I’ve been a happy Bose QC35 Noise cancelling headphone user since the day they came out. These were the first “consumer priced” ANC headset combos and have since been matched by excellent products from Sony and Apple’s Beats brand. But Active Noise Cancellation has always come at a price. In the case of the QC35s and Sony’s, prices start at $350 retail unless you find deals.
Broski Lety sent me a pair of their new active noise cancelling headphones which are on Kickstarter now for $99 and will soon be on Amazon for 50% more. You wouldn’t be reading this if I wasn’t super-impressed…
- Sound and noise cancelling as good as the big guys
- Light weight, comfortable, doesn’t fall off during workout
- $99 on Kickstarter, $150 after
- Micro-USB charging
- Bluetooth quirks
- “Broski” writ large, not subtle
- Phone call quality mic lacking
Broski Lety Package
The first thing you notice when you take the Broskis (name cringe) out of their box is that these are packaged like a high-end set of headphones – the caliber you’d find on Apple Store shelves. The white box includes high quality full sized braided AUX cable which works well in planes. Unlike a lot of other headsets, these are 3.5mm on both sides so you don’t need a proprietary cable (ahem Bose). There’s also a high quality braided USB-A to microUSB cable. I’d have preferred USB-C but this is likely a way to keep costs down. The case is minimalistic but does the job.
The headset is significantly lighter than Bose, Sony, or Beats NC headphones, but the component quality seems to be of similar tier. They feel much lighter and breathe a lot easier with a smaller ear cup size which is better for working out. Because of the lighter weight, the head band keeps them on-ear even when laying down on a bench or during high impact workouts. My QC35s often fall off in these situations.
The sound is phenomenal for $99 headphones, noise cancelling or not, with both highs and lows very clearly set to be more pronounced. You’ll hear little bits of music you haven’t heard before, which is one of my greatest joys when trying out new sound equipment.
Broski Lety Noise Active Noise Cancelling
The rear button on the right Broski ear piece turns on and off active noise cancellation. There is a noticeable reduction in background sound on planes but you can still hear the announcements over the PA. My favorite situation on a plane is turning on noise cancelling but plugging in the AUX for a good movie and for this application, the Broskis worked well. A click of the ANC button and all that plane noise comes rushing back.
As for battery life, I made it cross country (including layover!) with active noise cancelling on. That’s as much as I would hope for in a pair of headphones like these. Broski says 10 hours with ANC, 20 hours without.
My morning coffeeshop concentration has also benefited greatly from the Broski’s ANC.
I’ve had some connectivity issues where I hear a beep every few minutes on my Pixel 3, which has notoriously shaky Bluetooth. I haven’t had the same issue on either my MacBook or iPhone.
It is petty, but I’ve also had a few people come up to me and say “nice Broskis.” I think maybe they should have workshopped the name or maybe made the branding a little more subdued. It also took some getting used to the small buttons and microscopic LEDs – and there is little help in figuring out how much charge you have. This is an area where the more expensive headphones have done their homework.
Probably the biggest issue is making phone calls with these. The sound is great but the person on the other end of the phone couldn’t hear me on 2 different occasions. Each time they asked for me to call again on a different line. If you make a lot of phone calls with your headset, you might want to try other products.
The price, fit and sound quality of the Broskis make them a big win in my opinion. If you have $300+ to spend on a premium headset, by all means do so. But if your budget is more in the $100-$150 range, you’ll be very happy with these. They’ve replaced my QC35s for the time being.
You’ve made it this far, so if you want a chance to win a set of these, retweet or post this to your Facebook account for a chance to win (US only, sorry). Otherwise head over to the kickstarter where they are $99 for the rest of the week, before they hit Amazon for $149 next week.