Hands-on review: Avantree Aria Me ANC wireless headphones
Image credit: Avantree
These headphones are aimed at the growing home-working market. How do they perform in Zoom and more?
Before 2020, headphones that stay at home at the desk or in the living room have received less attention than those to be seen out and about with. Unsurprisingly, everyone being stuck inside has changed that and now there’s a lot more focus in the market on models that are as happy indoors as outdoors. The Aria Me noise-cancelling and wireless headphones from Avantree would be fine on the train or plane, they’re touted as the best headphones for working for home. That is certainly their strength.
They join a growing number of Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) models on the market and, while they could be used to reduce the background drone on a flight, at home they have to contend with noise from your family or flatmates. The ANC, turned on with a button on the left earpiece, does a reasonable job of filtering that out should you want to but I kept it switched off most of the time to keep half an ear on the front doorbell.
The sound quality overall is good. My wired studio headphones are around the same price but I won’t be giving them up just yet. The Aria Me are not audiophile headphones but they are a good-quality audio, comfortable for meetings or movies. The wireless streaming works well with movies because the low-latency codec avoids any delay between picture and sound, reducing lip-synch issues. The 24bit codec won’t over-compress a high-quality audio music stream either.
I would have these in addition to quality, wired stereo headphones for listening to music, rather than replacing them. But your decision will depend on how good your existing wired headphones are – the Aria Me’s could certainly replace many of the models of regular stereo headphones or earphones out there. Either way, these are a much more convenient and efficient option for today’s home-working needs of online meetings, seminars and so on. They’re very well designed for that purpose.
The microphone, often the cheapest component in many of today’s consumer devices, is good too. There are two microphones provided. One is a boom mic accessory that fits into an audio plug in the left earpiece which colleagues tell me is sometimes a little clearer than the built-in mic, which itself produces a good vocal sound. I found I could stick with the built-in microphone. You might never need the boom mic but it may be useful in noisier environments than I usually work in, or when you’re on calls outside the home office.
The hardware on/off switch is a simple but convenient and very welcome feature too often missing from most home electronics. There’s a hardware volume control and play/pause/skip button combination on the right earpiece, and on the left there’s a button to answer phone calls or give voice commands. The companion app can give you a hearing test and customise each channel for your own hearing. I can’t really think of any functionality that these headphones are missing for the kind of purpose they are designed for.
The Bluetooth setup is easy and straightforward. Sometimes the audio level dropped between sessions but it’s nothing that isn’t easily fixed with a few clicks in the software’s settings or the old IT trick of turning it off and on again. Wireless Bluetooth reduces cable clutter but it also provides freedom; it means you can take a moment from an online meeting to answer the front door but still hear what’s being said. There’s a button to mute the mic – on both the built-in one and the boom one – so you can talk to family or a delivery driver in private too.
When the meeting’s over, you can hang up the headphones on the charger stand. This model comes with a protective carry case and portable USB charger to take outside for use with your laptop or smartphone too. The 'phones neatly fold up to fit inside the case. The charging stand has easy-to-understand status LEDs and is a good-looking, simple and neat piece of design that works well in combination with the headphones. Both feel like they’re made from good quality materials.
In summary, I felt these headphones aren’t the very best sound for music but they are extremely practical and have everything you need for home working and home entertainment too. They’re easy to grab and dive into a meeting with, knowing they’ll be charged and ready to go. You can also take them out and about, which is a bonus. Overall, nice quality and excellent, convenient headphones.
£129.99 from Avantree UK store and elsewhere
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