Price: $70Bottom line: Taotronics are the best low-budget active noise cancelling headphones I have ever used. With a sound profile that will please most people, and a long-lasting battery, the BH040's give you great value for its price tag.
30-hour battery life
Noise canceling works very well
Big plastic awkward button
Can't fold down to a smaller profile
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Very rarely do I go through a day without having some sort of headphones in, on, or around my ears. Whether I'm rocking out to The Police, listening to true crime podcasts, or taking calls on my iPhone and Mac, I am constantly plugged in to some form of audio.
While I don't consider myself a hardcore audiophile, I do know what I like in a set of headphones. So when I got a chance to review the Taotronics TT-BH040, I was really excited to see what the budget active noise cancelling headphones would bring to the table.
Taotronics TT-BH040: What I like
I like so many things about the Taotronics TT-BH040's that's its hard to pick which aspect I should talk about first, so I'll start with the most obvious one; these headphones sound great! They definitely bump up the bass a little more than some other manufacturers out there, but boy, do they sound clear and consistent through all types of audio. The lows are deep, warm, and powerful, but they never overshadow the high-end tones, whether you're listening to spoken word or the heaviest of metal.
Let's skip to my favorite part of using the TT-BH040's, the battery life. When you're as cheap as I am, and have used as many budget headphones as I have, you learn to carry the necessary charging cables everywhere you go. I have plenty of headphones that only last 6-8 hours on a full charge, which can't even get me through a full workday. When Taotronics said the TT-BH040's have a 30-hour battery life, I was convinced there was no way that number could be right. Not only was the number accurate in my testing, but I got over 30 hours of use using the ANC, which, to put it super casually, is bonkers! Finally, I have the freedom to leave the charging cable at home.
Let's take a second to talk about the ANC. It's the best I've heard on a pair of headphone this cheap...but it still isn't as good as the Bose QC 35's. So, if you're used to the noise reduction that a high-end pair of cans gives you, the TT-BH040's are likely to disappoint.
That being said, I enjoyed slipping on these headphones and tuning out the world as much as possible. Flip that switch, and boom, the loud roar of traffic on the street, becomes but a whisper. The mechanical drone of the AC in your home? Eliminated to nothing more than a gentle hum. It's fantastic to have quality ANC in a pair of headphones that only cost $70 because typically it takes a lot more money to feel like you are in your own little world.
A couple minor issues
Taotronics TT-BH040: What I don't like
I can't say the Taotronics TT-BH040's are perfect, they are a few minor annoyances that come with the cheaper price, and while I don't think any of these flaws are dealbreakers, it's important to know them before you purchase.
Let's start with the buttons located on the rim of the cans. While they certainly have their uses — like changing volume or playing and pausing music — they are a tad bulky and feel kind of cheap. They jet out from the bottom of the cans, making the headphones have a less slim and uniform look.
While I appreciate that Taotronics included a carry case with the TT-BH040's, the headphones don't fold up into a smaller profile like you see with other pairs of a similar size, causing the carry case to actually be rather large. Fitting this into your carry on luggage on a flight may prove to be slightly difficult, especially since the soft carry case also does add much protection.
Think about the money
If you're looking for a pair of over-ear headphones that don't come with a steep cost and still has plenty of upsides, you need to give the Taotronics TT-BH040's a chance. They sound great, feel super comfortable, and the battery life is one of the best I have ever seen in ANC headphones ever.
I can't really think of a better way to spend $70 for most people — the value for the cost is just so slanted in your favor, I'm almost worried the price will go up at some point. The good news is as long as you can grab these for this cheap, it's you the consumer who really wins!
Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way.
Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.
By Tammy Rogers