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Samsung Level In review

A high price for headphones that are low in quality Tested at £130

Our Verdict

A high price for headphones that are low in quality 

For

  • Plenty of bass
  • They’ll match your Samsung Galaxy S5

Against

  • Hard sound

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

A high price for headphones that are low in quality 

Pros

  • + Plenty of bass
  • + They’ll match your Samsung Galaxy S5

Cons

  • - Hard sound

Mention headphones to anybody, and it’s unlikely that Samsung would be the first name to come up. And on this showing, that’s unlikely to change any time soon.

Then again, everybody wants in on the game of ‘phones these days, so we’re not surprised to see the Korean company stepping it up and bringing in the Level range.

Build and design

It starts off well, aesthetically speaking. Samsung obviously wants to draw a line between these headphones and those buds that come bundled with their smartphones.

There’s a fancy design that brings to mind Terminator 2’s liquid metal T1000. Up close, however, it’s less impressive. The Level Ins feel very plasticky, and we suspect the chrome finish will flake off after a while.

Construction is sturdy, nevertheless, and you get a flat cable (for tangle resistance) and a three-button microphone/remote unit.

After playing with the different ear tips – the memory foam ones are quite comfortable – we get down to listening.

Performance

And it’s not good. The first thing we notice is the hardness of the sound. It’s a bright, harsh treble that has you thinking about the volume switch.

The similarly priced NAD Viso HP20 offers significantly more refinement, as well as instrumental textures and other subtleties.

Bass is quite strong. There’s a place for bass-centric headphones, but here it’s not that well defined, nor is it particularly detailed.

The Level Ins also lack the strong dynamics and snappy timing to really entertain.

Verdict

Overall, it’s not a good start for Samsung’s headphones.

If they were half the price, we might consider the Level Ins – but at £130, we really can’t.

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 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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