Monoprice BT600ANC Bluetooth headphone
These stylish headphones have features like a touchpad control normally found only in products twice their price.
- Good price point
- Very good normal sound
- Effective noise cancellation (ACN)
- ACN is less transparent than other brands
- There was a connectivity issue
A low-priced Bluetooth headphone that hits the mark with functionality but is lacking the pizzazz of higher end models.
The US$100 Monoprice BT600ANC bring features to the table you’ll normally only find at twice the price. Very good normal sound, touchpad control (on the ear cup), and effective active noise cancellation (ANC).
The ANC isn’t as transparent as what you’ll get with pricier noise-cancelling headphones, such as Sony’s mid-range WH-XB900N, but the sonic difference with ANC engaged on Monoprice’s headphone is less discernable than we were expecting given the price.
Alas, as of this writing, there was a connectivity issue that affected our testing, so read carefully. We’ll report back with Monoprice’s final word or solution on the problem when we get it.
Design and features
The Monoprice BT600ANC buck the trend for “serious” headphones by employing various shades of medium to dark gray in their color scheme. Professional looking, without being guady. I’m a fan. As matter of fact, the BT600ANC can run with any headphones I’ve seen when it comes to style.
They’re also lightweight at around 10 ounces, and supremely well-padded, both in the headband and the ear cups. My ears never got close to the speaker grills, but the BT600ANC still fit tightly enough to kill a lot of ambient sound even when turned off. I’ll just cut to the chase and say they’re among the most comfortable headphones I’ve worn.
The left cup features USB-C charging port. There’s also a battery/charging status LED. But the right cup is where all the action is, including the mics that captures the reverse-phase signal used to kill the outside noise,
The face of the right cup is a touchpad that you use to control volume (swipe up/down), change tracks (swipe forward/back), tap to pause, and so on. The right cup is also used to control phone calls. There’s a physical triple-button for Bluetooth pairing (lower), power on/off (center), and turning ambient sound and ANC on/off (upper). A 3.5mm cable jack for wired use, and a connection status light also reside on the right cup. There’s voice confirmation (“ANC on,” for example) for most actions.
Monoprice doesn’t quote the Bluetooth version, but it does support the aptX HD (48kHz/24-bit) codec. The drivers are 40mm, which is large enough to reproduce sub-bass to a mild extent. The battery is 500mAh and claimed run time is 40 hours without ANC, 25 with it. If you’re in a plane for more than 25 hours, get help.
Without the ANC microphones involved, the BT600ANC’s produce very good sound. Not spectacular, but certainly on par with headphones costing twice as much. The ANC does a very good job of reducing noise, and you can let the outside ambient noise in if you wish, but both do affect the quality of the sound slightly. I’ve heard much worse in bargain phones though.
Sans ANC, there’s good power in the lower mid-range, and plenty of bass (“Thunderstruck” by AC/DC). The sub-bass (Young Jeezy’s “Put On”) is a bit muddy compared to the non-ANC Drop +THX Panda, but that headphone costs four times as much. If I wished for anything, it would be that the high mid-range was a bit better delineated. Individual instruments in the sound field were a bit harder to discern than with really good headsets (“Africa” by Toto; “Mars, Bringer of War” from Gustav Holst’s The Planets).
When the mics and ANC kick in, there’s a very slight dip in the high-end. Nothing drastic, and the sound is still good, it just doesn’t sparkle quite as much. I’m being picky. If you turned the BT600ANC on without realizing the ANC was on, you might not even notice. I had to A/B several dozen times to be sure I wasn’t imagining it, it’s that subtle.
One note: The first thing you’ll hear when you turn on the headphones is a decent quality, but slightly muffled woman’s voice. Don’t let it throw you. The sound is very, very good.
I had no issues initially connecting to my computer, or phone; however, things got sticky from there. Both the transceivers I use for testing TV and video dialog latency seemingly connected with the BT600ANC, but no audio ensued. No amount of recycling power, clearing connections, etc. improved the situation with the original or replacement headphone Monoprice sent me. I also had some subsequent oddities with the computer and phone, though power recycling helped in these cases.
A very good bargain (with an asterisk)
Color me impressed. Mostly. The Monoprice BT600ANC look great and sport tech you wouldn’t expect until you reached twice their US$100 price point. Sonically, they’re not on par with something like the US$400 Drop + THX Pandas (or the Sony WH-1000HM4, I would imagine, although I haven’t reviewed those particular cans myself). But for the price, you won’t be disappointed in the sound.
On the other hand, the Bluetooth connection issue I encountered can’t be ignored. Currently, I have to advise you to wait until Monoprice has addressed it before purchasing the BT600ANC.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Vivo X60 Pro (2021) smartphone review: A capable photographer’s companion
- 2 MSI Summit E15 (2021) review: A productivity workhorse with a gaming pedigree
- 3 Oppo Find X3 Pro review: An all around performer with a touch of class
- 4 MSI GS66 Stealth (2021) review: A gaming powerhouse with 300Hz display
- 5 Jackery Explorer 1000 Portable Power Station review: Good for venturing off the grid
- You can now get a Touch ID Magic Keyboard for your M1 Mac
- Ryzen 7 5700G review: AMD's answer to the GPU shortage has arrived
- 10 iPhone tips and tricks that will save you time (and maybe your life)
- How to remote-access a Windows 10 PC
- iPhone 12: Buy now or wait?
PCW Evaluation Team
Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.
This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.
It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.
As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.
The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.
This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.
- Under-screen camera smartphones enter second-generation
- 100 Great PC Games You Should Play Before You Die
- Cyberpunk RPG The Ascent to get DLSS fix for Game Pass
- Everything you need to know about Smart TVs
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?