PNY is a brand most PC enthusiasts should be fairly well acquainted with given the company’s line of products: Video cards, RAM, SSDs and the like. The company recently decided to roll the dice on another product line – in-ear headphones. So for a first attempt from a fairly large company we can honestly say they did fairly well with the Uptown headphones. Now as the name would imply, these are designed to be upscale, fancy, and “premium” headphones – but the price says otherwise. $49 USD gets you a pair of headphones that appear to be fairly generic looking in nature. Sound wise? Well that’s a whole different story:
Design, Look, and Feel
The headphones have a translucent steel gray cable coated in a sort of plastic finish. The important thing to note here is the cables translucent appearance, thus the actual twist of the black and gray audio cables inside are visible. As far as the overall feel goes, there is nothing particularly exciting about the headphones. They feel just about the same as most other headphones, with a build quality that will instill a sense of decently long term use in most consumers. The headphones feature a 3-button inline MIC with Play / Pause, Answer / End call, and Volume up / Down features. The module and buttons are made using plastic construction which feels quite sturdy and at no point during my use did I get the impression that if I squeezed too hard the module would break. The headphones come with four interchangeable tips. Three of the tips are the standard silicone bulbs in sizes small, medium, and large, the headphones themselves have silicone ‘flange’ tips already attached.
Sound Quality / Usage
The headphones have decent sound quality as far as standard acoustics go. The drivers, while only 8mm, produce an overly bass heavy sound that does not exactly bide well with those who like to enjoy the full range of their music. Now the bass was quite deep and I could certainly feel the minuscule drivers shaking my cranium like a midget on steroids. I’m not saying users won’t enjoy the music they hear – if you want bass, and mostly bass, than you are in good company with these headphones. However they failed to reproduce the “premium audio experience” PNY advertised. I tested a wide range of music as I listen to a vast array of artist across many different genres. From Pantera’s “Cowboys from Hell”, 2Pac’s “Ballad Of A Dead Soulja”, Indra’s “Its Good Again“, all the way until Tchaikovsky “1812 Overture”, and everything in between.
Overall the included tips provided excellent noise isolation, so they do deserve credit for that. The built in MIC worked flawlessly while making calls, as did all the inline controls, however like nearly every other pair of headphones I have reviewed the inline control module did not work with my particular Android handset, save for the Play /Pause and Answer / End call functionality.
Despite the marketing lines PNY uses such as “Efficient Dynamic Range Reproduction” and “Focused Sound System,” I felt that for the MSRP ($49) these should market for about $10 – $15 cheaper – solely on the overall audio quality. Are they overpriced? A little bit. However nothing else from the competition does much to differentiate itself at this particular price range.
:UPDATE: In the days since this review was published it has come to the attention of TechnologyBlogged.com that the average going price for these is now around $29 USD, with J&R even selling them for as low as $14.99! As a result of this reduction in price we have opted to raise the rating of the product from 6 out of 10 to 7 out of 10.
About Benny Sabghir: Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. Benny enjoys all aspects of consumer electronics - especially writing about it. He also enjoys hitting the gym, running and discussing the history of his three favorite wars - The American Revolution, The Six-Day War, and the Star Wars Trilogy. Currently in Jerusalem, Israel. Follow him on twitter @Sabghir_Benny Find him on Google+ View author profile.