A solid entry point to active noise-cancelling headphones but the upgrade from the original BNX-100 is negligible
- Stylish design
- Sturdy case and good range of accessories
- ANC affects sound quality
- Mediocre battery life
Lindy’s original BNX-100 were among our favourite over-ear, noise-cancelling headphones of 2019 and the upgraded BNX-100XT remain a solid choice if you’re after ANC and don’t want to spend big.
They’re a direct replacement for their predecessors, which have now been discontinued, and not much has changed. If you already own the BNX-100 you’ll miss out on very little by not upgrading; if, on the other hand, you’re new to the world of noise-cancelling cans, the BNX-100XT are a good place to start.
Lindy BNX-100XT review: What do you get for the money?
For the reasonable price of £100, you’ll be getting a pair of wireless, noise-cancelling headphones that operate over Bluetooth 5 and support the aptX and aptX Low Latency codecs in addition to AAC and SBC.
Included in the price are a durable hard-shell carrying case along with a 3.5mm to 3.5mm audio cable, USB-C charging cable, aeroplane plug adapter and a 6.3mm stereo-plug adapter. All of that came with the original BNX-100, too, so there’s nothing new in the way of accessories but it remains a decent offering nonetheless.
All of the core features present in the original BNX-100 are still here, too, including auto-pause/resume when you take the headphones off your head and put them back on, an audio passthrough mode which drops your volume to let you better hear your surroundings, and an integrated microphone for phone calls.
Battery life has seen a minor boost, with the BNX-100XT lasting up to 15 hours with both Bluetooth and ANC turned on, up from the 12 hours offered by the BNX-100. A longer-lasting battery is obviously welcome but the headphones still fall short of similarly-priced competitors. The Philips PH805, which are typically available for around £130, offer up to 25 hours, while the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 deliver a whopping 40 hours of playback at moderate volume and cost just £80.
Lindy BNX-100XT review: What’s new?
So far, you’ll have noticed a theme. The BNX-100XT aren’t significantly different from their predecessors. There are a few smaller things that set them apart, though.
The XT are charged via USB-C rather than microUSB, bringing them into line with modern standards and they’re now entirely black, as opposed to having silver sections connecting the earcups to the headband. The switch to USB-C charging is a very welcome one, while whether you approve of slight the design tweak will come down to personal taste. I prefer the original but both pairs of headphones have a simple, stylish aesthetic.
You can now connect the BNX-100XT to two devices simultaneously, which is a feature I always welcome as it lets me switch quickly between audio on my laptop and phone. It isn’t a killer feature but it’s a meaningful addition.
Lindy also says sound quality has been enhanced but without the previous version to compare the BNX-100XT with, I can’t comment on how much of an improvement has been made. You can, however, read my thoughts on the BNX-100XT’s overall sound quality in the section below.
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Lindy BNX-100XT review: What do they do well?
Lindy hasn’t changed the BNX-100’s earcup controls and these remain extremely simple to use. There are physical volume up and down buttons located either side of a power button on the right earcup, while ANC and passthrough buttons are located on the left cup.
The ANC works effectively given the price. Unsurprisingly, you don’t get any granular control over the noise-cancellation level, it’s either on or off, but I found it reasonably effective at reducing the low-end rumble of the Tube and passing traffic. It’s not quite so hot at cutting out higher frequency sound, as is the case with most ANC headphones, but overall you’re getting decent noise reduction capabilities for the money.
I also like that you can make use of the ANC while the headphones aren’t connected via Bluetooth. Sometimes all you want is some peace and quiet on your commute and this way you can get it while saving a bit of battery in the process.
For a pair of £100 headphones, the BNX-100XT deliver engaging, enjoyable audio. The sound signature is lively and in terms of their communication of mids and treble, the BNX-100XT match the impressive standard set by our favourite mid-range, over-ear ANC headphones, the Philips PH805.
There’s a large caveat, though: audio sounds very different when you’ve got ANC active. Without it on, the BNX-100XT deliver an impactful, if a little muddy, bass response along with crisply articulated mids and treble. The soundstage isn’t especially wide, but you get a good sense of the positioning of various instruments in an arrangement.
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When you engage ANC, the low-end reproduction takes a significant hit, which leaves tracks from bass-heavy genres feeling rather empty. With less low-end, the impressively detailed mids and treble are brought to the fore, which works well for vocal-dominated ditties but, at higher volumes, I found the piercing treble a little too harsh.
In short, I preferred the sound on offer when ANC wasn’t engaged, which is a bit of an issue considering noise-cancellation is one of the BNX-100XT’s big draws. If you’re not bass-obsessed, however, you should get on well with the audio in both modes.
Lindy BNX-100XT review: What could they do better?
Creating parity between how the headphones sound with ANC on and off aside, the Lindy BNX-100XT could also do with being a little more comfortable. It was something that Chris brought up in his review of the original BNX-100 and remains a bit of an issue this time around. Despite the protein leather earcup cushions being nice and soft, I found they began to pinch my ears a little during longer listening sessions owing to their circular design.
The BNX-100XT also lack voice assistant support. This isn’t something I find myself using all that often when listening to music and podcasts but the ability to hail your voice assistant at the touch of a button wouldn’t go amiss.
Lindy BNX-100XT review: Should you buy them?
If you already own the Lindy BNX-100, you can comfortably skip this new version. They don’t add anything that I would describe as essential to the package and any improvement in audio quality is unlikely to justify the £100 outlay.
However, if you’re new to the field of active noise-cancelling headphones and want a pair that look great, deliver decent audio and do a solid job of reducing external noise, there aren’t many better options for the money.