August EP750 – Active Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headset with NFC

Noise reducing headsets at one time were high price items available only from a few prestigious companies and priced accordingly. Now prices are falling and so called noise cancelling headphones are available for less than £50. Priced shade under £100 these headsets should be judged against high end models from better known suppliers such as Bose Quiet Comforts, SONY MDR-100ABN H.EAR ON WIRELESS, AKG N60, etc.

The headset was supplied attractively packaged in a attractive mid market display box containing, the headset, hard carry case, one audio cable with in-line controls, one standard audio cable, a USB charging cable, a airline two pin adaptor, and a User Guide. The headset is quite large, sits over the ears and looks rather upmarket and sophisticated. The headset feels quite heavy and substantial and has a quality feel to it and will fold up to fit inside the supplied hard carry case.

The build quality is first rate as to be expected at this price point. The earcups swivel and the headband extends do so with a smooth but secure feel. The two cables are not the same, one has an in-line control box and the other is thinner lacks the control box and has slightly smaller plugs. Both feel well made and robust. The USB to mini-USB charging cable is braided, longer than most cables of this type, and again feels tough and durable. The carry case is robust, has an attractive cloth finish and has a shaped internal support for the headset, a mesh pocket for the cables and is secured with a zip fastener. The User Guide is large, well written and easy to read. I include a scan of it in my unboxing video.

All the controls are on the left ear cup and follow the usual format: Multi function button (play/pause/answer phone), Volume/Track Up, Volume/Track Down. There is a separate turret switch to turn the ANR function Off/On with status LED as well as second LED for Bluetooth and battery status.

Turning now to the most important feature of any headset, the audio quality, and bearing in mind that this is not a low end device nevertheless I was still impressed by the sound. The bass is full and detailed but not overpoweringly so as Dr Dre headsets can be, for me August got it right. Mid tones are clear and detailed and the sound is very warm and comfortable. This is still an above average headset for the price as regards sound quality.

What about the noise cancelling? Well as with every ANR headset the emphasis should be on the word reduction. No headset can fully cancel outside sounds but this one does a perfectly decent job and when I tried it in several situations. Like with all of them it coped better with low constant noise, the roar of a jet, car engines, traffic rather better than with sudden bangs or high pitched screeches. The robust construction and over ear form factor means that this headset can use passive noise reduction as well as active system to cancel out outside sounds. Unlike with many rivals when switching on ANR there was no major reduction in music reproduction quality, there was a difference but not enough to be annoying. The active system, which produces audio signals designed to oppose and cancel those from the outside can be turned off and on as required using the switch on the side of the headset.

Given that this headset comes with an airline travel kit it is a pity that it only uses built in rechargeable batteries. Rechargeables are cheaper to use but for travel use I like the reassurance of having back up batteries in my pocket. This is actually rather important as it seems from reading the User Guide that the headphones will not work even in wired mode when the battery is flat. The User Guide does not specifically say if they are referring only to ANR use but the inference is that it is not. If so this is a major strike against it.

Bluetooth pairing was quick and easy and can be done either in the usual way using the red/blue headset status LEDs or by holding the left earpiece of headset against the phone after entering pairing mode on the headset. The headset can simultaneously connect to two Bluetooth device if needed. Another novel feature is that when the headset has a Bluetooth connection to a music source the audio port on the headset can serve as an audio out port to connect a further device. You could, for example, connect your phone by Bluetooth the headset and the headset by cable to you hifi system in order to play music from the phone on the bhi-fi. How many people will actually want to do this is another matter.

This is a excellent sounding headset, looks great too and with presentation to match the audio quality. The price coupled with the sound quality and presentation makes it a five star buy for me even bearing in mind the issues listed above. They are not inexpensive and I was strongly tempted to knock a star off for that and the battery issue but these headphones are just so good I could not bring myself to do it.

The Good
Attractive design
Good build quality
Good sound quality
Comfortable to wear
Well made rigid case
Two audio cables
Good in-line controls
Fold flat design
AptX codec supported
NFC support
Multipoint Bluetooth connections
Audio Out port

The Bad
No spare battery option
Will not work with a cable when the battery is flat

More info and purchase