The Level Over is very large pair of headphones with sound quality that should be better at this price
Headphones subtype: On-ear, Plug type: 3.5mm jack plug, Weight: 350g, Cable length: 1.2m
Active noise cancelling headphones are a popular choice for commuters, especially frequent-fliers, as they can block ambient noise. The Samsung Level Over headphones is one such pair, and it aims to compete in a part of the headphone market that’s dominated by Bose and Beats.
At first look, the Samsung Level Over is a good-looking pair of headphones, especially in the white and tan combination. The well-padded headband is made with polyutherane cushioning that is extremely comfortable. However, its shortcoming is its sheer size. The Level Over is very large, bordering on goofy-looking, when worn on your head. The headphones are circumaural, which means that the cups envelop your ear to seal in your music and keep out external noise, especially when combined with the active noise cancelling.
The real problem, however, is less the circumference of the earcups and more how thick the earcups are in order to accommodate the 50mm dynamic driver units and neodymium magnets that produce the Level Over’s sound. That’s not to forget the other components for the noise cancelling and microphones.
The result is a pair of headphones that might look comically large on your head. When you’re not listening to music, it’s not unreasonable to want to wear your headphones around your neck but the sheer size of the Level Over makes them too restricting and makes you look like you’re wearing a neck brace, especially with the white model.
Interestingly, the right earcup has an integrated touchpad for controlling your music. Using gestures you’re able to control the volume, skip tracks and play/pause your music. The gestures work well and help make the design of the Level Over far cleaner than using integrated physical buttons. However, we found ourselves accidentally using the touchpad when putting on or taking off the headphones, which soon became annoying.
The battery life was impressive. We managed about 15 hours of playback time with the active noise cancelling turned on. We only needed to charge the headphones once at the end of the week after listening during our daily commute. You’ll get nearly twice as much battery life with it turned off.
The Level Over headphones are wireless and pair with your device over Bluetooth 3.0. Alternatively, you can pair your device via an NFC tag built in to one of the earcups. The Level Over’s also support the higher-quality aptX codec. A real boon is that the headphones are still usable once the battery is dead if you use the included 1.2m headphone cable, which has a built-in microphone and remote. Samsung even provide an airplane adaptor and a robust carrying case, so the Level Over is perfect for frequent fliers.
The active noise cancelling works reasonably well. It won’t block out all ambient sounds, but it does reduce repetitive noise such as the whirr of an air conditioning unit or the rumble of a tube train. This is due to the way active noise cancelling works. By analysing incoming sound waves, the level Over produces sound waves that cancel out the incoming sound. It’s worth noting that there’s a little electronic hissing noise when active noise cancelling is in use. Should you not want to use the feature, there’s a button on the right earcup that turns it off.
The overall sound quality of the Level Over was respectable, producing a pretty flat sound. On occasion the treble had a tendency to sound a little sharp, but there was reasonable detail in the mid and treble frequency bands. We were a little underwhelmed with the lower frequencies, however, as the sound here was colder than we’d have liked.
Listening to Charles Bradley’s Dusty Blue the sound of the bass guitar throughout lacked presence and there was some missing crispness to the brass instruments and the beat of the drums. There’s a Samsung Level companion app available on Android, but its device support is limited, although many of Samsung’s smartphones are supported. The app lets you adjust EQ settings so that it’s possible to increase the bass, for example. The sound quality from the Level Over is by no means bad, but we better from headphones at this price and the Level Over left us feeling a little disappointed.
Apart from the size of the Level Over, there isn’t a lot to dislike. The exterior plastic of the earcups does feel a little cheap but the earpads and headband make up for it. Sound quality is also respectable. The Beats Studio is similarly priced but lacks wireless Bluetooth connectivity and we found the Beats’ active noise-cancelling too aggressive. Sound quality from the Samsung Level Over was also superior to the Beats. If you want a pair of fashionable active noise-cancelling headphones, then the Samsung Level Over is a good choice.
|Power source||Li-ion battery|
|Headphones sensitivity||Not disclosed|
|Frequency response||Not disclosed|
|Headphones impedence||41 ohms|
|Plug type||3.5mm jack plug|
|Accessories||Carrying case, cable with microphone and remote, airplane plug adaptor, Micro USB charging cable|