Given a choice, most people would prefer noise-canceling headphones over headphones that only have passive noise isolation. The problem is that noise-cancelling headphones under $100 are extremely hard to find, and those few that exist usually don’t sound all that great. Fortunately, exceptions exist, and the OVC H15 is one of them.
Design and Build
The OVC H15 are unassuming sporty in-ear headphones with an in-line remote control and a dedicated noise-canceling box with a large rechargeable battery. Compared to in-ear headphones with a battery integrated directly into the headphone housing, the OVC H15 last much longer on a charge, up to 60 hours. The OVC H15 also has a built-in microphone for hands-free phone conversations and communication with intelligent voice-controlled personal assistants like Siri or Cortana.
The OVC H15 ship with special silicone eartips with integrated earhooks. Thanks to the earhooks, the headphones stay securely in place and don’t cause any discomfort even after multiple hours of use.
The cable is wrapped in fabric for extra protection against damage and tangling. The L-shaped jack at the end of the cable is so slim that it should work with most smartphone and tablet cases. As a nice bonus, the headphones also come with a shirt clip that you can use to minimize cable bounce to reduce the microphonics effects caused by the cable rubbing against your clothes or skin.
Let’s start with the main attraction of the OVC H15: the active noise cancellation. To test how it works, we took the headphones on the streets, started playing music at a moderate volume level, and turned on the noise cancellation. As soon as it activated, the loud, distracting hum of passing cars nearly disappeared and so did most other sounds, including human voices. We turned the noise cancellation off just to confirm what we had heard, and the world around us got loud again. For a pair of around $50 headphones, such amazing noise canceling performance is unheard of, to say the least.
And it’s not just the noise cancellation that’s great—the sound quality of the OVC H15 is fantastic as well. The headphones have a dedicated button for instant bass enhancement, so you can easily customize the sound signature to your liking. Without the bass enhancement turned on, the OVC H15 are slightly warm but decently balanced overall. With the bass enhancement turn on, the bass becomes delightfully impactful and abundant.
What’s in the Box?
When you purchase the OVC H15 active noise canceling in-ear headphones, you get the headphones themselves, a micro USB charging cable, an airline adapter, one set of ultra-soft eartips, a travel pouch, a user manual, and a warranty cart with lifetime technical support.