Samsung New Headphones, Samsung Level: The Review
Does it seem like everyone on the street is wearing headphones? Maybe it is because music has become so accessible that our standard for auditory experiences has gotten higher. Or maybe it is because it just makes us look cooler (after all, who doesn’t like to look good?). Just like any product, headphones need to have both good functionality and design. We understand that there are plenty of headphones on the market that you can choose from. However, the new headphones by Samsung that we are going to talk about are a little more high tech than your conventional ones. Let’s talk about one of the new sets of headphones by Samsung that was introduced at MWC 2014, the Samsung Level Over. Sound like a plan?
In February 2014, Samsung showcased some of its new headphones at the MWC 2014 Samsung booth. Even back then, it was immediately obvious that Samsung Level headphones are going to be especially well-suited for tablets and smartphones. First, there is an app specially developed for the headphones called ‘Samsung Level’, so there is a lot of things you can do with the app when the headphones are paired with a smartphone. But before we take a look at the app, let’s talk about how good Samsung Level sounds. Sound good?
Samsung Level Over are over-the-ear style headphones, where the ear cups fully cover your ears. One of the first things we look for in headphones like this is the sound of bass. If you want that fat thick and full bass sound, something you want to look into is the size of the diaphragm of the headphones. The bass sound produces a lot of air compared to other sounds, so to deliver the full bass sound, the headphone needs to let out all the air. The diaphragm of headphones is the part that converts mechanical motion into sound.
This is why the size of the diaphragm matters, because the bigger it is, the more air it can let out for a fuller bass sound. The smaller the diaphragm is, the more air is trapped or rings inside the headphone without producing any auditory effect. Samsung Level Over has a 50mm driver unit or 50mm diaphragm, which is a large size for headphones. Also the diaphragm is constructed with Bio-Cellulose materials, which is frequently used in high-end products.
Therefore, compared to materials like plastics, the sound is much smoother; basically, it makes it easier to listen to music. Diaphragm is one of the reasons Samsung Level Over can provide a full thick fat bass sound. (Talking about using high-end product materials, Samsung Level Over seems to use Neodymium magnet, which provides quicker sound response time.)
If you are a music connoisseur, you know how big of a difference an equalizer can make. Some might argue that music is recorded in a way that the music sounds as the musician intended when the equalizer is set on default or ‘flat’. However, everyone perceives sound differently, which means everyone has his/her own preference of sound. Therefore, the best sound is the sound customized for you. For example, depending on the music, you might like to put emphasis on the bass, vocals or the percussion. With an equalizer, you can customize this sound.
Equalizers can be difficult to control for a lot of people which is why many devices offer preset equalizers. However, users generally have limited control over a lot of these preset equalizer options, resulting in an unsatisfactory experience. Even if it offers control over the preset equalizer option, it brings you to the advanced equalizer setting, which defeats the whole purpose of having presets.
The SoundAlive equalizer in Samsung Level tends to solve this problem with the pad-like presets. You can select each square to customize the sound if you don’t like the preset that the app assigns according to the genre of the music. If not, you can always check out the 25 basic presets to see if there is already a perfect preset for you.
But, of course, there is always the advance mode as well. On this mode, not only can you change each frequency band level, but you can also apply effects like 3D, Bass and Clarity to tune the sound perfectly. On the side note, you can apply the equalizer on all your mobile contents, such as games, movies and video streaming.
Moreover, because the ear cups fully cover your ears, the headphones almost give a sense of noise canceling. The Samsung Level Over and the Samsung Level app together feature Active Noise Cancellation (ANC). Its ANC reduces external noise using 2 Dual IC Hybrid Mic on each side of the headphones when music is playing. You can choose or choose not to use this function; regardlessly, it won’t do any damage the sound. Unlike some other headphones, even if the battery runs out, it won’t stop the music; it will continue to play music just without the ANC function. Your music won’t be interrupted by external noise, which preserves the quality of the original sound.
The Design and UX
What about the design? If you take a look at the design of the Samsung Level Over, you’ll see they are smooth, modern and sleek. They are not excessive or outrageous, but nor are they dull or boring either. They have a look that will go well with the high-tech Samsung mobile devices; paired together, they make a great combo.
Moreover, the headphone feels comfortable. Since they have been ergonomically designed with soft polyurethane and a high elasticity inner sponge cushion, they fit quite comfortably. The weight and the fit is important, especially if you are a music maniac who likes to listen to music almost 24/7; it won’t weigh down on your ears, even if you wear glasses.
One of the coolest feature of the Samsung Level Over is the built-in Smart Touch Controls. If you double tap the headphone’s touch pad, which is located on the outside of the ear cups, you can play or pause music. If you swipe the touch pad horizontally, it will move to the next or previous track and if you swipe it vertically, it will increase or decrease volume depending on the direction you swipe. To add some extra spice into all this functionality, when you get a call, all you have to do is double tap the touch pad to accept calls (or end calls) or tap and hold it to reject it. You can also activate S voice on headphone by 3sec long press.
One obvious tip for a better experience
Like any auditory experience, the most important thing, obviously, is the quality of the music (not talking about musical preference here). For example, if you are listening to an mp3 file, you want it to have a high kbps (kilobit per second) rate. This is especially important if you enjoy listening to music with the volume cranked up. Since an mp3 is a compressed file, it is inevitable that you lose some sound; and the more compressed the file is, the more sound you lose from the original track. According to this logic, with a higher kbps, you’ll lose less quality. With the right set up of the equalizer, the Samsung Level Over gives you a great listening experience.
That said, the Samsung Level Over seems to cover a wide range of frequencies. Therefore, if you are an electronic music fan, you won’t miss out on the heavy bass or high pitched snare. And with functions like SoundAlive equalizer and Active Noise Cancellation, Samsung Level gives you solid performance. Design and UX wise, it is ergonomically designed with a touch pad to control tracks and volume. Overall, it sounds like Samsung Level Over is a pretty special set of headphones that will give you a great auditory experience.
*All functionality features, specifications and other product information provided in this document including, but not limited to, the benefits, design, pricing, components, performance, availability, and capabilities of the product are subject to change without notice or obligation.
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