Originally published 5/17/22.
- 6/7/22. Article revisit.
Big thank you to EKSA for sending the H1 to review!
Full disclosure: This is a paid review but I made it clear to them that I do not guarantee positive reviews or recommendations – I make in-depth, honest evaluations based on my impressions and the ultimate value that the product may or may not provide.
Greetings mate and Welcome aboard. Stuart Charles here, HomeStudioBasics.com helping YOU make sound decisions leading to a beautiful audio experience that will make you fall in love with music (NOT gear) all over again, so…
At A Glance
In The Box
EKSA H1 Environmental Noise Cancelling Wireless Headset
- Price: Check Amazon! | Check EKSA! | Check AliExpress!
- Driver Diameter: 40mm
- Frequency Response: 20 Hz ~ 20 kHz
- Impedance: 32 Ω ± 15%
- Sensitivity: 114 dB ± 3 dB
- Microphone Sensitivity: -25 ± 1 dB
- Form Factor: Over-Ear (Circumaural)
- Microphone Frequency: 100 Hz ~ 10 KHz
- Microphone Orientation: Omnidirectional
- Wireless Range: (Advertised) Up to 99 feet. Without obstacles, 164 ft.
- Noise Canceling: Yes, Environmental Noise Cancellation-ENC
- Talk Time/Battery Life: Up to 30 hours
- Music Time: Up to 57 hours
- Rotating: Yes. 270 degrees
- Charge Time: 1.5 hours
- Weight: 0.38 Kilograms
- Foldable: No
- 3.5mm Auxiliary: No
EKSA reached out to me asking if I would be interested in demoing a Bluetooth headset for people on the go and immediately thought of my friend Kat.
Well, Kat told me recently that she wants to get her trucker license and this headset is marketed toward “Truckers and Drivers.”
What are the odds?!
In any event, it seemed like an interesting piece of kit and I was curious to find out if the quality of the product itself was any good.
Plus Kat is really excited about it as well.
In addition to being geared towards truckers, this noise-canceling Bluetooth headset was also designed for call centers, construction sites, and warehouses but isn’t limited to those things.
In fact, anyone and everyone could theoretically have a use for these if they make calls to other people but don’t like holding a phone up to their mouth.
You do make calls, don’t you?!
Sure you do. Everyone does.
With that, let’s get into some specifics and learn more about the EKSA H1.
By the end of this review, you’ll know everything about this product and will be better equipped to determine if it’s right for you.
To put it bluntly, the build here is “alright.” It’s not going to wow you in any way and being a guy who reviews a lot of headphones, I wasn’t all that impressed.
In other words, it feels mostly as its price would indicate – cheap and plasticky.
Despite the overall underwhelming appearance and less than stellar quality in your hands, I did appreciate a couple of things:
- There’s a piece of metal that runs through the adjustment.
- The mic itself can actually rotate around.
In other words, EKSA designed it in such a way that you can wear it on your right ear or left and still be able to talk through the microphone.
Remember that this product is made for people who still need to hear what’s going on around them, hence the lack of a second earcup.
Rounding out the build are a couple more things I like: The cup rotates nicely east to west but can also be moved north to south.
It’s also a cross between shallow and deep and feels about right – enveloping your ear quite nicely and feeling much more comfortable than I envisioned.
I have larger-than-average ears and haven’t had an issue getting mine in there. Fits like a glove actually.
It’s obvious that EKSA took the time to consider how malleable and flexible these needed to be considering they would probably be used and abused quite a bit.
My one concern is the rotation from east to west.
Given my extensive experience with over 115 headphones at this time of this review, that hinge at the point of rotation may end up snapping on you over time, but I can’t really say one way or another yet.
It’s just something to keep in mind before purchase.
How do they feel on your head?
As much as I critiqued some other aspects of the H1, comfort is actually really good here and you can even detach the cup itself for cleaning purposes.
Because it’s so light, you won’t feel it much on your head and they’ve yet to dig at all. The cup itself is large enough, and the clamping force is about medium.
The problem with this is that they may fall off your head and do feel a bit “slidey” for lack of a better term.
Fortunately, this may not present itself as an issue because what do truckers and people in call centers do all day?
If we’re being honest, they mostly stay in one place.
Still, it’s something to keep in mind and in reading other Amazon reviews, the issue is quite apparent.
You may be wondering about the other side.
In place of a second earcup is a small piece of rubber that you will feel on the side of your head but may not be bothered by.
I suppose it depends on your head shape.
I have a large, oval/egg-shaped head with an exaggerated, elongated distance from north to south, and it’s one thing that makes this headset feel a bit undersized.
For instance, if you have a really small head these will likely be perfect for you.
In the case of my oversized melon, I have to pull the adjustment all the way out to get it on my head. You may or may not have any issues with this, but I would have liked a little more wiggle room here.
With that, let’s get into some technical aspects before we dive into how it sounds.
Fortunately, it’s a pretty straightforward setup with your device.
First, power on the headset by holding the oval-shaped button in the middle. Then go into your phone’s Bluetooth settings and hit “Search.”
The unit should come up as “EKSA-H1.” Press it and you’ll hear a voice confirming the pairing. Mine is a female voice that says “Power On. Your headset is connected.”
One thing I really appreciate here is the quick no-nonsense connection and EKSA offers the option of pairing with 2 devices at the same time as well.
Because I’ve demoed a lot of Bluetooth products, I have had issues with finicky connections, weird dropouts, and temperamental devices.
Not so with the H1.
It’s quick and easy and you’d expect nothing less given these are built for serious all-day work.
What’s the range like? Does it match the advertised numbers?
Well, not quite.
I tested this out in my apartment complex parking lot which stretches a few hundred feet.
What I found is that the signal is crystal clear with no dropouts up to 55 feet (55 normal walking steps).
After that, it begins to cut out and is almost indecipherable at about 75 feet which is well below the advertised 99.
Furthermore, EKSA claims 164 feet with no obstructions and I didn’t have any. I placed the phone down on the ground and just walked in a straight line away from the signal across the pavement.
Over the years I have found that companies tend to exaggerate their claims a bit and it’s no different here.
Will it matter all that much?
55 feet is plenty because you likely will never set your phone down somewhere that’s really far away.
Most people will either be in their car/truck, at the office, etc. where their device is very close by.
Still, I would have liked a bit more transparency here.
Battery life seems good, but there’s no real way to gauge this other than remembering what day you connected it with your phone.
My start time was 5/2/22 and I’ve been demoing it on and off up until the present day. The battery is still about 95% and seems to keep a charge fairly well.
I will update this as time moves on, but a lot of the reviews seem to really harp on how good the battery is.
Update: Battery Life seems to be very good. After 2+ weeks of on and off use, it’s still at around 97% or thereabouts.
Another aspect of these that I appreciate is their straightforward control scheme.
The headset houses 3 buttons: A large power on/mute button and 2 volume buttons on either side.
Let’s take a look at the functions:
- Turn On/Off: Press and hold for 3 seconds.
- 1x Click: Pause/Play
- 3x Triple Click: Voice Assistant/Siri
- 1 Click: Volume +/-
- 2 Second Hold: Skip Track/Go Back
Mic Mute Button
- 1x Click MIC on/off
- 1x Click: Answer/Hang Up
- Hold 2 Seconds: Reject
- Redial: Double click the middle button
- Audio Switching: Hold the middle button for 2 seconds to switch the audio device.
- 1x Click (middle button): Answer a new call and hang up the current call
- Double Click (middle button): Three-way call mode. During a 3-way call, 2x double click to switch between 2 calls
- Hold 2 seconds: Keep the current call and reject a new call
- After successfully connecting the headset to Device A (your phone), turn off the Bluetooth of device A. The headset Bluetooth indicator flashes red and blue alternately to enter the pairing state.
- Turn on device B, search for and connect to EKSA H1.
- Turn on The Bluetooth A device to connect with EKSA H1. After connection, the H1 and devices A and B are in a connected state simultaneously.
The LED lights up blue and red simultaneously for 1 second.
Under connected/pairing state, press “MFB” and the “volume” for 6 seconds simultaneously until the LED lights up in blue and red simultaneously for 1 second, indicating the pairing information is cleared.
When the battery is less than 10% the headset will voice prompt “battery low” every 3 minutes. Charge as soon as possible.
When the H1 is not in use, charge it at least 1 time every 2 months.
Use the original cable for charging. Voltage can’t exceed 5V.
By now you may be wondering how it sounds.
Sound and Noise Cancellation properties
For the first part of this demo, I used the H1 with music and I also called my friend Kat to see what she thought of the audio quality.
We’ll start with music.
I’ll be honest, these do not sound very good for music playback.
The sound is muddled, clammy, and about what you’d expect in a product like this. That said, is it probably passable for its target demographic?
I would say the odds are likely. The majority of people who use these strictly for calls probably won’t care much, but it has to be pointed out.
I would say music is something to consider last when purchasing a headset like this, so do be advised. Someone like a trucker who is traveling long distances may or may not care about the below-average sound quality.
As far as voice quality goes, Kat told me it’s decently clear but also that I was super LOUD at first.
This is likely due to the noise cancellation feature which she told me does work very well.
She wasn’t able to hear anything going on around me and I was sitting in a semi-noisy grocery store parking lot with the windows down.
For the second test, I called my mom and she said the volume was fine, my voice was very clear, and it filtered out noise well.
I then asked her if she could hear my fan, A/C, or the obnoxious neighbors stomping around above me. Negatory.
One issue I had, and someone else mentioned this in an Amazon Review, is that if your phone is disconnected from the headset the unit shuts itself off which is very annoying.
Sometimes the unit just inexplicably shuts off for no reason as well.
In other words, you’ll have to turn it back on and re-pair the phone to the headset which can get really irritating – especially if you’re a trucker in and out of your vehicle all day long.
This could explain why Battery life seems above average as well, but I’m not 100% on that.
My own impressions of the call quality
For my final test, I had my mom pair the H1 with her phone and call me to see what I personally thought about the voice quality through the attached microphone.
I can say without a doubt it’s excellent, and a lot better than I was expecting. Her voice was crystal clear with not a hint of grain or mud. Great work, EKSA!
In browsing some of the Amazon Q&A, someone asked if they worked with PS5 and another answered yes.
I can’t comment on PS5 specifically in my own experience, but as far as “working” with PS3 and PS4, the answer is “Sorta.”
By this I mean I was indeed able to connect the device via my settings inside the dashboard, but neither PS3 nor PS4 supports game audio through Bluetooth.
Furthermore, while the device connects inside the PS3, there’s no indication that the mic is actually picking up anything. In switching back to my Antlion Audio Mod Mic, my voice registers immediately. With the H1, it doesn’t.
Will this be a huge hit to the overall score?
Not really, seeing as how most people aren’t buying these for gaming.
I personally just thought I would test it out and see if it worked as I like to be as thorough as possible in my evaluations.
Here are some screenshots of my tests:
Final Thoughts And Impressions
I think EKSA has a decent product on its hands but it could stand to benefit from some much-needed improvements before I’d outright recommend them.
What I liked:
- Call clarity was excellent.
- They were a lot more comfortable than I was expecting.
- The carrying bag is plenty large enough.
- Metal for the headband was a nice added touch.
- They connect very quickly and are simple to use.
- Battery life seems to be excellent.
- They’re a lot more comfortable than I was expecting.
If I were to give some suggestions:
- Either make the Bluetooth range better or specify the correct numbers. The ones advertised were grossly over-exaggerated and I think companies need to be more honest in their assessment.
- I don’t expect too much from these in terms of music, but the quality was pretty abysmal and way worse than expected. I think that could be improved for those who appreciate better sound (i.e. everyone).
- I like the metal for the headband but would have liked to see a bit more real estate in terms of the adjustment. Big heads are going to have a bit of a challenge getting the right fit/seal, and they do tend to slide around a bit much on your head.
- The build is decent but they feel a tad plasticky for the current price. Shave $30-40 dollars off and I think it’s more in line with what you’re getting.
Fix those things and I think it’s worth a purchase!
Well, that’s about it for today folks! I hope you’ve enjoyed this EKSA H1 review and came away with some valuable insight.
Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!
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