Wired Headphones are so last year. Okay, not really, but going wireless can be a ‘never turning back‘ experience. The new Harmon Kardon BT20’s deliver high fidelity audio in a trendy wireless bluetooth headset that comes with an optional cable, so you’ll never have to completely give up on wired headphones.
While all the buzz should be about Harmon Kardon’s boomy audio experience and Bluetooth technology, the conversation will most likely be about its unusual design. The BTs are nothing like the plasticky over-ear headphones you’ve been playing with. They have a finely engineered build with an aluminum headband. Interestingly, the headband is not adjustable, it’s interchangeable and there’s two different sized bands included. The ear cups are not so much cups as they are rectangular speakers with comfy padding around the perimeter.
The BTs are rechargeable Bluetooth headphones. They use an included (proprietary) USB charging cable that plugs into the headphone port. The battery lasts up to 12 hours over Bluetooth and then you can use the 1.4M cable for never-ending enjoyment. Over bluetooth, there’s controls built directly into the side of the headphones to control music and volume. There’s even a built-in microphone for making phone calls and accessing Siri. The volume buttons that are independent from the source volume.
For design, there’s nothing else out there quite like Harman Kardon’s. They have a sophisticated modern look, and scrapping the cable only adds to the BT’s panache. The build quality is top notch. It’s tough and durable. The earcups even fold flat (or can be removed) for easy traveling, plus it comes with a great leather travel case. The earcups are large enough to comfortably fit most any ear. The headphone size will be hit or miss. It comes with small and large headbands, and the smalls fit well on my large head. There’s a permanent leather headband under the removable aluminum headband which keeps the BTs sitting comfortably on your head. There’s a time limit before the BT’s extreme comfort applies a bit too much pressure, it’s about an hour or two.
The audio quality over Bluetooth is basically as amazing over wired, though there’s an occasional nanosecond cutout. The BT’s have a very warm sound. The bass is awesome. It’s not overdone, but you can really feel it. The overall audio reproduction is skewed a little more towards the low ends, sort of like Beats, but much more universally appealing. The highs are crisp, and the mids are a little muddy. The BTs make most music sound good and some music sound phenomenal Progressive upbeat music–awesome, rap, hiphop and hard rock–awesome, dubstep and electronic music–awesome, anything acoustic or vocal heavy, okay. There’s only one big upset with the BTs, the headphones amplify any sort of physical touch to the cable or body, it’s quite distracting.
Harman Kardon did an awesome job at building a set of headphones that appeal to today’s tech enthusiasts: distinguished design, Bluetooth with built-in audio controls and mic, long battery life with optional pass-through cable, and great sound. They’re comfortable, but it depends on the head. The Harman Kardon BT Bluetooth headphones for iPhone, Android, and basically any Bluetooth or audio device are currently available from Amazon or Apple for $249. It’s a pricey investment for sure. Luckily, they’re available at most Apple stores so try before you buy!
The Good: Bluetooth, Built-in Mic and Audio Controls work well, Great bass, Long battery, Audio passthrough cable, USB-rechargeable, Included carrying case, Great build quality and durability
The Bad: Can hear any physical touch to the cable or headphone body. Independent volume from device, Controls/Mic don’t work when wired in and propriety charging cable. Ear cups may be to big for smaller heads…