At first I was sceptical because this pair of headphones called the Level Over is made by Samsung who are working very hard to make a name for themselves in the audio market.
At CES 2015 we will see a lot of new audio products from the likes of Samsung, LG, Panasonic and Sony and I am tipping that these brands who are desperate to break into new markets due to the decline in demand for smartphones, tablets and TV's will be highly competitive as sound moves to a new level due to the advancement of wireless technology and high res audio.
There was no fanfare for this headphones, in fact I did not even get a press release.
After seeing them in JB Hi Fi I called Samsung to get a review pair because they looked and sounded high quality but more importantly they were different, for example the only buttons you'll find on the Level Over are for power and Bluetooth/noise cancelling.
Everything else is simple touch commands including an auto-off function which kills the active noise cancelling (ANC), the Bluetooth chip is also put to sleep if these headphones go unused for any period of time.
The big benefit is that this feature reduces drain on the battery which has a life of between 15 and 20 hours which is enough for a flight to LA from Sydney. I will confirm this later this week when I fly to Las Vegas for CES 2015.
I know of no other headphones that do this.
Being sceptical about Samsung and their ability to deliver a pair of high quality full-size over-ear headphone as I was about Samsung and top end digital SLR cameras I was half expecting an average pair of cans.
I was wrong, these headphones are smart, slick and seriously ahead of some serious headphone manufacturer's products. What you will have to get use to is having a pair of cans on your head that say Samsung instead of Beats or Sennheiser.
The Level Over headphones are surprisingly light especially considering their size and feature set however I am mystified by the name.
Management of content is via some very slick touch and swipe-control features that are built into the side of headphones, features such as volume up and down or the management of tracks can all be done with the swipe of a finger.
On the head these headphones that have leather cushions similar to the Sennheiser Momentum's feel really comfortable, the swipe functions takes a short while to get use to however for an airline flight you are going to have to plug in a cable which unfortunately disables the swipe functions.
Also, the inline microphone's controls for volume up and down will not work with an iOS device - only the play/pause button (which also answers and terminates calls) works.
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The Level Over headphones come in a box that is a tad big, I would have liked a smaller box and a pair of headphones that easily fold similar to the new Samsung Urbanite headphones.
Having said this the box is sturdy and can be easily packed away, it also comes with a pouch for the cables that Velcro's onto the inside of the headphone box, this is really neat and useful.
So how do these beasts stack up sound wise?
The Level Overs support Bluetooth and apt for high quality wireless playback and work in conjunction with the 'Samsung Level' Android app which aids quick pairing as well as offering some very functional 'Sound Alive' EQ settings.
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The app allows you to design your preferred soundscape by selecting a plot on a 25-square grid with treble/bass top and bottom and instrument/vocal left and right. Tapping each square on the grid instantly changes your sound settings so you're able to tune the headphones into your preferred range without much drama.
I have been using these headphones during the Christmas break, they deliver good sound quality overall, clarity and base is good, what I am not sure about is how much is being controlled by the Samsung drivers.
These headphones that are superior to Beats headphones performed well with both rock and roll. Pop and classical, they also delivered clear clarity when listening to jazz music.
The more I listened the more I could hear the 50mm drivers kicking in to manage the audio output. By download the Samsung Level app you gain more control at your fingertips you can switch on 3D, Bass and Clarity and easily manage the audio output.
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The seven band EQ which is part of the advanced feature allows you to boost a little of the mid, shift the bass a touch while managing the high-end output. This EQ adjustment is exclusive to the Android app which can be downloaded for both smartphone and tablet use.
Engadget said of these headphones, "What you won't get with these headphones is skull-thumping bass or overly-hyped treble. What you do get is smooth sound, top to bottom. We were also pretty pleased with the Level Over's ability to express dynamics and detail. Stereo effects are pulled off well, too. The whole presentation is somewhat laid back, but not at the expense of clarity. You'll even get a few surprises in the form of well-exposed transients and quick, transparent upper midrange.
You don't get skull-thumping bass or overly-hyped treble, but you do get smooth sound, top to bottom".
We have to agree with this assessment.
When it came to Bluetooth we got a minimum of 19 metres which is okay.
The recommended retail price is $429, they are available in Black or White.
I would love these headphones to fold so that they can be packed conveniently into a travel bag. It's also a pity that key touch features are disabled when a cable is attached for example on a long flight when one has to plug the headphones into the on-board entertainment system.