Harman Kardon Challenges Bowers & Wilkins with New Soho Headphones

Soho_003Harman Kardon’s Soho looks like it has taken some design cues from the ever popular Bowers & Wilkins P3 headphones with its rounded rectangular ear cups. On the other hand, the outside of the ear cups has a solid, unadorned look, and comes in black, white, or camel colors. And, like the P3 headphones, these also fold up flat. The headband sections also look very similar, but the Soho sports genuine leather. Inside, the audio is pumped out by 30 mm drivers. Now the real challenge will be if these sound as good as they look. We are certainly very partial to the camel color.


Lastly, there’s the Harman Kardon Esquire, a wireless speaker that specializes in teleconferencing. It’s a wireless speaker, and portable, although not the kind of portable that means you can stuff it in your pocket. It’s easy to travel with, though, which makes it a compromise of sorts – small enough to be travel-friendly, but big enough to fill a room with sound, which is what you’ll need for conference calls. Same as most other portable speakers, it’s powered by two drivers and a bass port, but this one also has noise cancellation.


Around the side, there are three USB ports, so you can charge the Esquire and two other devices at the same time, for marathon conference calls. That said, the Esquire itself should be fine for the longest of conference calls – battery life is put at about 10 hours. Connection for those calls between smartphone or tablet and the Esquire is handled by Bluetooth, and the connection process is facilitated by NFC. The Esquire also features dual mode teleconferencing and smart orientation detection.


The Harman Kardon Soho and Esquire are still on their way to the Harman Kardon store, and will sell for $200 and $250, respectively. You can pre-order the Esquire now, with an expected ship date of October 20.

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