Recently, a whole series of headphones has appeared on numerous Chinese trading floors, the name of which mentions the well-known Lenovo brand. At the same time, there is not a word about them on the company’s official website, and in the large Global networks at the time of preparing this review, only three Lenovo gaming headsets were presented, and there were no other products in this category.
Perhaps, in this way, the Chinese manufacturer “probes the soil” and tests new products, some of which we have a chance to see in a wider scale. Well, or someone overly adventurous has found a way to use a promoted brand. It is unlikely that the company’s administration is completely unaware of the matter – the phenomenon is quite massive, there are a lot of products, it’s hard not to notice them. But, once again, the headphones tested today have no official status.
Nevertheless, it became very interesting to look at what is sold under a well-known name. For our acquaintance, we chose a pair of full-size wireless headsets of average cost for the Chinese shops with a rather original and pleasant design, folding design, good declared autonomy, and so on. We have not yet seen any headphones with really good sound in this segment, and we are unlikely to meet them. But some interesting models for everyday use are not too demanding on sound users in it already. Here are just the heroes of today’s review, as it turned out, do not even fall into this category.
|Frequency range||20 Hz – 40 kHz|
|Sensitivity||105 dB||100 dB|
|Connection||Bluetooth 5.0, wired|
|Cable||115 cm straight plug||75 cm straight plug|
|Charging connector||Micro usb|
|Battery capacity||500 mAh||300 mAh|
|Battery life||up to 20 hours||up to 24 hours|
Packaging and equipment
Lenovo HD200 comes in a white cardboard box with a printed image and model name. The removable lid of the box is for some reason made of extremely thin cardboard, and the internal lodgement for the device is made of soft plastic. Therefore, the packaging experienced extremely hardships of delivery and came to us with a lid pressed into it. Fortunately, this did not affect the state of the device.
The delivery set includes the headphones themselves, Chinese and English documentation, a short USB-Micro-USB cable for charging, and a cable for connecting to the sound source. The latter has a length of 115 cm and a rather average workmanship – it is too elastic, inconvenient to use and prone to tangling.
The fact that we reached the whole Lenovo HD116 is almost a miracle. They are packed in a box of medium-density cardboard, inside no lodges or other fixing elements, in addition, the device and accessories are protected only with plastic bags. The box contains an image of the device and its brief characteristics.
The kit is the same: headphones, documentation, two cables – for charging and wired connection to a sound source. Using the latter is extremely inconvenient due to the low quality of execution and short length – only 75 cm.
Design and construction
Externally, the headset looks interesting due to the combination of red and black, small inserts “for metal” and quite pleasant both externally and to the touch of matte plastic. True, you cannot name the original design, on the same Chinese trading floors there are a lot of very similar models. We will not list them – this is a thankless task. It will surely turn out that there is another one similar to some unknown brand, and possibly a full copy produced at the same factory.
The design develops easily and with a pleasant soft click. There are no questions about the build quality as a whole: everything looks solid, no backlash or creaks.
Moving elements are made of plastic, but reinforced with metal inserts – there is a hope that they will last more or less long.
The outer side of the extension of the headband is also reinforced with a metal insert. The power reserve on each side is 3 cm, the adjustment is made with a distinct and somewhat sharp click, the fixation in each position is reliable.
Theoretically, the stroke of the retractable part of the headband should be enough for comfortable wearing even on a large head, but in practice this may not be the case. Earpads have some mobility, which is designed to ensure their snug fit to the head. But it is very small, in many cases it will not be enough.
The inner part of the headband is made of silicone, small protruding points are applied to the surface. The decision is controversial: on the one hand, an excellent “grip” with the head is achieved in this way – the headphones do not move forward or backward even with active movement. On the other hand, the head under him sweats very quickly.
The outer part is devoid of any decorative elements and is made of matte plastic.
The outer side of the cups is decorated with a metal-like insert and brand name. The company logo on the box is printed quite correctly, but the font on the headphones themselves is very different – just look at the font “e”.
In promotional materials on the seller’s website, we met the mention of “breathing” ear pads and the promise of a good level of comfort. In fact, the leather substitute here is of very average quality, after an hour of wearing the ears become hot and uncomfortable. The size of the hole is very small – 35 × 50 mm, the headphones press on the curl of the auricle, which after half an hour of wearing causes unpleasant sensations.
The earpads are removable, securely held by four pins. Below them is a speaker hole covered with a plastic mesh.
There are no designations of the right and left earphones, therefore we will consider the right cup on which the control panel is located. It contains three keys, plus a separate power switch. At the same time, it is not mentioned in the instructions; it is proposed to turn the headphones on and off using the remote control center key.
On the bottom of the right cup are a Micro-USB port for charging, a connector for a wired connection to the sound source, a microphone hole and an LED indicator. Due to the lack of USB Type-C, it’s time to start criticizing budget devices as well – the vast majority of even inexpensive gadgets have been equipped with them for a long time, you don’t feel like holding a separate headphone charging cable.
Model HD116 is a little more expensive, but it looks simpler. But simpler does not mean worse – the black case made of matte plastic and textured inserts on the outside of the cups look strictly, but it’s interesting.
Build quality is quite acceptable – like the first model. The folding mechanism works with a slightly sharp click, but quite correctly and without unnecessary effort.
The outer part of the movable elements is made of metal, inside – plastic. When folded, there is a slight backlash, the mount does not look too reliable, but overall not bad – the next day it will not fall apart, but you should not expect work from it for years.
The power reserve of the sliding part is 3 cm on each side. Adjustment occurs with a sharp and not the most pleasant click, but the fixation in all positions is reliable. On the inside of the headband above the ear pads are marked “right / left”.
The power reserve of the adjustable part of the headband is the same as that of most headphones. But it is quite compact, even on a medium-sized head, the Lenovo HD116 does not sit very comfortably. The rotation of the cups is not provided, therefore, there is no need to talk about a really tight fit of the ear pads to the head.
On the inside of the headband, there is an insert in leatherette of “very average” quality with a soft filler.
On the outer surface of the headband, made of black matte plastic, the logo is applied.
The cups are decorated with a plastic overlay that imitates a metal surface with a texture in the form of concentric circles.
The earpads are made of leatherette as the inside of the headband. And he, as already mentioned, is of very low quality. Accordingly, the ears become hot and uncomfortable after the first 20-30 minutes of wearing headphones. The size of the inner hole, like the previously discussed model is only 35 × 50 mm, there is a problem with constant pressure on the auricle here. The earpads are removable, but considerable effort is required to remove them – there are fears that the pins holding them may not withstand.
The control and connection panel is located on the right cup. On the outer surface are the volume buttons, then the keys of the Bass function and power. At the bottom, there is an indicator of the operating mode, connectors for wired connection and charging.
After turning on, both headsets search for “familiar” devices for some time, after which they switch to pairing mode. Then it remains to find the headphones in the corresponding menu of the gadget and connect without entering a password.
We tried to connect both headsets in parallel to a device running Windows 10 and made sure that they did not support multi-point. The complete list of codecs and their modes, obtained using the Bluetooth Tweaker utility, is absolutely identical for them.
With a wired connection, everything is simple: the headphones can work in passive mode. Turn off the power, stick a wire with a mini-jack connector (3.5 mm) into the device – you’re done. True, the wires on both headsets are of a very low level of quality, and on the HD116 it is also short, which makes its use extremely inconvenient.
Management and operation
Wearing the tested headphones is very uncomfortable for three reasons, which we already talked about a little higher. The first is a small hole in the ear pads, leading to constant pressure on the curl of the auricle. The second – not the highest-quality leatherette, because of which the ears quickly get hot. Well, the third is the almost complete absence of the possibility of rotation of the cups, which often leads to their loose fit. The latter, incidentally, does not affect the “leakage” of sound in the best way: what is happening in your headphones will be perfectly heard by everyone around.
Both models are controlled using a three-button panel. Side keys are responsible for adjusting the sound with short presses, with a long – switch tracks. The average of a single click controls playback and answering a call, with a double press, it rings to the last number dialed. With autonomy, everything is not bad, but not as much as the manufacturer claims. At HD200, at an average playback volume, we got twice a little more than 15 hours of work instead of the promised 20. Perhaps, if you reduce the volume to a minimum, you can “squeeze” 20, but that makes no sense.
The working day will definitely last – it’s already wonderful. The HD116 claims up to 24 hours of autonomy with less battery power. This was not believed at first, and expectations were not deceived: in reality, the headphones barely stretched for 14 hours at a volume slightly above average.
The stability of the wireless connection of headsets is below average; in the open air they regularly “lose” the source, which leads to interruptions in sound. The quality of the microphone also leaves much to be desired – the interlocutors hear everything, but complain of a “voice like from a barrel” and other unpleasant effects. Talking in a noisy environment is difficult, you have to raise your voice very much – you begin to recall why in more “advanced” headsets you need a noise reduction system, which today is already perceived as something ordinary and familiar.
Sound and frequency response measurements
Well, now the most interesting. The manufacturer promises an “ultra-strong bass effect” in promotional materials HD200. And yes, there are plenty of low frequencies here. At the same time, the bass is “bubbling”, which interferes with the perception of the already very slurred midrange. The sound merges into porridge, and the “raised” middle, which theoretically should add intelligibility to the vocals, evokes vivid associations with listening to a radio point somewhere in the kitchen. In the end, everything is very bad, even by the standards of budgetary Chinese decisions. Take a look at the frequency response graph.
We draw readers’ attention to the fact that the frequency response graphs are provided solely as an illustration to demonstrate the main features of the sound of the tested headphones. Do not draw conclusions from them about the quality of a particular model. The actual experience of each listener depends on many factors, ranging from the structure of the hearing organs to the used ear pads.
There is really no sub-bass, the middle is raised, somewhere between 200 and 300 Hz there is a small dip – here it is boom and “wailing” bass. The hump in the lower part of the medium, with a subsequent dip extending up to 4 kHz, is responsible for the “radio point effect” and extremely inexpressive sound. You can talk on the phone using such a headset, but listening to music is not worth it. A wired connection usually bodes slightly better sound quality, but not in this case. Just note that all measurements were carried out for one installation of headphones on the stand – changes in the schedule are associated exclusively with the transition to a different type of connection.
And the changes, I must say, are noticeable. Bass finally stepped forward, eclipsing absolutely everything with its “mumbling”. The dip in the upper-middle has become even deeper, the sound of instruments and vocals is finally “crushed”. If the sound with the wireless connection was bad, then with the wired it suddenly became even worse. However, it seems bad until exactly until you listen to HD116. Slurred bass, a midrange dip, whistling and rustling in the high-frequency range – just a reference bad sound.
And this is with the “Bass function” turned on, activated by the corresponding button, which we talked about a little higher. If with her the sound is simply terrible, then without her, it is already something beyond good and evil.
Wired connection practically does not change anything, which suggests that the matter is not in the built-in DSP or codecs, but in the design features of the headphones.
Usually we try to approach the tested headphones with a fair amount of positive mood – to find their own usage scenarios for them, some kind of small, but their own audience. In this case, this will not work. Among the advantages of the heroes of today’s test are only a good design, a folding design and a more or less adequate quality of workmanship. With the sound, everything is very bad, and according to other parameters, even among the brothers by origin and price segment, there are many more interesting solutions.