To test the Mixcder MS301 I used it over a two-week period, listening to a wide range of music, as well as watching videos. The bulk of my listening was done with the MS301 connected to an ASUS ZenFone 4 vis BlueTooth. I did also use the headphone connected via a 3.5mm jack, though that was more to verify that the feature works as the MS301 is very much intended to be a wireless device.
Comfort and build quality
Right off the bat, I must say the MS301 is impressively comfortable. The ear cushions are simply lovely, with very soft padding that is still thick enough to prevent any contact between my ears and the driver itself. The MS301 is circumaural in design, or over-ear, so that may not be for everyone but it is definitely my preference.
The headband also does a good job. I did notice a slight pressure-point right in the middle of my skull, where the middle of the headband sits, but that only occurred after listening for a couple of hours straight. Even then, the issue was far from major and I could still carry on wearing the MS301 – the headphone just became more noticeable after a couple hours of use.
Build quality is also excellent, particularly for a wireless device at this price. The metal ear cups, as well as headband slider and ear cup hinge, are very robust despite being rotatable and fold-able. Being metal, you also have some peace of mind that the hinge and cups aren’t going to break easily, as has happened to me personally with a cheaper, plastic headset.
Sound is obviously very important for a wireless headphone, and overall the MS301 proves itself to be competent if not mind-blowing at this price.
Starting off with the bass, this is definitely the most noticeable thing about the MS301 – put the headphone on and you will immediately notice there is quite a strong presence in the low-end. This will instinctively appeal to those who like a lot of bass, particularly those who are not too fussy when it comes to audio. For me, however, I do think the bass is quite loose and bleeds over into the mid-range, giving speech and vocals a slightly muddy texture.
Now, the bass doesn’t completely obscure the mid-range, but mids do sound a touch veiled and distant. It’s not awful, and certainly for the money I’ve heard much worse from other headsets, so I can’t complain too much.
Moving on, the MS301 does display a fair amount of detail in the treble which gives it a slightly v-shaped sound. It isn’t sibilant or fatiguing at all, but high notes sound reasonably clear and accurate which gives a good lift to the overall sound, something which definitely helps given the mids are just slightly lacking.
On the whole, the sound is certainly decent. I’m obviously being relatively critical as I like to consider myself an audio buff – my current headphone is the £430 Sennheiser HD 660 S, so comparing the two is a bit of a no-contest.
However, we have to remember the Mixcder MS301 is not meant to be an audiophile-grade headphone – not even close. It is meant to appeal to the mass-market who want a fun, listenable sound on the way to work or college without the faff of any wires. For that market, I think the MS301 will do the job perfectly.
Mic and battery life
Given Mixcder integrated a mic to allow users to take and make calls using the MS301, it is only fair we touch on this as well. Overall, the mic quality is actually pretty similar to a decent phone – it is not anything spectacular, but there is easily enough clarity to conduct phone calls without a problem, so I can’t complain really. It is just a simple feature designed to make your life a bit easier by not having to take the headphone off every time you get a call.
Lastly, battery life. Mixcder advertise a 20-hour playback time when using the MS301, and overall I’d say this probably is about right. Over my two-week period, I used the MS301 varying amounts each day, but I estimate I listened for an average of 1.5 hours per day. With that in mind, I ended up having to recharge the device just before the end of my two-week testing period, so roughly after 18-19 hours of use. I’d say that’s a very good result for a headphone of this price – a casual user (listening for about two hours a day) will easily get over a week of battery life which is not to be sniffed at.