First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
- — 04 January, 2006 11:00
Creative have been the leaders in PC sound cards for many years and as such you would imagine they would know a thing or two about sound. Therefore when we unpacked the HM-700 noise canceling headphones we were expecting quite a lot. Unfortunately, these headphones didn't live up to our expectations despite, for the most part, performing well enough for the average consumer.
First of all, the noise canceling feature didn't really cancel all that much noise. They seemed to remove a little ambient sound but at the cost of very tight suction against the ear, so much so that prolonged use resulted in quite painful migraines . Despite the incredible suction, the headphones still leaked quite a bit of sound, even at midrange volumes, which noise canceling headphones are meant to prevent.
The headphones themselves sound good although the bass does tend to get muddy at higher volumes with higher treble tones sounding a little truncated. The HM-700 does really well in the mid-tones though, and should be more than sufficient for most audio consumers.
The design of the headphones is rather good with a lustrous aesthetic. They have leather moldings on the top of the headband and around the cups and the unit folds in half via a hinge in the top of the headband, for easy storage.
The noise canceling feature requires two AAA sized batteries for power but when we tested them a brand new set of Duracell's only lasted about 5 hours. Considering the price of batteries this is woefully inadequate, and even though many people will probably opt to purchase rechargeable, it is an added expense that you should be aware of.
These headphones aren't as good as you would expect from Creative. They tended to be quite uncomfortable and didn't perform as advertised. When you consider other headphones on the market at this price point, you quickly come to realize that the HM-700 are insanely overpriced and not even partially worth their exuberant price tag. The number one purpose of a set of noise canceling headphones should be to cancel noise and the Creative HM-700 just didn't cut the mustard.