Pros:Cheap, reduces noise, great battery life.
Cons:Surprisingly bulky, not comfortable in long-term.
The Bottom Line: If you want a low-cost set of headphones to cut out some background noise, these are pretty good. Don't expect miracles.
What? This nut uses noise-canceling headphones when he mows his lawn?
Recommend this product?
They aren't perfect. Obviously, the lawnmower wins the battle for my hearing, but they do cut down on a little bit of the mower noise, and they make the audio coming from my MP3 player hearable, which was not the case with the other non-noise-canceling headphones I've tried.
I bought them for pretty cheap through an on-line retailer on sale. At $20, it was a no-lose purchase. Even if they didn't do anything for the lawnmower, I figured they'd be OK for airplanes. I've used them on airplanes, and they do a pretty nice job of cutting down some of the background engine noise.
I'm still on my first set of batteries. I purchased the headphones last spring (2002), and used them almost every week for about 90 minutes. There have also been a few short trips on an airplane. Figure about 25-30 hours at least. I'm not sure how long Maxell estimates you can run on a single set of batteries, but I'm amazed that I've gone this long.
I am a little disappointed at the amount of space they take up. The headphones don't fold up, but they aren't advertised to do so, so that's not an issue. The control/power/NC unit is reasonably small, but it has a cable coming out of both ends. One is for the headphones, and one plugs into whatever you are listening to, and both have a flexible, but stiff strain-reliever attached to the unit. It makes it hard to stick in a pocket without feeling like you're going to bend the cables too far. If both had come out the same end, it would have made using and storing a lot simpler.
I also find that by the time I'm done mowing (call it 90 minutes), I've started getting a little pain on some of the hard ridges around my earholes (laugh, but you know what I mean). For me, however, the timing is OK, because they are completely useless when I'm using a gas-powered trimmer, so at that point, I have to take them off, anyway. But I wouldn't want to wear them on a cross-country flight.
And yes, I agree with a couple of the other reviewers about the hum. It's there when things are quiet, but if things are quiet, maybe you don't need NC headphones.
About my ratings in the categories:
Comfort: 3 because an hour is closest to the amount of time that I can wear them.
Portability: None of the descriptions of the ratings really applied to the way I use them, but based on the way I think the cabling is poorly designed, I went with a 3.
Sound: These aren't audiophile headphones, but they sure beat AM radio!
Durability: I thought about a 5 because I can shove them in my pocket and mow the lawn, but I went back to the cabling and how it seems like I might break one end. I haven't, but still...