Denon AH-W150 Exercise Freak wireless Bluetooth earphones
The Denon AH-W150 wireless headphones are capable of huge volume and plenty of bass when worn properly
- Plenty of bass
- High volume without distortion
- Can be worn in two ways
- Bass can overpower other sounds
- Audiophiles should look elsewhere
Although Denon's AH-W150 Bluetooth earphones are not for audiophiles, they produce excellent sound quality and volume at an affordable price point, particularly considering they are wireless.
Price$ 149.00 (AUD)
The Denon AH-W150 Exercise Freak over-ear wireless Bluetooth earphones are a pleasant surprise; they produce high quality sound with plenty of bass, and have a battery which will last around six hours even when turned up to their maximum volume. While they are designed for exercise freaks, the earphones prove suitable for day to day use as well.
Note: We paired the AH-W150 earphones with a seventh generation Apple iPod nano, with equaliser left flat.
Design and setup
The AH-W150 earphones have a fairly standard design, employing a traditional hook design to sit around the top of your ear, similar to that of a hearing aid. The front, where the earbud is, allows for height and directional adjustment to ensure an ideal fit. The back acts like a stabiliser to keep the AH-W150 earphones immobile against your head.
When hooked on properly, the earphones won’t fall off. We even attempted a handstand, only to find them in place once that failure concluded. An interesting design feature is the inclusion of two small air pockets (about the size of a five-cent piece) on the inside of each earpiece. These act like padding when buttons are pressed.
There are two ways the AH-W150 earphones can be worn, each equally comfortable, but producing a different sound.
The two earpieces are connected by a cable which, when the earphones are worn, hovers above the hairline, but prevents you from resting the AH-W150 securely around your neck when you take them off. Denon has also included a reflective strip on the back of the cord for visibility when out and about.
The earbuds themselves are simple, round silicon tips. There are two ways the AH-W150 earphones can be worn, each equally comfortable, but producing a different sound experience. Simply placing the buds in your ears produces concert-like sound as the silicon tips do not create a seal to eliminate external noise. This is suitable for those who want to hear what’s going on around them, especially when exercising with traffic around. If you push the earbuds in further (although still within comfortable means), the earphones become somewhat passively noise-cancelling, allowing sound with greater detail, volume, and bass.
To pair the AH-W150 earphones with a compatible Bluetooth device, you need to hold down the play button until the light beside it begins to flash red and blue, indicating it is searching for a source. Once 'Denon AH-W150' appears on your smartphone, tablet, or similar, you select the earphones and that’s that.
Performance and battery life
The bass produced is not only powerful, but punchy and clear.
During our tests (in which we listened to music and watched some TV shows on our mobile devices), we wore the AH-W150 with earbuds pressed in slightly for fuller sound. While quality is surprisingly good, audiophiles are advised to look elsewhere.
Having used Plantronics BackBeat 903+ earphones for exercise over the past six months or so, the first thing we noticed about the AH-W150 is how much more bass they produce in comparison. It is not only powerful, but punchy and clear, delivering consistent thuds with the depth intended by the artists. Both the bass guitar and drums of In Hearts Wake’s music were clear and dynamic, and easily distinguishable from the other guitars and vocals.
There were moments where the bass slightly overpowered mids and treble; while it was able to deliver the deep electro component of NatNoiz’s mixtapes, ambient sounds suffered on occasion. Similarly, dialogue became tucked away during parts of The Walking Dead TV series as a result of backing tracks and the grunts of zombies.
What's really impressive is maximum volume.
When it comes to vocal and ambient-heavy music, the AH-W150 earphones produce balanced sound. High tones and vocals are crisp, with electronics coming through with detail and clarity.
What is really impressive about these earphones is their maximum volume. Put simply, maximising both our AH-W150 and iPod’s volumes is not something we did for more than 30 seconds before turning the latter down to the halfway mark. Surprisingly, there is little distortion at top volume.
While we preferred to use the AH-W150 with earbuds pushed in, wearing them without the added pressure delivers similar sound, sans some bass and volume. Having used the AH-W150 in an array of scenarios, we found the battery to last about six hours. Charging, done via the micro-USB port, took just under two hours.
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