It surprised me that it took Samsung this long to get into the headphone game. We (well I) first saw the Level On headphones at the Galaxy S5 announcement. They were announced shortly after and released in the US this past July. I’ve finally spent some time with them and can give you my thoughts.
Build, Design and Comfort
With the design of the Level On, some may love it or hate it. The outside is a white plastic. The ear cushions and headband are made of this beige leather feel like material. It’s a mix of both premium and plastic feel. The plastic isn’t noticed so much because it’s not in bright colors as some other popular headphones. The plastic isn’t super shiny. The leather material is a nice tan. If the white and tan option aren’t really your style you can go for all the all black Level On headphones.
The design of the headband to the ear cups isn’t my favorite. I don’t hate it but I don’t love it. The headband goes over the ear cups instead. The good thing is that it leaves room between the headband and the side of your head. The plastic works well (for me at least) because despite the size, these are ultra light on your head; something needed for long term use. The ear cushions aren’t too padded. They are soft but hollow. They are breathable and don’t force pressure on your ears which is great for long periods of use. They are thick enough for a decent amount of noise isolation.
The cable is definitely sturdy. It doesn’t feel like it will be wearing away easily. The connector that goes into your phone is big. It’s sticks straight out about twin inches too. It’s kind of uncomfortable when you want you put your phone away in certain parts of your bag or pockets. Also, the cable might not be able to connect all the way with certain phone cases. I was sure to remove it when not in use since I felt that it could break if hit the wrong way.
Listening Experience and Use
Listening experience was pretty regular. These come with 40mm dual diaphragm drivers. I was pleased with how loud the headphones went without losing bass. They are not mass bass pumping headphones to begin with. They have a decent balance with focus mostly in the mids. Highs on these aren’t very clear but they’re noticeable. Even at loud volumes the Level Ons didn’t shake or get distorted and they go pretty loud too. I was surprised that they didn’t sound congested and there was clarity at even high volumes. That’s probably what I love most about these, they are super loud. But the downside is that at volumes of 80% and up (depending on the song) the Level On’s bleed.
Similar to the earbuds that come with Samsung phones, the three button control only works correctly with Samsung phones. On the HTC One M8, when you press the “-” it skips to the next song. When you press “+” it goes to the previous song. I hate that I can’t control volume with the controls. I used the Level On with an iPhone 5 and the controls didn’t work at all.
Pricing and Availability
Getting On Level?
The Level On headphones are simplistic in design and features offered. It’s a decent start in entering the headphone game for Samsung. I’m sure it won’t be long till the next set of Level On headphones are announced that will improve on the first timer mistakes.
That being said, I don’t think the Level On headphones are terrible. The build isn’t loud (some might feel the price doesn’t justifty the plain design) and the sound is more than decent. They are also pretty comfortable and lightweight. The price on these bad boys has to do with the brand behind it. At $140 they are good purchase considering overall qualities (comfort, sound, build). At $170+ they are a overpriced for these qualities (mainly sound).