Our Verdict 
Their smooth, easy-going sound needs more oomph and bass punch to secure a place on our shortlist
For 
Compact and portable
Smooth, warm sound
Rich, balanced
Good detail
Against 
Need more attack and dynamic expression
A little pricey
Look quite cheap
Reviewed on

After headphones that you can slip out of your coat pocket and listen to for hours? Say hello to the pleasantly smooth-sounding Soundmagic P30Ss.

Build

The circular ear cups and pads can be bunched up into a ball to fit snug in the supplied semi-circular case. Their size means they don’t fully isolate you from outside noise, but on the upside they don’t make your ears too stuffy either.

The thin, malleable headband is stronger than it looks, though we would like slightly thicker synthetic leather coating. Even though they’re unsurprisingly lightweight, you feel the band’s burden after a while.

More after the break

The cable is detachable, but instead of fixing into an ear cup, it joins a short wire that protrudes from the left one, which means it can be replaced.

The ‘smart switch’ on the chunky plastic jack connector makes the in-line remote and microphone compatible with most smartphones.

Silver trims with swirly details add a bit of creative value to the otherwise plain, plastic structure, but it hardly sets our hearts on fire. With the P30Ss, you are investing in portability where the design is concerned.

MORE: Best headphones 2015

Sound

It is hard not to instantly like the Soundmagic’s agreeably clear, balanced and rich sound. In terms of detail and resolution, they fare well.

Play Wishbone Ash’s Wings of Desire and the acoustic strings sound lifelike, each defiant pluck precise, textured and warm, while the folky vocals are forthright and expressive. Its fluent, precise nature holds down rhythms well too.

A bright treble settles down after a good run-in, but bass remains a little on the chunky side, not taut or defined enough to be convincing. While their smooth character is ideal for chilled out Sunday sessions, we find them a little too easygoing.

And we’d like more attack and firepower when we play Eminem’s Hello; claps don’t have the force they should, and the intense vocal delivery loses its familiar hostility.

Verdict

The Soundmagic P30Ss will no doubt find a fan base, but for the money they pull up just short of good value.

MORE: Best on-ear headphones

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Where to buy View all »

SoundMagic P30S
£19.99
The Competition 

AKG Y50

Our Rating 
87%
Price from £59.95

Philips Fidelio M1MKII

Our Rating 
0%

Sony MDR-ZX660AP

Our Rating 
0%
Price from £40.23
Breakdown 
Sound
Build
Comfort
Features