Panasonic RP-HTX7 review

Best portable on-ears up to £50, Awards 2012. Come in a great choice of colours and flawless for the money. Tested at £40

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Best portable on-ears up to £50, Awards 2012. Retro looking, very comfortable and they sound great, they're well worth the price


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    look good

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    sound great


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Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

These were a huge surprise. It's not that Panasonic doesn't really do headphones – on the contrary, it has a substantial line-up – but we've never heard a truly good pair until these arrived in our test rooms.

Pop on these retro-looking cans (there are six colours to choose from) and the leather-effect earcups create a seal around your ears that naturally blocks a decent amount of outside noise, while the overall fit is a perfect blend of firmness and comfort.

At 1.2m, the standard cable is the perfect length for portable listening (they're closed-back, too - so won't leak sound on your commute), but you also get a 2m extension cable and a 6.3mm adapter for home use.

Balanced and musical

The secret to the RP-HTX7's sonic success is balance. Vocals are lovely and clear, bass is weighy but resists getting over-bearing, and treble is distinct without ever sounding harsh. In fact, nothing sticks out more than it should.

Detail levels are impressive for the money, so you get all the introspections and delicacy of acoustic numbers such as Bon Iver's Holocene, but they're also capable of the kind of punch and control to keep Mastodon's latest metal masterpiece both exciting and listenable.

It isn't easy to get affordable on-ear headphones right - we've heard enough rubbish pairs to be very confident of that - but with the RP-HTX7s, Panasonic has managed it in serious style.

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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