Wireless on-ear headphones have gone down in price pretty quickly! We were already seeing sub-$100 Bluetooth headphones as soon as last year, but it’s still been tough to find the right mix of price and quality — both in audio and durability. We might now have that right mix courtesy of an audio company that tends to only release products when they’re good and ready to.
Phiaton has been quiet since CES 2016, when they introduced their more expensive BT 460 over-ear wireless headphones. They broke their silence last week with the BT 390, a smaller, lightweight pair of on-ear headphones that could prove popular among frequent flyers. Like most travel-friendly on-ears, the headband can fold up to take up less space — it doesn’t look like these come with a carrying case, though, so it’ll be on you to keep them protected. The cans look sleek, but there’s much in the way of design flair — they’re not headturners, but that could be a good thing for wireless headphones.
In fact, the Phiaton BT 390 are largely your standard Bluetooth headphones. They use a Bluetooth 4.1 connection and 40 mm neodymium drivers, without any extra features like active noise cancellation. But, there’s reason for excitement. Phiaton says the headphones should get 30 hours of battery life, which is really impressive for headphones of this size. Over time, we’ve found manufacturer estimates of headphone battery life runs from wildly optimistic to wildly conservative, but even if these ended up with something like a 24-hour battery life, they’d still be awfully impressive. Even if the battery does wind up dead, the headphones can still be used with a 3.5 mm cable.
Phiaton is generally well regarded for their audio quality, so we’re optimistic about the drivers on the BT 390. Phiaton says they’ve focused on improving bass performance and clarity on the highs, plus a wider soundstage than previous models. Can’t say for sure without testing them, but for the price, there’s a good chance these headphones offer a strong price-to-performance argument.
Being wireless headphones, there are physical controls on the earcups for volume and track skipping. They can also be paired with two devices at once, so you can switch quickly from a smartphone to a laptop or tablet when you get home.
The Phiaton BT 390 are available now on Amazon for $80. It looks like they’ll retail regularly for $100, so this might just be an introductory price. The headphones will ship out on August 4, and are available in white or black.