It’s hard to stand out in the world of headphones, which leads to many manufacturers using extravagant features to make things more marketable. But Monoprice is here with the BT-600ANC to remind us that sometimes, something run-of-the-mill and boring is exactly what you want.
There’s little going on here as far as big picture features go. The headphone’s name describes half the selling points of the headphones already, proudly focusing on Bluetooth connectivity and Active Noise Cancellation (or ANC). This makes sense though because there’s not much else to focus on here. The hardware itself is simple, the audio quality isn’t insane, and while the 40-hour battery life is nice, it’s not enough to blow you away.
But all that’s fine with me—these are just trying to be a solid pair of headphones you could use anywhere for anything. The only thing that might scare you off is the $99.99 price tag, which seems like a lot for something trying to be simple. However, even if a product has a simple concept, good enough execution can warrant a higher price, and fortunately, the BT600 is a great example of this.
Minimal Design, Maximum Comfort
The BT600-ANC does not have an ounce of interesting design to speak of. It is a completely standard, all gray pair of headphones with a USB-C charging port, an aux port, and a few controls for power, Bluetooth connection, and ANC. There’s also a multi-function touchpad on the right earcup, which you can use for playback and volume controls. If you don’t want your headphones to ever draw attention, these certainly fit the bill, and you might not notice them as well after a while because of how comfortable they are.
While visually these headphones may not impress, they certainly morph to your head in a manner befitting of the price tag. The padding is really soft, flexible, and fairly breathable so it doesn’t get too hot. Combine that with how light the BT600 is, and I could comfortably wear it for hours on end.
If there’s one issue with the BT600’s hardware it’s the multi-function touchpad. The manual showcases some pretty simple gestures like double-tapping the pad for playback controls, and I foolishly believed that it would be that simple. However, the touchpad is extremely finicky, which almost entirely removes the convenience this feature is supposed to bring. It’s not just the pausing gesture either—skipping tracks and the three different methods of volume control were all annoying as well. There’s not much room for error with the gestures so you need to be extremely precise with your movements.
At least, I think that’s the problem anyway—sometimes gestures worked on my first attempt, other times they didn’t work after 10, and I honestly cannot tell you what I was doing differently between those times.
Even with that though, the BT600-ANC still comes out looking pretty good in the hardware department. These strike me as headphones designed to be used in a variety of settings, so the minimal design definitely fits in here. They’re compact enough to easily fit in a bag (there’s also an included carrying case) and won’t draw any eyes if you wear them in public. With how comfortable these are and the 40-hour battery life, you can easily wear them for long periods without worry.
There is one situation though where you don’t want to use these: working out. Not just because they lack water- or sweat-proofing, but also because these are some loose headphones. I wouldn’t consider myself to have a small head, but I still wore these on nearly the tightest headband setting, and even then it wasn’t a secure fit. It wasn’t bad enough for me where just walking would cause issues, but anything more intense would. This is a shame honestly because with the ANC features we’ll discuss soon these would be pretty ideal for the gym.
Befitting of the hardware, the audio quality on the BT600-ANC won’t blow you away, but it’s far from bad. The sound is just pleasant; it’s not flat, nor is the bass too severe; it’s a very neutral-sounding pair of headphones, which fits the hardware. They can be pretty loud if you want them to be, but I will say when pushed to the maximum volume the sound quality was compromised. It wasn’t too bad, and they still sounded good at higher volumes, but if you like to max out your headphones you’ll probably be disappointed here.
Otherwise, these work great in just about any situation. I used them while listening to music, video editing, watching shows, and even playing games and they performed excellently in every situation. The neutral sound profile means that these don’t excel at anything, but they’re also at least decent at everything. I’m not super picky about audio quality, so having an “all-rounder” pair like these is definitely my preference over something more specialized.
The ANC also helps with blocking out background noise, but it’s not thorough enough to keep everything out. I could still hear stuff going on around me with ANC on, but it does muffle the outside world enough so your focus can be solely on whatever you’re listening to. There’s practically nothing blocking background noise when ANC is off, so if you need to hear your surroundings these headphones won’t get in the way.
They’re Good, Just Nothing Special
There’s not much left for me to say, as these are a pretty standard pair of headphones for a reasonable price. I think these are a fantastic pair to keep around your room or stick in a backpack, just don’t expect anything crazy. The audio quality is good with a sound profile that doesn’t lean any particular way, the exterior can work in any setting, and the only major complaint I have is that the touchpad is annoying. If you just want some wireless headphones you know you can rely on, you can’t go wrong here, but you won’t be impressed either.
Here’s What We Like
- All-Around Great Audio
- Long Battery Life
- Minimalist Design
And What We Don't
- Annoying Touch Controls
- Iffy Quality at Max Volume