For anyone that travels, the humming of an airplane or the tickidy-tick of a train can be the most annoying thing in the world. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just block all that out? Well Creative thinks is has the solution. A set of noise cancelling headphones that promises to give you a life of silence. But do they work? We don a pair and find out.
The Creative Headphones HN-700 might not have the catchiest of names, but they get the job done, and done well. Powered by 2 AAA batteries (included in the box) the headphones create a surround of white noise, which effectively blocks outside noise.
How well do they work? Good enough to take away low frequency noises like humming airplanes or trains. Of course you will still be able to hear the bloke next to you jabbering on his mobile phone, but considerably muffed.
Because of the independent power supplied by the batteries, users can opt to listen to just the silence without the need to drain power from a portable music device. Of course you can connect them to a portable device and enjoy the music without the irritating background noise of your surroundings.
As for the specifics of the speakers within the headphones, the driver units are 40mm Neodymium Magnet and the noise control range is 15dB at 300Hz
Designed around the Alice band headphone style, the leatherette cushioned ear pads are ergonomically designed to fit your ears perfectly - and they do. So much so that we found it got a little hot underneath them. If you are a hot head and considering using them for a long period of time you should bear this in mind.
Unlike the Bose Noise Cancelling set that we’ve reviewed, the Creative HN-700s can be folded down and tucked into itself for packing and this creating a small compact unit that shouldn’t cause you a problem (see images). This is great if you are travelling and it was one of the biggest complaints we had of the Bose set - that they didn’t feature a similar option.
Shipped in the box is a 1.5m detachable Oxygen-Free Copper Cable with 3.5mm stereo gold-plated miniplug and a soft pouch to put everything in.
The HN-700 is very good. Good enough to even challenge the Bose set that we tested and at the time thought were great. But, and here is the killer element, these cost a fraction of the price - £39.99.
We were so surprised by this that we had to check with Creative to make sure it wasn't telling fibs just to get a good review.
At this price its not just the long-haul flyer that can benefit from this, and that's without the thought of using it with your portable music player.
When we did test the unit with music rather than just the white noise, we were blown away by the difference it made to our tunes. Classical music fans will revel in the knowledge that for the first time they can enjoy their favourite music on the move on an affordable budget without being distracted by all the other ambient noise around them.
Audio purists will no doubt say that we've got it wrong and the sound quality and white noise distortion is better on Bose set. In all fairness they would probably be right, but then the Bose set doesn't cost £39.99, they cost £250. And for us, the HN-700 are just too compelling not to highly recommend.