headphones

MEElectronics Atlas Orion Headphones Review

Highly comfortable on-ears for listeners on the run

$309.75 at Amazon
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Plenty of shoppers need headphones to travel with, but not everyone enjoys wearing in-ear listening devices. If you need something to take on the go and you're trying to avoid earbuds, the MEElectronics Atlas Orion on-ear headphones (MSRP $79) are a decent bet, and they won't exhaust your piggy bank. I found this product online for under $50.

The Atlas doesn't deliver premium audio, mind you; these things pile on the bass, and you'll hear distorted notes if you listen at loud volumes. Still, on-ears this comfortable are pretty hard to come by, especially in this price bracket. If you're willing to compromise a bit on sound quality, you might find a friend in the Atlas Orions after all.

The Outfit

A gold star for comfort and portability

In terms of overall design, MEElectronics really nailed it here. The Atlas Orions collapse down into a very portable shape, and they're extremely lightweight as well. Thanks to a flat contour, the I-shaped cable resists tangles, and also packs a mic and remote for added convenience.

Normally, I can't stand wearing on-ear headphones, but these feel terrific—even after extended use.

The best part is the fit, though. Pop these on and relish the feel: The soft speaker pads sit lightly atop your ears, without extreme pressure from the lightweight headband. Normally, I can't stand wearing on-ear headphones, but these feel terrific—even after extended use.

MeElectronics-Atlas-Orion-entire.jpg
If you need good-looking, portable, comfortable on-ears, the Atlas Orions are a decent bet.

Many shoppers will love the aesthetic qualities, too. My model sports a cool-gray finish with grids of sleek blue lines that trace each speaker back, but MEElectronics has plenty of other versions to choose from: Black with blue accents, all-white with criss-crossed contours, and even a sea-foam green and white butterfly scheme. MEElectronics even outfitted each pair with scratch-resistant materials via a multi-layer printing process.

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The Audio

Trunk rattling

Don't buy these headphones if you don't love booming bass. The Atlas on-ears really emphasize that bumping low end, overshadowing more delicate notes in the midrange at times.

One can easily make out soft snare taps, shimmering chimes, and the like, but bass is so prominent that the profile as a whole sounds crowded.

The emphasis is not such that you're missing entire swaths of notes. One can easily make out soft snare taps, shimmering chimes, and the like, but bass is so prominent that the profile as a whole sounds crowded. High notes and most of the midrange receive plenty of emphasis, however, so things sound fairly detailed, if indelicate.

As to its more serious flaws, the Orion suffers audible distortion if you listen at louder volumes. If you crank up the tunes, unwanted noise will rise along with the volume. I also found that volume favors the right speaker quite a bit in the midrange, so that middle notes sound a bit louder in your right ear—the flaw isn't especially severe, but practiced ears will notice the trait.

Lastly, don't purchase the Atlas if your aim is to block outside noise.

Lastly, don't purchase the Atlas if you aspire to block outside noise. These barely hush any outside noise at all. I put the Atlas on in my office and it didn't make a difference—voices and clamor sounded almost exactly the same with or without the headphones on.

The Bottom Line

An average performer with an A+ fit

To put it simply, the MEElectronics Atlas Orion on-ear headphones (MSRP $79) won't wow anyone in terms of raw performance. While the overall balance retains ample detail across the audible spectrum, bass notes are so eminent that music doesn't sound as refined and intricate as it could. Moreover, the Orions suffer from audible distortion at higher volumes, and they're lousy isolators.

On the other hand, if you're a fan of club music or hip hop, these might be just the ticket. For those in search of ultra-comfortable on-ears that won't exhaust a billfold, take the Atlas for a test drive. Just be sure to browse the competition and weigh your options before going steady with this set.

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