Lindy has blown rather hot and cold with its noise-cancelling on-ear headphones. The company’s latest attempt, the Lindy BNX-80, follow the excellent, five-star BNX-60 from some years ago but also, more recently, the rather disappointing and pricier BNX-100 from 2019.
Lindy claims that the BNX-80 take the best from each of these forebears and trump the lot. They will need to go some to do better than the BNX-60, of course, but if they get halfway there, we should have a decent pair of wireless noise-cancellers on our hands (or head).
The BNX-80 will set you back £89, right in between the two siblings mentioned above; the BNX-60 are still available for £69, while the BNX-100 have come down in price from the original £120 to (appropriately enough) £100.
Build and comfort
One thing that can be said of all Lindy’s on-ear headphones is that they have been well-built and finished, and the BNX-80 follow that tradition. Though made from plastic, they are nicely put together and feel quite plush enough for the price.
Bluetooth version 5.0
Audio cable 1m
Battery life 50 hours (35 hours ANC, wireless)
The design has gone back to more ovoid earcups and cushions, compared with the round ones on the BNX-100, and they sit quite nicely over the ears. Our initial concerns over the fit being too tight for those who wear glasses seem to ease after a bit of use and, once things have loosened up a touch, general comfort levels are decent.
The control buttons have changed position from those on the 100. With the BNX-80, the left earcup has three raised buttons for most of the general controls, including volume up and down, next/previous song and play/pause/call answer.
The USB micro charging port is also on the left earcup, while the right earcup houses the noise-cancelling switch and 3.5mm port. That means that the controls on the BNX-80 are almost directly opposite where they are in the 100, which throws us at first, but clearly won’t be an issue for most users. Once you have been wearing the headset for a few minutes, all the controls become perfectly simple and intuitive to use.
You can pair the BNX-80 to two devices at the same time, which is handy for working on a laptop while also still being connected to your phone. Also included in the box is a semi-hardshell carrying case, a 3.5mm audio cable, a charging cable and a couple of input adaptors. So all fairly comprehensive.
The BNX-80 produce a fairly warm sound, with nothing standing too much to the fore in the sonic spectrum. Everything is pretty evenly projected, with perhaps the midrange given a slight forward nudge; that, though, is not a terrible trait in budget headphones.
The midrange is where the human voice lives, after all, so this helps bring vocals to the fore in a nice comfortable listen. Jim Croce’s vocal in I’ll Have To Say I Love You In A Song comes across cleanly and involves us immediately in the track.
Detail and rhythm are good for the price, and there’s a decent snap to the upper registers, with snares and high-hats coming through on the track nicely, without too much brightness.
Where the pricier BNX-100 fell down was in the bass, which was too soft and slurry for any properly enjoyable listening. When we compare the two pairs – falling back on a go-to bass tester, James Blake’s Limit To Your Love – it is immediately clear that the BNX-80 are far better in this regard. Bass notes are snappier, better-defined and more easily distinguishable from each other, whereas, with the BNX-100, everything blurs almost into one long lower-register drone.
However, we are still a touch disappointed by the bass performance of the BNX-80. It is somewhat reticent, and that overly laid-back attitude means we are missing any true get-up-and-go to the music with a general lack of dynamism. Having said that, as an easy listening pair of headphones, the BNX-80 do a decent job.
The BNX-80 make a rather decent effort with noise-cancelling, too. Once engaged, the effect is immediate and rather impressive. This technology has improved over the past few years, and we don’t feel anywhere near as much of the rather odd detached feeling that some headphones in the past have subjected us to.
Indeed, once it has been on for a few seconds, we find ourselves forgetting all about the noise-cancelling work going on in the background. It is particularly good at blocking out loud train rumbles or traffic noise, for example, while also allowing in enough noise so that you are aware when an announcement is being made – in which case, a quick flick of the switch brings the outside back into sharp focus.
As a tool to block out, say, office background noise, we are quite happy with the performance. Telephone and video conferencing calls are dealt with easily by the BNX-80, with voices coming across clearly in both directions. We have no complaints about using these headphones on our daily commute or in the office.
If you’re after a competent pair of wireless noise-cancelling headphones for this sort of budget, we would certainly recommend spending your money on the Lindy BNX-80. They are decent all-rounders and do their job rather well. Sonically, they aren’t the very best, but they provide a comfortable warm listening experience that we’re sure many people will enjoy.
- Sound 4
- Comfort 5
- Build 5
Read our guide to the best wireless noise-cancelling headphones
Read our Lindy BNX-60 review
Read our Sony WH-CH700N review