combination of the cuffs physically obstructing outside sounds, combined with the noise-canceling technology, that worked well in the previous model. ITecknic improved the noise-canceling tech, but the current ear cuffs let in more sound.

Anyone using over-the-ear headphones concedes a certain level of comfort because of the size inherent to their design. This is even more problematic for ITeknic's second-gen headset since it can't fold and become as compact as its predecessor (and other headsets on the market). In fact, the headsets came in a carrying case that is considerably larger (though flatter) than the more compact case of the previous model.

The older micro USB charging port (though it gets the job done) seems a bit out of sync with the headset's improved, high-end design, which would have been better paired with a USB Type-C port. Additionally, the "crowd" of buttons, including the power and active noise-canceling buttons, and the volume rocker are a little cumbersome to navigate when driving compared to headsets with a single navigation knob.

So should you buy ITeknic's Bluetooth Noise-Canceling Headphones?

Yes, you should buy ITeknic Bluetooth Noise-Canceling Headphones if you want visually appealing, durable headphones with noise-canceling capabilities, excellent sound, and a high-end feel with a price that is accessible to most people. Excellent battery life provides over a day's worth of use after a quick charge of just around an hour. At $90, these aesthetically pleasing, durable ANC headphones with great sound seem to be a good value.

The ITeknic Bluetooth Noise-Canceling Headphones provide a great sound, via a design that looks high-end and is genuinely durable, generally comfortable and offers great battery life.   

Jason Ward

Jason L Ward is a columnist at Windows Central. He provides unique big picture analysis of the complex world of Microsoft. Jason takes the small clues and gives you an insightful big picture perspective through storytelling that you won't find *anywhere* else. Seriously, this dude thinks outside the box. Follow him on Twitter at @JLTechWord. He's doing the "write" thing!