Saturday, June 22, 2024
Business travelEarphonesHeadphonesIn-flightNoice cancelling

REVIEWED: Libratone Q Adapt on-ear headphones

Wireless Bluetooth noise-cancelling for the half the price … and half the quality

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If you can afford noise-cancelling headphones, buy some. If you travel a lot, they can make your journey much easier, allowing you to sleep as well as work in near silence. However, all of the best noise-cancelling headphones are not only incredibly expensive, but bulky and unpleasant to travel with. That applies to both of the market leaders, Bose and Sony, so can these slimmed-down, cut-price headphones do a better job?

Libratone Q Adapt on-ear headphones: design

Smaller than a market leading brands, Libratone has gone for a slightly unusual design. Although it has retained the headband that most noise-cancelling headphones use, instead of using closed ear-cups, it’s opted for an on-ear design. That means that true active noise-cancelling just isn’t going to work as well. We are almost convinced of that just by looking at these solid and well made headphones. Unless there’s some devilishly clever electronics going on?

Libratone Q Adapt on-ear headphones: noise-cancelling

In practice, the Libratones are comfortable to wear for a few hours, and surprisingly good with music. However, as feared, they never get close to Sony or Bose at creating a sound of silence. There are actually four different modes of noise-cancelling – called CityMix  by Libratone – offered here, or rather, four different powers. They range from 100% noise-cancelling (during which it is possible to hear slightly more exterior ambient noise than on Bose or Sony competitors) to a passthrough mode that makes it possible to chat to others around you without taking your headphones off.  However, while wearing them we were conscious of some white noise/interference that just didn’t sound natural.

Libratone Q Adapt on-ear headphones: in use

Weighing only about 212 g, the Libratones are easy to travel with. They ship with a circular case, which is well designed, if a little slight. Although the headphones slip into it very nicely and it closes automatically thanks to a magnet, it just isn’t tough enough to protect them on a long journey.

Libratone Q Adapt on-ear headphones: conclusion

Though these wireless Bluetooth headphones make a good stab at cut-price noise-cancelling, they never really live up to their billing. However, as a pair of headphones for wearing around town and blocking-out the sounds of the commute, there are really impressive.

Price as reviewed: £195.40

Buy the Libratone Q Adapt on-ear headphones