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With the Mpow H17, customers have a relatively inexpensive over-ear headset with ANC. Meanwhile, there are more and more ANC headsets for less than $50 on Amazon. With the influx of Bluetooth headphones, the market is saturated with cheap headphones. This makes the selection difficult because a lot is promised, but unfortunately only rarely kept.
The Mpow Holo H17 is most likely to be compared with the TaoTronics TT-BH060 (SoundSurge 60) at around $70 in terms of affordability. Both have ANC (Active Noise Canceling) to block out ambient noise more or less well.
In comparison to TaoTronic’s and Cowin’s active noise cancellation headphones, Mpow H17 is an addition to the ongoing Holo Series of Mpow. Is the new cheap noise-canceling headset a worthy successor? Does MPOW H17 justify its cost? Lets checkout.
Mpow H17 Noise Cancelling Headphones Review
Type: Closed-back Over-ear Noise Cancelling Headphones | Bluetooth: 4.1 | Battery: 45 Hours | Charging: 2 Hours | Quick-charge: 2 Hours in 10 minutes | Drivers: Dynamic | Drivers-Size: 40 mm | Impedance: 32 Ohms | Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz | Weight: 208g | Microphone: CVC 6.0 | Sound Pressure Level (SPL): 108 dB
The headphone comes with a carry pouch, a 3.5mm cable to use the headphone without Bluetooth, a charging cable. The appropriate cables are included in the scope of delivery along with a carrying pouch, a warranty card, a quick start guide, and some promotional materials packed inside a red box. The headphones are foldable and can, therefore, be transported in a space-saving manner.
The workmanship of Mpow H17 is really good because the ear pads are super soft, just like the inside of the adjustable headband, which you notice when you wear the headphones. Very comfortable and nothing pinches even after several hours at a time. However, you sweat a little underneath, which is actually the case with all (also significantly more expensive) models. The height adjustment is also appealing thanks to its full grid.
The noise cancelling wireless headphone looks cheap from the onset, which we expected from such a product. The low weight of just 208 grams shows that only plastic is used here, but this is not a disadvantage. A nice aspect is the synthetic leather cover on the outer sides of the auricle. Unfortunately, one of these covers is attached a little loosely so that it wrinkles. That’s the bad side of the processing. In many places, it is too poorly processed, even for this price range. The earpads’ joints can be rotated and swiveled in almost all directions, but loosely.
The wearing comfort is good enough because the already mentioned soft cushions can be rated positively. Still, the slightly loose fit, even in the tightest setting, might be problematic for some. The Mpow H17 isn’t susceptible to fall off your head, but the headset can slip if you move a lot or make sudden movements.
The controls are simple to use. On the right earcup: Play / Pause can be achieved by pressing the middle button once. Louder and quieter by briefly pressing the respective button. You can jump back and forth one track by holding down the volume up / down button. The keys all have good pressure points, even if they are a bit too small and too close to each other to be felt correctly.
A built-in CVC 6.0 microphone handles phone calls. If a call comes in, you can accept it by briefly pressing the middle button or reject it by holding it down. Pressing the volume up button twice starts the wizard.
The left earcup contains a switch control that can activate the Active Noise Cancelation feature and a LED that displays when the headset is switched off. A bit strange, but that’s how it is. Incidentally, a reset can be carried out by holding the multifunction button for 4 seconds.
Pairing is straight forward. Long pressing the pause/play button for around 5 seconds will trigger the pairing mode. Open the Bluetooth settings on your phone or PC and look for a device named MPOW H17 and connect to it. After you are paired, you should hear a tone with the message ‘Your Device is Connected.’
The battery should last up to 45 hours. With the ANC switched off. With active ANC, it was a good 25 hours. The charging is relatively quick, even if the promised 10 minutes of loading for 2 hours of music enjoyment is a bit far-fetched. In reality, these 10 minutes of loading are enough for a bit more than an hour of music with active ANC. But that’s absolutely fine; however, the headset cannot be used while charging, as it is deactivated when the charging cable is plugged in.
Mpow H17 has a decent latency between sound source and headset that allows watching videos. Though, to our disappointment, only Bluetooth 4.1 is installed, which is noticeable in the maximum working range and in the connection’s stability. It is not a big problem to move several meters away from the smartphone in a small office or open room, but when you make a corner, the connection disappears and takes a while to re-established.
The sound quality during phone calls is rather mediocre. Good enough to have a conversation, but not professional enough to be enjoyable in the long run. You can hear the other person well, but you are only heard very softly and with noise.
ANC’s presence is a great thing and has become one of the main criteria when buying a headphone for traveling. It can be activated or deactivated on the Mpow H17 with a switch. Otherwise, there are buttons for general operation such as play/pause, volume up and down.
The noise cancellation algorithm is quite intelligent. It can attenuate lower frequency noises by generating counter frequency to cancel the incoming frequency waves. The mid-range and high frequencies aren’t blocked as efficiently as we wanted, and cannot even stand against high-end nosie-canceling headphone such as Bose 700, Sony WH-1000XM4, or even the mid-range Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless.
Fortunately, the closed-back over-ear design isolates the mids and highs. This gives satisfying noise cancellation. One can ignore the outside traffic or sounds in general to an acceptable level.
This does come with two peculiar challenges. The low-frequency noise cancellation at times also cancels out the lower ranges of the song that one is listening to, giving off an altered sound to the music. And since there is no high-frequency attenuation, any sound, if loud enough, will disturb you.
We come to the most important criterion for a headset—the sound. In this case, the sound is good. Sure, it doesn’t even come close to the fantastic sound of a Bowers & Wilkens, but the slightly more expensive TaoTronics TT-BH060 is left behind. A bigger surprise is that even the JBL Tune600BTNC that is sold for a similar price is left behind.
The audio quality very much lives up to the price. It doesn’t provide an auditory treat but certainly carries itself decently and modestly. MPOW claims that the 40mm neodymium driver punches out deep, powerful, and natural bass that’s well balanced with mid-range and high frequencies. This does check out in my experience, and let me tell you, listening to music on a 320KbPS streaming service is a sensual experience.
The sound could best be characterized as balanced, with a slightly V-shaped sound signature: an increase in the bass and treble range that seems to please many.
In any case, Mpow H17 sounds much more spacious than the JBL, which is a real surprise. In direct comparison with the Mpow H17, Tune 600 BTNC sounds like in a small room, while at Mpow, it takes place in a large hall. The difference is there, and it’s quite clear. However, it has to be said that the Mpow H17 is oriented towards bass-heavy music. So it’s more pop and dance than jazz or classical. They’re fun to listen to.
The Mpow H17 displays itself as a strong, over-head wireless headphone with active noise canceling contender. It is a worthy successor in the long list of Mpow H-series headphones and, understandably, lives up to expectations.
It is one of the lightest ANC headphones that offers decent noise-canceling quality and fantastic audio quality. If I were to compare the audio quality with H12, H17 is much, much better. Besides, H17 is tasteful, easy to carry, and comfortable to wear. The only thing I dislike about this headphone is the noise cancellation and the outdated 4.1 Bluetooth version. The noise canceling doesn’t seem as great as H12, but I think the other features outweigh it.