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Review

Samsung LEVEL In ANC Headphones Review: Best active noise cancellation earphones on budget?

Samsung’s new wired earphones, the LEVEL In ANC are designed to help you enjoy music, while keeping those external sounds away. But is it any good?

samsung level in anc review lead 2

Samsung Level In ANC 4 5
BGR Rating :
4/5

Highlights

  • The Samsung LEVEL in ANC is priced at Rs 3,799.

  • The wired in-ear headphones come with active noise cancellation.

  • The built-in battery can last for up to nine hours on a single charge, and powers only the noise cancellation.

Today, whether you are walking on the road or commuting in public transport, you’ll find that a lot of people have earphones plugged in, listening to their favorite music. Most of us even listen to music or watch movies on flights. But then, most people also complain about the external noises that distract from the listening experience.

Be it the honking on the road, or an airplane’s engine noise, all of these factors ruin our listening experience. One solution to enjoy pure music at such times is using an ‘active noise cancellation’ headphones that effectively reduce those external noises. However, a good one is often priced around Rs 20,000 or more. But what about those on a budget? Samsung’s recently launched wired earphones – the LEVEL In ANC with active noise cancellation could be the answer.

Priced at Rs 3,799, the earphones can be purchased from retail stores across India. These earphones are offered in black and white color options. Xiaomi’s Mi Noise Cancelling Earphones priced at Rs 2,999 is Samsung’s closet competitor. And while both feature active noise cancellation, Samsung’s earphones come with a legacy 3.5mm jack, whereas Xiaomi’s earphones come with a USB Type-C connector.

Audio Technica also has two earphones in its QuietPoint-series, the ATH-ANC33is and ATH-ANC23BK that are priced under Rs 5,500, and come with active noise cancellation feature. With all of these options, does Samsung’s LEVEL in ANC make for a good purchase? After testing the earphones under different scenarios for a while now, here’s what I feel about it.

Samsung ‘Level In ANC’ – Design and specifications

Samsung’s LEVEL In ANC earphones look stylish and have a premium feel to it. The cable is about one meter long, and is covered by braided fabric, which adds to its sturdiness. The earphones are made from thick plastic, whereas the outer edge has a metal finish with chamfered edges.

The earphones come with four set of eartips – small, medium, large and XL. The earphones also come with ear hooks to keep them in place when you wear them. I have used the earphones for roughly four hours straight, and I did not feel even the slightest hint of discomfort. Although, I won’t recommend wearing them for longer hours than that.

The right earphone cable also comes with a three-button remote and an in-line mic. The center button has multiple uses – to play / pause music using a single click, or skip tracks using double or triple click. When you get an incoming call, a single click can accept the call, while you don’t have the option to reject a call from the headset itself. There are also two buttons are to increase or decrease volume.

At the bottom of the cable, you have a 3.5mm jack and a dedicated controller, which houses a 110mAh battery and a microUSB port to charge the battery. There is also a three-way slider button to turn of active noise cancellation, a ‘talk-in mode’ which enables the user to be aware of the surrounding sound, and an active noise cancellation mode that tunes out certain external sounds.

Samsung ‘Level In ANC’ – Performance

Active Noise Cancellation

Before I talk about the performance, let me first explain how noise cancellation works. The two in-ear earphones each have one external microphone. These microphones pick up external noises, analyze and creates inverted sound waves to cancel them. This reduces the external sound going into the ears.

Samsung claims the active noise cancellation is 90 percent effective, and reduces external noises by up to 20dB. Similarly, the ‘talk-in mode’ enables user to be aware of the surrounding, by allowing the ambient sound to enter into the earphones, while keeping the sound quality intact.

But does the active noise cancellation work as expected? Yes, it works. I often travel for work, and when on flights, I prefer watching TV shows on my phone. Until now, I used a basic pair of in-ear earphones, which does offer passive noise isolation, but I could still hear that annoying engine noises. I plugged in the LEVEL In ANC turned on the active noise cancellation, and could notice the difference instantly. It felt like sitting in a studio, where it was all about the music or recording.

Even with no music playing, the noise cancellation works well, and I felt like sitting in an isolated chamber where there is pin drop silence. And then there is ‘talk-in’ mode, where external noises are partially blocked, but you could still hear some, just to be aware of what’s going in the surrounding.

Audio quality

To test the audio quality, I used the earphones both with my smartphone and MacBook Air. Focus tracks include Crazy Maybe, which is an EDM track, Late Goodbye from Poets of the Fall, and Dangerous by David Guetta. I also listened to some Bollywood songs to hear how they sound. And yes, I also watched a couple of TV shows while on the flight, just to see how effective the LEVEL In ANC earphones are.

Starting with Crazy Maybe, it’s an energetic song along with some vocals. While the earphones deliver good amount of mids and highs, but suffer a bit with low-frequency sounds. As a result, you don’t get to enjoy the thumping bass. But overall, the wide soundstaging and audio quality is good.

Moving on to Late Goodbye, right from the opening notes with guitar chords to the vocals, you get to hear a good balance between mids, highs and vocals. David Guetta’s Dangerous, which is a dance number, sounded better, and the bass sounded balanced too. However, I did notice that the mids sounding a bit hollow at times, more like creating mild reverb effects.

There were a couple of times when I was traveling in a local train in Mumbai with journey of about 30 minutes, and I usually prefer watching an episode of TV series or some videos on YouTube. But, because of the ambient noise, the dialogue clarity used to be poor. With active noise cancellation, I could hear it properly. I’m not saying it’s the best compared to other expensive noise-canceling headphones, but for Rs 3,799, it does its job well.

Samsung promises nine hours of battery life on a single charge (for active noise cancellation), and during my testing, I could easily fetch a little above seven hours. It is not bad at all, especially considering that it comes with a 110mAh battery.

Verdict – Should you buy it?

All said and done, is the Samsung LEVEL In ANC worth a buying? Well, there a handful of noise cancelling headphones and in-ear earphones out there. While you need to shell out a good amount of money for the best options, the LEVEL In ANC are ideal for those on a budget.

The Samsung ‘Level In ANC’ are a decent pair of in-ear earphones. The audio quality is good, and active noise cancellation works as expected. The built-in rechargeable battery via microUSB port means you can easily charge it anywhere. While you may look for other in-ear headphones offered by the competitors, you can’t possibly go wrong with Samsung’s LEVEL In ANC. If I had to nitpick, I would expect the audio quality to be slightly better – a slight addition to the punch in the lows, and the mids could ideally sound a bit less hollow.

  • Published Date: January 29, 2018 11:24 AM IST