Single-sided headphones are pretty standard in commercial and industrial applications. You have probably seen them used by the call centre operators or heavy-duty machinery operators. The use-case scenario is straightforward – maintain communication while leaving another ear open for surrounding sounds. Of course, that doesn’t limit it from being used by normal consumers such as office workers, e-hailing drivers or even home users.
Today, what we have here is the EKSA H1, a single-sided wireless headset with a noise-cancelling microphone. I will be sharing my experience after using the headphone for the past few weeks. For your context, since my company is currently imposing a semi-work-from-home policy, I got to test the EKSA H1 at the office as well as at home.
What’s in the Box?
- EKSA H1
- USB-A to USB-C charging cable
- Soft travel pouch
- User manual and paper documentation
Professional & Comfort Oriented Design
The EKSA H1 comes in an industrial design without any unwanted bells and whistles.
The headset has an all-black colour scheme and keeps only all the necessary components for comfort.
The microphone can be rotated up to 270 degrees which allows the user to use the headset either on their left or right ear. The microphone stalk is made out of flexible material, enabling further angle adjustment.
The headband can also be extended to fit different head sizes.
The over-ear soft earcup provides a comfortable wearing experience even if you’re going to use it for hours. I have worn the headset continuously for at least 4 hours every day and I don’t feel irritated, unlike some closed-back headset that makes you sweat.
All the controls are located on the headset. The power button in the middle takes on multiple roles such as accepting calls. The H1 has its own set of volume toggle buttons that is separated from the device. That means, you will keep your device volume consistent while only adjusting the headset output volume.
Long Distance Wireless Connection & Dual Device Support
One of the key highlights of the EKSA H1 is the long-distance Bluetooth wireless connectivity. In case you’re unaware, most of the Bluetooth device connection distance is just 10 meters (33 ft). The EKSA H1 goes even further to about 30 meters (99ft). If there are no obstacles between the headset and the source device, it can even work at 50 meters (164ft) away.
Personally, I won’t rely too much on the maximum 50 meters distance cause wireless interference is a thing and you don’t want to have broken communication during crucial moments. Nonetheless, it’s a great feature to support long-distance wireless communication.
Apart from that, it can also support dual device connections for easy switching between phone calls and multimedia purposes.
Noise Cancelling Microphone
The microphone provides clear and loud voice calls. While EKSA didn’t explicitly explain how the noise cancellation works, based on our experience, environmental noise cancellation for the microphone usually combines the input from two microphones and cancels out the non-vocal parts. Judging from the additional hole on the earpiece, that is most likely the secondary microphone for noise cancellation.
Long Battery Life
Last but not least, a single full charge of the internal battery is capable of providing about 55 hours of music time at 25% volume. That is impressive. For phone calls, EKSA claims 30 hours of talk time. I have not got the chance to fully test out the talk time but the music listening time of 55 hours justifies the battery life of this headset.
So, the EKSA H1 may not be for everyone, especially those audiophiles who enjoy stereo or surround sound systems. However, the key purpose of this type of single-sided earphone is communication without compromising safety. In other words, if you require a hands-free headset for your mobile communication either at home or at work. The EKSA H1 is an excellent choice given you don’t have to wear your existing headset in an awkward way.
At the time of writing, the EKSA H1 retails for $89.99 on Amazon. If you get it directly from EKSA, they are currently having sales at $54.99.