SuperEQ S1 Review Budget ANC Headphones With Bluetooth Multipoint

A nice pair of good sounding over-ear headphones with ANC that won't break the bank! The S1 headphones are SuperEQ's latest headphones in their line up, featuring hybrid ANC so, you get two ANC microphones (feedforward and feedback) for cancelling outside noises, as well as letting external sounds into the earcups (via the ambient mode). 


The SuperEQ S1 earcups are equipped with a 3.5mm audio port, a micro USB charging port and four on-board plastic buttons with a loud and clicky actuation for adjusting volume, skipping tracks, ANC/Ambient modes and calls when connected to a phone (or computer) via bluetooth. The buttons do not work in wired mode.

The SuperEQ S1 earcups are thickly padded with firm memory foam PU leather earpads, which feel nice and provide better passive noise reduction than the older model - the S2 headphones. The newer S1 headphones are better when it comes to isolating the ears from external sounds, while minimizing sound leaking out of the earcups. The earpads are covered entirely with PU leather (including the inner hole) so, there is very little ventilation, which means the earpads warm up and make the ears sweaty after a while.

The S1 earpads inner hole is oval shaped and measures 4.5cm wide, 5cm high and 1.5cm deep. The drivers are covered with a thin layer of spandex fabric and the top of the drivers isn't entirely flat. It has a bit of hard plastic sticking out of it, which can cause large ears to rub against it. Speaking of drivers, the SuperEQ S1 headphones are equipped with the same hardware: 40mm/32 ohm drivers (with 98dB) as its predecessor - the SuperEQ S2 model. The main difference between the two are the earpad style. The S2 headphones are on-ear, while the S1 headphones are over-ear, which creates a better bass response, audio immersion and ANC performance. ANC and ambient modes work in wired mode too.

The battery life (at 50% volume) is twice as long for S1 headphones too - about 38 hours when listening to audio with ANC turned on. When listening to audio with ANC turned off, you can get 42 hours of battery life. You can also keep the ANC turned on without listening to any audio (battery life is about 50 hours). The SuperEQ S1 headphones charging time is 2 hours (same as S2 headphones). You cannot use the SuperEQ S1 headphones (bluetooth or wired) while charging and, there is no quick charge support.

The S1 headphones Bluetooth 5.0 chip supports absolute bluetooth volume and multipoint connection for two devices so, you can connect the SuperEQ S1 headphones to a computer and phone at the same time. The SuperEQ S1 bluetooth chip supports SBC and AAC codecs. There is no aptX support and the bluetooth status led blinks white every few seconds.

There are voice alerts built-in to the S1 headphones when powering on/off the headphones and when maxing out the volume to 100%. You will also hear a voice prompt when toggling between ANC mode and ambient mode. There is no option for turning off both so, you are forced to having to choose between noise cancellation or ambient sound. To turn off ANC mode, you have to turn on ambient mode and vice versa.

Having the option to turn off ANC and Ambient sound would have been great because ANC makes the bass more boomy, while Ambient mode lets external sounds into the earcups, which is okay for situational awareness but not ideal when listening to audio. The sensitivity of the Ambient mode is okay for general awareness but it is as bit on the low end for holding conversations with people. As far as microphone quality, the noise cancellation is surprisingly good. You can take calls in very noisy environments without sounding muffled or drowned out by the noise.

The S1 headphones deliver a lively dynamic bass sound, which is boomy when ANC is turned on, and prominent throughout. Vocals and instruments are slightly recessed but they do not get muddled by the bass. The S1 headphones have a plastic construction with a metal folding hinge which has a silent operation (no creaks or squeaks). The hinge allows the headband yoke to retract inward and keep the earcups tucked in on top of each other. The earcups also feature a chrome accent ring and SuperEQ banding printed in white font. The earpads are not replaceable.

The S1 headphones have a 2.5cm wide headband with a metal reinforced plastic ratchet slider band. The padding underneath the headband consists of thin layer of silicone rubber (there is actually no foam padding but the silicone is springy so, it provides some cushioning. The SuperEQ S1 headphones are lightweight (weigh 282 grams) so, they don't create too much pressure on top of the head. The headband has a medium clamping force - not too tight.

Being a newer model, it is strange that the SuperEQ S1 headphones has been made with micro USB charging since the older S2 headphones ship with USB-C charging. Micro USB charging can be a potential deal breaker since a lot of people are already used to USB-C cables. While a micro USB cable has been included in the box, it is very short. A longer micro USB cable (at least 1 meter) would have worked out better. Performance-wise, there is very little difference between micro USB and USB-C but most budget headphones in this category feature USB-C charging, which is more convenient to use due to being reversible.

A couple other drawbacks for the SuperEQ S1 headphones are the earcups, which do not swivel around so, you cannot rotate the earcups flat when carrying them on the chest. The SuperEQ S1 headphones don't have a standard headband yoke. Instead, it uses a centre pivot that allows the earcups to turn around on their axis, letting you tilt the earcups up/down up to 10 degrees. The tilt range has a short travel but should provide enough flexibility for most people. Also, you cannot use the S1 headphones when the battery is flat, which is a big drawback particularly when you cannot use them whilst charging.

Aside from the micro USB cable, you also get an audio cable (1.2 meters/16 grams), an airplane adapter and a thick PU leather drawstring pouch. You can buy the SuperEQ S1 headphones from amazon (they're also available in white). Check out the review of the SuperEQ Q2 Pro earbuds, 

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