We compared them to some of the other headphones we’ve reviewed in the past but this was the first time we’ve tried out headphones with active noise cancelling for this site.
There are a spate of other in-ear noise-cancelling wireless headphones out there; the critical darling are currently the Bose QuietControl 30. But those run for around five times as much as this Blitzwolf BW-ANC-1; here’s a look at what just fifty bucks can get us from this Chinese manufacturer.
How the Blitzwolf BW-ANC1 Sound
We were very pleasantly surprised. There is a sweetness in the vocals, richness to the mids and the bass has oomph. We did not hear as much separation of instruments or soundstage as with our very favorite in-ear headphones, but found the Blitzwolf BW-ANC1 to be great for the price and much, much better than we were expecting.
As with any headphones it is key for good sound to find the right seal for your ears; BlitzWolf provides a variety of included silicone earbuds so that you can find just the right fit.
Bluetooth reception was just fine; the advertised distance is 10 meters. You’re likely to have the audio source (your phone) on your body while you listen, as we did while testing, and the headphones worked great at that distance.
Active Noise-Cancelling of the BW-ANC1
A colleague volunteered to take these headphones on a flight; she commented that they worked great on this, the most key aspect of travel headphone performance.
She got a great seal with the headphones, which already helped block out noise, but once she activated the active noise-cancelling feature by pushing the button on the clip, she found that they greatly reduced the roar of the plane and also made her music-listening much more pleasant.
Unlike some headphones, enabling the noise-cancelling of the BW-ANC1 doesn’t affect the quality of the sound.
Design and Features of the BW-ANC1
These are far from the most handsome, space-age looking piece of gear on the planet; we’re talking about a simple set of earbuds connected by a wire to a small square clip.
However, the clip works great when placed on the front of a shirt and offers easy access to the buttons that allow you to control the unit.
As usual with wireless headphones, you’ll have to read the instructions to figure out what each of the buttons do. You are at least helped along by being able to unclip the controller from your shirt so that you can actually look at what you are doing the first few times you use the headphones. (With other wireless headphones, you’re often feeling for buttons behind your ears or on your collar.)
Other features of note:
- Battery: The seven-hour battery life is more than enough for most uses, though a longer battery life would have been nice for long flights.
- Waterproof: The IPX4 rating means that the headphones are splashproof and should be able to deal with your sweat or accompanying you through unexpected rain. But they should not be dunked underwater.
- APT-X: If your phone has APT-X as well, this higher quality encoding supposedly improves sound transmission. Most critics are dubious of its actual utility.
- Microphone: Can make calls as a Bluetooth headset.
- Also included: USB charging cable, carrying case (small, hard, very usable), three pairs of silicon eartips, and a manual
Overall, we’re quite happy with these headphones and will be carrying them in our very minimalist, lightly packed wheeled carry-on backpacks for future trips.
UPDATE Fall 2018: These headphones can also be purchased from this supplier in Hong Kong, so total shipping time is a week or two. The manufacturer is currently offering the following discount code to our readers for 20% off: bw20.