Walter Shillington writes about products he is familiar with. His articles focus on healthcare, electronics, watches and household items.
A few months back, I reviewed iTeknic’s IK-BH002 ANC headphone. It was a well-built device, making use of recent advances in both Bluetooth and battery technology. I particularly liked the active noise canceling feature and always carry this headset when traveling by air.
Iteknic has recently introduced a new device of this type, designating it the IK-BH005. Over the following article, I will compare the two headsets, explaining the changes and examining the benefits—if any—of purchasing the new device rather than the old.
The iTeknic IK-BH005 weighs in at 291 grams and, due to the inclusion of ear cushions designed to cover the entire ear, makes use of passive noise resistance. When the headphone’s carrying case and accessories are included, total weight works out to 504 grams.
Its speaker cups can swivel up to 90 degrees and pivot slightly to provide a comfortable fit and allow compact storage. Both right and left arms adjust to conform to the size of the wearer’s head.
The right speaker cup is equipped with a volume control, an on/off/pairing button, microphone, 3.5-millimeter input, and a switch which activates active noise canceling. There are also LEDs used to signal a Bluetooth connection and confirm that ANC is activated. A mini USB input, fitted to the left speaker cup, is used when charging the device.
The microphone is of the cVc 6 (clear Voice capture) variety. Noise reduction algorithms reduce ambient sound and enhance the voice of the caller.
This headset is equipped with a 500mAH lithium rechargeable battery. According to the manufacturer, operating time ranges between 20 hours when communicating via a smartphone, and 30 hours while listening to music. The battery can be fully charged within 45 minutes via a USB connection.
The kit includes a headset, a 3.5-millimeter auxiliary cable, airplane adaptor, charging cable, guide, and a padded carrying case.
Type: Over the ear
Country of origin: China
Operation Range: 10m (33ft)
Noise reduction depth: -32dB
Weight: 291 grams (10.27 ounces)
Color: Black with silver backplate
Battery: 500mAh lithium rechargeable
Battery life: 20 – 30 hours
Charging Voltage: DC 5V ±0.25V
Charging time: Approximately 45 minutes
Speakers: 45-millimeter drivers
Microphone: CVC 6
Connection: Bluetooth 5.0 or direct using a 3.5-millimeter auxiliary cable
Noise suppression: Active noise canceling
Shell Material: Alloy
Earpad Material: Protein
Accessories: Auxiliary cable, airplane adaptor, charging cable, guide, and carrying case
Iteknic is trademarked by Shenzhen NearbyExpress Technology Development Company Limited which is a division of the Sunvalley Group.
Sunvalley was founded in 2007 and is the brand owner of RAVPower, VAVA, TaoTronics, Anjou, Sable, and HooToo. This company is headquartered in Shenzhen, China, and has subsidiaries located in San Francisco, Tokyo, Singapore, and Hamburg.
This headset is Bluetooth 5.0 capable but compatible with earlier versions. It paired with both my computer and MP3 player quickly and without complications. Due to the inclusion of a microphone, the headset can also be used with a smartphone.
The theoretical maximum distance for Bluetooth 5.0 is 240 meters (800 feet). During my tests, however, both my computer and MP3 player were equipped with Bluetooth 4.1 transmitters which, unfortunately, have a much lesser range.
While listening to music transmitted from my computer, the reception of devices of this type generally began to cut in an out as I wander into the kitchen. This is because the signal is obstructed by two outside walls and heavy appliances such as my fridge and stove. Happily, the IK-BH005 proved to be the exception.
Reception did degrade as I entered the front porch which is situated at the far end of the building and, again, separated by a main wall. This distance corresponds with the device’s rated range of 33 feet.
There are two types of noise canceling systems utilized in conjunction with headsets. Passive noise reduction involves the use of materials in the ear cushions that deaden outside sounds. This technique is useful; however, the most effective packing materials are very dense, adding extra weight to the device.
The iTeknic IK-BH005 also makes use of Hybrid Active Noise Canceling. When activated, the headset’s microphones monitor outside noises. Then the IK-BH005 creates sound waves that mimic the incoming noise in every respect except one: the headphone’s output is 180 degrees out of phase with the intruding waves.
Normally the microphone monitor is placed either outside the earcup (feedforward ANC) or inside the earcup (feedback ANC). Iteknic utilizes a hybrid system which includes both types of active noise cancelation. This incorporates the benefits of each method while minimizing their disadvantages.
It works great for air flow, fans, and engine noise because these sounds are constant. If the intrusion is sudden or varying, however, compensation will not prove adequate. When I activated the IK-BH005’s ANC system, it negated the sound of my fridge’s compressor as well as that of my furnace’s blower, the robotic vacuum, and the air conditioner in my office. When I ran my dryer, I could not hear the motor, but there was a faint clicking as wet clothing bounced against the inside of the appliance. In this instance, the device’s passive noise reduction also proved useful. Please note that active noise canceling systems are ineffective at muffling human voice. If your husband is singing boisterously in the shower, the IK-BH005 can offer only passive noise reduction. Sadly, it will not be enough.
I wore the headset while playing games, listening to music, and watching Netflix. It can also be paired with a Bluetooth-capable smartphone.
Sound quality proved excellent, and I was especially impressed by the bass response and clarity. The older headset also exhibited good frequency response but was not quite so crisp and clear.
While I prefer earbuds because of their light weight, both headsets from iTeknic could be worn for long periods without discomfort. The IK-BH005 is fitted with thicker protein earpads than the older model. These covered my earlobes more completely and provided additional comfort.
During a three-day test period, with the volume level set to 69%, this headset performed well for over 29 hours before requiring a recharge. This represents excellent battery life.
The IK-BH005’s active noise canceling system is the most effective I have tested and, because the foam cushions fully covered my ears, passive noise reduction is also good.
Fit and finish are excellent. I found no problems related to quality control.