We go ears-on with Huawei’s affordable AM180 ANC headphones!
Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) headphones are great cans – they reduce the noisy, ambient noise that’s present in most places around you to a dull, non-existent whir, allowing you to enjoy your music (or whatever you’re listening to) in peace. They’re also very expensive, especially those in-ear ones that’s available in the market today. That’s why we were surprised to hear that Huawei wil start to sell very affordable ANC cans in the next few days, at under 4K – Php 3490 in fact, in the form of the AM180. Let’s take a closer look at it:
Initial impressions: really good performing cans that kill most ambient noise
The Ultimo AM180’s earphones are made out of metal, and feature silicone tips that can be replaced (with extra ones being included in the retail box). Because ANC headphones need power to work, most headphones with ANC tend to have large batteries that kind of stick out and kill the overall aesthetics of the device.
Imagine our surprise then to find out that the AM180 had a rather slim battery box where incidentally, the switch to turn on ANC was located at. The AM180 also works even with the power off, which isn’t the case with most other headphones in its class.
The design of the actual headphones themselves were patterned after an African drum, though we’re not sure exactly if that contributes to overall sound quality. The wires that Huawei used for the AM180 looks braided and are of good quality which is important, because this is usually the failure point of most headphones. We’re not sure if the AM180 will be able to stand up to constant tugging and pulling, but we’re fairly confident it will since the overall build quality of the headphones and cables are pretty solid – something we’ve come to expect from Huawei’s products. There’s also a built-in microphone so you can use the AM180 for calls as well as music.
To keep everything nice and tidy, there’s no micro USB port to charge the AM180 anywhere. Instead, the headphones leech off the power on your phone to charge the small battery encased in the rectangular control unit. Unfortunately, not every phone supports this method of charging – Huawei’s Mate7 is obviously compatible (the AM180 is actually a bundled accessory for the Mate7 in some countries) as well as some other newer phones (the Galaxy S6 Edge is also compatible). For phones that aren’t compatible, Huawei throws in a charging accessory for the AM180 though run time for the battery is obviously limited because of its small size.
As far as the actual noise cancellation part goes, the AM180 does a rather good job. Huawei promises around 15-30db of noise reduction when turned on, and that’s around what we got when we used it. We’re actually writing this article in a crowded Starbucks in BGC at around 7:30 in the evening, and the loud chatter of the store simply melted away when we turned the unit on. Pretty impressive.
Sound quality is also pretty decent, though the AM180 does favor bass-heavy pieces. Sound definition is quite good, and audio is pretty warm and full-bodied. We still need to burn-in these cans for a better sense of what they can do, but early signs are very positive. They’re also rather comfortable to wear, which should come in handy as we have an overseas trip coming up in the next few days.
Huawei is pricing the Ultimo AM180 at just Php 3490, which is a great deal considering you’d be hard pressed to find ANY decent ANCs at below 5K, let alone at the AM180’s price. These cans are shaping up to be quite good bang-for-the-buck headphones, though we still need to fully review them to be absolutely sure. If you’re interested in buying a pair, Lazada already has them up at their site.