Zinsoko Z-H01 Noise Cancelling Headphones Review

Zinsoko maybe a brand you’ve never heard of, but these are promising a lot for quite a little. So should you give them a look?

In the box

Included with the Zinsoko is a very nice hard shell carry case that is easily large enough to fit in the headphones as well as the accessories. These bundled items are

  • A 3.5mm audio cable
  • Micro USB charging cable
  • Aeroplane adapter
  • The documents

in-the-box

Back to the case now and it is large, so keep that in mind if you’re looking to take the case with you as it may not fit in all bags comfortably. It is hard shell though and should withstand a few knocks.

Design and Build

The styling of the Zinsoko leave me with mixed feelings. They have some nice design elements, but some other questionable ones. The main finish is Black with Silver accents and its a nice modern colour scheme. As a whole they are quite nice, its just some of the smaller touches that I’m having trouble liking.

overall-design

The left side earcup features the Zinsoko logo in the centre, above that is a toggle that allows you to switch between the two noise cancelling modes. The toggle is a little old school, but given there price it can be forgiven. The main middle section is surrounded by a Silver metallic accent which adds a touch of class to the the design. Two design touches flank the middle section on the main housing, its here where it starts to cause a few issues for me. The design is nice and all, but with it being Silver against Black it just stands out too much and detracts from the rest of the quite clean styling. If this feature were Black then it wouldn’t have been an issue. On the plus side this section is extremely well made thanks to its mainly metal construction.

left-side

I do have a little issue with the build though and that is the main housing, its plastic which is not the problem. Its just that it marks very easily and once its marked, it can’t buffed out. This was not from rough use either, this is the result of just general everyday use. So using the carry case or a pouch would be advised.

marked

On the top section there is a section that I believe is used for the noise cancelling. I’ve checked the manual and website, but can’t find its exact purpose, but I think its used to help filter out background noise. If I find out its exact purpose I’ll be sure to update the review. Finally the underside houses the micro USB port and the LED notification for the noise cancelling.

On the right are the main controls. Here there is the main Bluetooth pairing button dead centre, this is surrounded by the volume and skip track controls. These are very well placed and work great but the large labeling isn’t really needed. Once you’re wearing them you can’t see the labels but they do stand out a bit too much and aren’t that attractive to be honest. On the positive side the buttons are big too which is a bonus as they are very easy to press when out and about.

controls

Underneath the housing is the 3.5mm headphone jack and LED notification light.

3.5mm

Moving up you get to the main support arms, these are made from metal and feel solid. The headband adjustment is metal too and again feels nice and robust. The sliding mechanism is notched and although not the smoothest it doesn’t move around at all when wearing them. Finally this section houses the folding mechanism, again its solid and should last the life of the headphones.

The headband is pretty plain and is all Black with no branding.

Overall the design is nice, its just a few points that I’m not too keen on. But that is just my preference and of course you are free to make your own judgments on the design. As for the build, they feel solid and very well made.

Comfort

Unfortunately its a little bit of a let down, in same cases. The padding on the earcups is generous, very supple and comfortable. The finish is really nice too and doesn’t rub or cause any problems.

The issue though is if you wear glasses then the top section of the padding clamps the tops of your ears and pushes the glasses into the side of your head. This causes discomfort pretty much straight away. That’s thanks to the small opening that isn’t quite over ear, but too big to be on ear and also the clamping force which is a little too strong in this case. However if you don’t wear glasses then this is not an issue and they are actually quite comfortable to wear.

wearing-glasses

Another slight bother is the heat build up, because they are closed back they don’t breathe and heat does build up. Therefore regular brief breaks would be advised to alleviate this.

The headband padding is also a little bit lacking, in comparison to the earcups there is hardly any padding at all and with them weighing 0.33kg (0.73lbs) it would have been nice to have a bit more padding here.

headband-padding

Pairing

Bluetooth specifications

  • Bluetooth version: V4.0 + EDR
  • Support Profile:A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, HSP
  • Transmission frequency:2.402GHz-2.480GHz
  • Transmission Distance:10m
  • Pairing name:Z-H01

Getting them paired is so simple, you press and hold the main Bluetooth button (right side) until it says power on, you then press and hold the Bluetooth button until the LED light flashes Blue and Red. Its then ready to pair with your device. On your device look for Z-H01 and select that option, the device and headphones will then take care of the rest.

notif-light

Re-pairing is a breeze and the auto connect speed is really snappy. Re-pairing with my G6 took around 1 second to do and its honestly the fastest I’ve ever encountered.

In use

Using them daily is a nice experience, they fold down pretty small so you can store them away easily if needed. So if you carry a bag with you then you could easily slip them into there and not have to worry. Just make sure that you place them in a empty pocket if you can as that will keep them from getting marked, as they mark quite easily.

folded

The controls on the side of the headphones are great, they’re tactile, easy to press and work great. The only troublesome one is the main BT button, that acts as the power, pairing, play/pause and answer/reject calls. Its a little bit small a hard to press and it can take a few attempts to get it right.

Call quality is surprisingly good and you can hold a very good conversation with them. The mic is quite clear and doesn’t sound overly robotic or tinny. Of course its not as good a most phones, but if you need to take a quick call they are pretty great.

mic

There is one small issue with using them and that is the Bluetooth connection. It can be a bit spotty and has some bad interference when you move too far away from your device. This is made worse when you start putting walls and doors between them. The range is supposed to be 10m but that isn’t the case as I started to get the issues at about half that distance.

Battery

Battery specifications

  • Micro USB input
  • Charging current: 220mW
  • Standby time: 240 days
  • Talk time: up to 80 hours
  • Capacity: 320mAh lithium

This took a while to do as there is two different operating modes. There is standard and one with the NC activated. Expected battery life is quoted at up to 16 hours at 50% volume with no noise canceling. In fact my testing provided me with a time of 17 hours 50 minutes at 65% volume. Of course this will vary depending on usage but that’s still mighty impressive. The only pair I’ve tested that beat that are the Archeer with 19 hours, but they don’t have as much tech packed in as these.

In then tested with the NC activated and the battery was still impressive. The quoted time is up to 8 hours use, I managed to get 11 hours 8 minutes at 65% volume. Considering that you can get away with dropping the volume to around 50-55%, you should be able to stretch out another (theoretical) 30 minutes or more use. But again your mileage will vary. Also you could mix it up and switch NC off when its not needed, this will give you better battery and make them last longer. But again with your use the results will be different.

Charge time is stated at 2 hours, my testing revealed a time of 2 hours 45 minutes. Its a little longer than advertised but for what you are getting out of them, its not bad at all.

You do also get a few prompts during charging and of course in use. When charging the LED light is Blue and this goes out when done. In use when the battery is low, you get a voice prompt that cuts your music and tells you the battery is low. Its one of those frustrating ones that interrupts every few minutes until they battery completely depletes.

charging

Finally, you can always use them wired if the battery does run out, so as long as you take your cable with you, you’ll still be able to listen to your music.

wired

Noise isolation and Leak

Again this took a while I tested them in a few places with NC on and off, so does the NC work. Well here is a few scenarios on public transport.

One – No NC no music: They do a decent job of blocking out noise, of course some does still creep in but it does block out a fair amount of noise.

nc-off

Two – Just music no NC: It does dramatically reduce noise and almost blocks out everything. There is still some minor noise creep but its a reduced level. This is of course obvious as the volume of your music does affect this, so the louder you have it the more it blocks out. But again this has serious health impacts and is not really recommended.

Three – Just NC no music: It does work, it seems to filter out more lower end frequencies than those higher ones. I can still hear some noises but they aren’t as deep as before and sound a little more hollow. Their volume level does decrease though, but some noise still does get in.

nc-on

Four – NC and music: This combo works great, you can lower the volume of your music which helps reduce the risk of hearing damage as well as blocking out more external noise than any of the other modes. I honestly couldn’t hear anything unless my music volume was very low or it was inbetween tracks changing. So it might not be Bose or Sony level good, but for the price it works great and I am really surprised by how good it is.

Onto leak now and here is where it falls apart, its a shame as the isolation is so good, but they leak really badly. Whether you have NC on or not they do leak too much. Of course with NC on its not as bad as you can reduce your volume, but with it off its very noticeable. If you have your music loud, this means you can’t really do that in public without everyone around you being able to hear what you’re hearing. But on public transport with the volume at around 50% you should be okay, unless someone is sat right next to you. So just make sure you don’t embarrass easy.

Sound

Sound specifications

  • Speaker diameter:φ40mm
  • Frequency response: 20Hz-20KHz
  • Impedance:32Ω
  • Sensitivity:105dB/1mW (S.P.L at 1KHz)
  • Rated power:10mW
  • Max power:20mW
  • Noise reduction performance: up to 26dB

So far the Zinsoko have impressed, but will they sound good too?

I tested the sound with both the NC on and off to see if it made any difference to the quality and here is what I found.

NC off – Bass is pretty potent and packs a solid punch. The drop is deep and pretty smooth, it is a little cloudy and the most detailed I’ve ever experienced. The extension and transitions are nice and there is no massively noticeable roll off. Its also not over powerful and it doesn’t spoil the rest of the sound. True bass lovers may want more, but for general use the bass is good.

The mids are decent, a fair amount of detail is present and its clear too. Of course its not on a par with wired, but its good. Sound seperation is good and soundstage is solid too. Some finer detail is missed, but that is a trade off of the price and of course Bluetooth compression. The mids are fairly neutral too, they aren’t over coloured and are neither too warm nor cool. They are edging more towards warm but not overly excessive. The overall quality of the mids is good.

Vocals are nice, they are pretty clean, clear and detailed. Tonal quality is natural and although not the best vocal I’ve ever heard they are good. They do have a fair amount of power too. My go to vocalists to test are Adele and Rag n Bone man and they do them decent justice, almost. They are lacking a little power, but for the most part they handle these powerhouses well.

NC on – The bass sees no massive change, its just as good as before. There is no noticeable drop in quality and everything is pretty much as with the NC off. If anything the drop is actually a little deeper with NC on. So this is a good thing as there is no reduction in overall quality.

The mids do see a change, they seem to open up but sound a little distant and it now has more noticeable echo. Detail isn’t a solid as before. They are more airy and breath more, but now they sound a bit thin and lacking body. So for the best midrange experience, keep the NC off. Don’t get me wrong its still good, but not as detailed or refined as before.

The vocals are again affected, they have the same echo as before and it does detract from the experience a little. However if you don’t switch between the two modes a lot or in the middle of a track, then you may not even notice the change.

Overall they are pretty good. NC off is the best option for outright quality, but even with it on its still decent. Yes they are the best sounding headphones in the market or even at the price but they are better than average.

Summary

As a whole there is a fair few things to like about these headphones. They are nice to look at, well made for the most part, comfortable if you don’t wear glasses, provide great isolation, have superb battery life and sound pretty good. They are really let down by the Bluetooth connection issues, being easily marked, the comfort issues if you do wear glasses, the sound leak and some of the sound problems with the NC on.

But for £68 to £72 (depending on the colour) in the UK they are pretty good value for money. Well if you are careful with them and don’t wear glasses. If you do wear glasses and often leave your phone behind it becomes a bit trickier to recommend them. Their features work great and they are solid, but they do have some shortcomings.

So if you can live with the issues, give them a look, if not then I’d take a look elsewhere. In all honesty though I think these are worth it for the Noise Cancelling as that is one of their best features. But again it’ll be up to you to decide if they are right for you.

Score 7/10

Get some here: www.amazon.co.uk/zinsoko-zh01

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s