Panasonic RP-HXD5C Review
Minimalistic in design, these on-ears isolate surprisingly well.
There's no shortage of entry-level headphones on the market, but there is a dearth of gems out there. The Panasonic RP-HXD5C may not make you forget your high-end studio cans at home, but they do fine in a pinch. Despite the inherent difficulties of the on-ear design, these cans isolate sound well—a big check in the "pro" column for mobile buyers.
Design & Features
Low cost has its price.
If there's one word to summarize the RP-HXD5C's design, it's "uncomplicated." For all its faults, there really isn't much to harp on—the design isn't obnoxious, the features are basic, and there isn't much that can go wrong with them.
However, that's not to say that there aren't faults or shortcomings: Their plastic construction leaves them very susceptible to breakage, and their cables cannot be replaced if they're snapped. It's an entry-level set of headphones, so none of this should surprise you.
If you are looking for a headset for a mobile phone, these are a serviceable option. Punctuated by a remote with volume buttons and a microphone, you can answer calls without ditching your cans—and avoid that strange hold-the-phone-to-your-mouth maneuver you see on the street.
Robot approved, Reviewer... begrudgingly accepted.
One of the most startling things I found with these headphones is that they'd be fantastic if our ears worked more like microphones. Because our ears are much more complicated than that, we don't hear the same thing that our robot does.
For starters, high notes like the last octave of a piano can sound a tad quieter than the rest of your music, but it's not quite enough to ruin the audio for most. It won't satisfy the most demanding audiophiles, but the sound could be worse.
I would like to point out that the distortion can get quite high if you blast the volume, so there's added incentive to control your listening habits. Not only could you damage your hearing, but it will sound bad—fight the temptation to max out your levels!
Notably good isolators for on-ears
Where these on-ears shine is isolation. If you've listened to music on the subway or on the street, you know that outside noise can basically ruin your experience because of a pesky thing called auditory masking (when one sound prevents you from hearing others). Because the RP-HXD5C blocks out high-end noise well, your music should be easier to hear than it would on, say, Apple Earpods.
This makes these headphones a decent option to pair with a smartphone—they can go outside, work with your mobile for calls, and lessen some of the annoyances of doing so. However, because they have somewhat low durability, take special care not to abuse these too much.
Because the RP-HXD5Cs are very light, comfort really isn't an issue unless you're one of the many people who find anything touching your ears to be a hellishly annoying experience. The soft foam doesn't put too much pressure on your head, and is fairly unobtrusive in the long run. Sweat does have a tendency to build up over time, however, so be wary of this potential snag.
They may not be all that durable, but picking the Panasonic RP-HXD5C is hardly a bad decision. As far as on-ears go, we've seen worse at the bargain price point ($89.99). However, unless the isolation is important to you, it may be difficult to justify the price tag for many.
No set of headphones is perfect, and many buy for the convenience—the RP-HXD5C works fine as a smartphone headset that allows you to listen to music, so that may be enough for the entry-level buyer. Just be aware that these aren't very durable headphones, so some may elect to shell out a little bit extra to protect their investment.
So if you're looking to save a bit of money, and you're set on the on-ear design, the RP-HXD5C may be a name you look for when you're at the store. They're not going to dazzle and wow you with stellar audio quality, but they fit their role well.
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