Are you looking for a great way to listen to some banging tunes but are not too keen on sharing your music (using a speaker) or not too comfortable with earphones? Well, we have the perfect option for you- headphones!
Being in the budget segments, Rs.1000 headphones offer just the type of music quality you prefer- Bass Heavy. Due to the demand, this is the sound quality that most headphones in this category deliver. But is it even worth buying a headphone at this price? Of course.
While the headphones in this category may not satisfy the tastes of the audiophiles who prefer great balance in their sound but the headphones are not that bad for most people and even provide good sound quality.
When it comes to buying a headphone sound quality is no doubt paramount, but make sure you also look through reviews regarding comfort of the headphone as an ill-fitting headphone is of no use even it is sound great. Check out the buying guide section at the end to know more.
Here at HomeTop, we decided to find out for ourselves, and for you, the best headphones under 1000 selling in the market right now. Last time we reviewed headphones we partnered with Rontek, an Indian company that has been in the audio technology field for over two decades, to run a series of blind tests for audio quality.
With it being around a year since our article, we felt it would be right to make sure we update it with any new products currently available. So we surfed the internet for new picks, reading through reviews from reputed websites.
The Best Headphone under Rs 1,000
The Motorola Pulse Max with its superb sound quality, comfortable fit and light on the pocket price was also our best pick under Rs.2000. In terms of sound, it matches the much more expensive Sony XB450AP especially with its good balance of lows and strain-free mids and highs. Read more about the Motorola Pulse Max in our Best headphone under 2000 article.
Clear sound quality with decent bass
Super comfortable ear cups
Detachable aux cable
Has support for mic
Feels bulky courtesy of the large ear cups
It can't be folded for added portability
Plasticky build quality
Where to buy it?
The Second-Best Headphone under Rs 1,000
Skullcandy delivers effective sound quality, a superb build, stylish design, and robust performance to back it up. The lows (bass) sound particularly good on these headphones, so we highly recommend them for bass lovers. The headphones also offer decent noise isolation to reduce ambient noise. With padded ear cups and a flexible headband, this headset ensures a comfortable fit.
On the design front, the S5LHZ-J576 looks streamlined and stylish, with an on-ear design. The Skullcandy S5LHZ-J576 is very lightweight, and you barely feel it while you’re wearing it. However, we weren't too impressed with the build quality.
The headband is made of plastic, and it doesn't look as elegant as the Sennheiser HD180, or the Sony MDR-ZX110 A. As with the Sennheiser, these headphones don’t have an inline mic or remote control so they cannot be used for making or taking calls.
The ear cups come with foam padding that is covered with faux leather. Because they are so light, these headphones are also comfortable to wear over long periods. We used it for more than two hours without experiencing any discomfort or pressure.
However, the angle of the ear cups is not adjustable—this may cause some problems for those with unusually large ears. The Moto Pulse Max despite being much larger in size does allow you to fold the earcups flat making them much easier to store than the Skullcandy.
The faux leather feels partially sweat-resistant, and like it’s made of a more premium material than in the Sennheiser HD180. This model has a thin round cable, and the connectors at both ends look sturdy. The design and thickness make the cable partially resistant to getting tangled. While going through the online reviews, we found no complaints about the quality or durability of the cable, or about the padding.
Sound quality wise we found the Skullcandy S5LHZ-J576 was good and it was the loudest amongst the headphones that we tested. It easily managed to produce high-quality audio, even at loud volumes. The bass is amplified to an impressive level but manages to not affect the quality of the mids or the treble. All of this makes for a brilliant listening experience.
As far as noise isolation goes, these headphones were able to significantly suppress external noise, but the effect wasn’t as good as in the Sennheiser HD180. So, though these headphones are incredibly loud, expect some ambient noise to spill in.
The Skullcandy Anti is for people who want an on-ear design which makes it smaller than the Moto with a bass-heavy sound.
Based on our research, the Skullcandy S5LHZ-J576 offers the second-best audio experience in its range. If you’re looking for headphones that produce a clear and loud sound, deep bass, and provide a comfortable listening experience for long hours, then the Skullcandy S5lHZ-J576 is the best bet for you.
Clear sound quality with deep bass,
The ear cups come with foam padding covered with faux leather
The ear cups are not rotatable
Lacks a head cushion, but that doesn’t really hamper comfort
Where to buy it?
The Best Budget Headphone under Rs 1,000
The Sony MDR-ZX110 has a competitive price, and if you’re looking for an entry-level, over-ear headphone, you can’t do better. It’s got an extra bass sound. The swivel-folding design is very convenient as you can easily fit into a small-sized box, giving it some neat portability.
The Sony MDR-ZX110 scores well on aesthetics, though. It looks fancy and expensive from a distance, with a combination of matte and gloss finishes on the body, giving it a more premium look than any other device at the same price range.
However, on closer inspection, it feels like a strictly-budget device, mainly because the plastic is of average quality. It also doesn’t look or feel like it can take too much abuse, so it’s advisable to be careful while handling it.
The ear cups have slight padding, making them far more comfortable than any of the on-ear headphones. The headband doesn’t have any cushioning, but it is well-designed and feels secure and comfortable to wear.
One feature that we appreciated in this model was that it had a thick, tough cable that looks like it could take a fair bit of strain. The design and thickness also make the cable semi-tangle resistant. On analysing certified reviews, we found that though there were very few complaints about the cable quality or durability, the ear cups were more of a problem. They appear to be not very durable and will get dirty after a period of rough usage.
The headset also has a rather unique folding mechanism that allows the ear cups to twist inwards, into the headband. This makes it easier to store the MDR-ZX110 when it’s not in use. Additionally, the MDR-ZX110 doesn't have an inline mic or remote control so it cannot be used to make calls.
Based on the tests we ran to evaluate audio quality and clarity, we found that the Sony MDR-ZX110A did not perform as well as the Motorola Pulse Max and the Skullcandy S5LHZ-J576, but it was the third-best in our test.
The problem is that the Sony MDR-ZX110 emphasises low-end frequencies, which can make the bass occasionally overpowering. However, since all that extra bass has been tuned towards promoting the lows, it makes for a very warm sound. This also shows in the lower-mid ranges.
But, there is a clear drop in sensitivity towards the upper end of the frequency range. So, while the Sony headset is quite impressive in rendering lower frequencies, it underperforms as we moved up the range.
Honestly, the MDR-ZX110 isn't something we'd recommend if you're looking for great sonic clarity. However, if you’re looking for heavy bass and great portability, these headphones may be what you’re looking for.
Coming to noise isolation, the Sony managed to suppress ambient noises to a large extent, but it didn’t even come close to the Moto Pulse Max and the Skullcandy S5LHZ-J576 in terms of performance in this regard.
The Sony ZX110 meanwhile offers the best folding mechanism which makes it a treat to carry while travelling. All you have to do is fold them and it can fit into your bag easily.
To summarise, the Sony MDR-ZX110 is a surefire hit if you like your headphones to be powerful on bass, and aggressive. While the detailing and audio clarity suffers a bit, the premium looks somewhat compensates for it. For its price range, it’s an excellent choice if you’re looking for something that’s light on the wallet, but a good device nevertheless.
Ear cups are not very durable and will become dirty easily, with rough usage
Sound quality is good, but not for the mids
No mic, cannot be used to make calls
Where to buy it?
Who is the competition?
Sennheiser PX 80 Over-Ear Headphone: These sports headphones are small and lightweight. The model is highly portable, and it easily fits in the compact box provided along with the headphones. It’s ideal for activities like running and working out. However, it lacks in sound quality, and overall comfort and durability.
JBL C300SI Wired Headphone: These headphones aren’t very suitable for those who want headphones that are thick in the bass. Though they have a great build and design, they fail to capture interest due to the poor tonal balance. These headphones can produce the sound of decent quality but lack low-end bass, and instead, have a loud treble.
Motorola Pulse 2 Headset with Mic: These headphones simply don’t measure up in terms of sound quality. The body of the music is missing, giving it more bass than required. It also lacks tonal balance, with some vocals missed in the mids. However, it does come with a mic.
So if you’re looking for headphones that can be used to make calls, these can be considered. Also, we could not find any clear-cut details on the warranty policy. Nor could we reach the company’s after-sales service, despite repeatedly following-up over email. We did not receive any response to the customer-care service numbers as well.
Philips SHS 390 /98 Wired Headphone: This headphone is an on-ear type which has no noise isolation. The listening comfort, sound quality, and durability were not up to our expectations when compared to our winners. In terms of design, these headphones cannot be worn for long periods of time, as this may cause discomfort.
The quality of the padding on the ear cups is poor, and durability is an issue for both the padding and the cables. The design of the headband is such that it goes behind the neck, making it uncomfortable to use while laying down.
Buying Guide to the best earphone
Given how many headphones are available today the only two criteria many seem to care about is sound quality (especially bass) and price. This is why at the Rs.1000 price nearly all the headphones have bass-heavy sound with a serious lack of balanced sounding headphones.
But sound quality is not what we will touch upon today, instead, we will talk about comfort and portability, something our expert, Mr Jacob really cares about.
In the quest for audio quality, we often forget about comfort, which includes padding quality, clamping force, portability and adjustability of the ear cups. This is exactly why we conducted a lot of experiments to check the comfort of the headphones after 2.5 hours of usage, where we found a few headphones that would give listening fatigue after only 15 mins, while others did not have great quality padding which can leak sound and even catch dirt easily.
Comfort and portability become an even bigger factor if you are going to use the headphones on journeys where lugging around a huge headphone aren't always possible.
Side note- our expert, Mr Jacob actually uses a Sennheiser PX80 due to its ability to fold into a small sunglasses-like box size. This he claims really helps him carry his music without the hassle of digging around his bag for a headphone. Here we would also like to stress upon the fact that you can always rely on headphone reviews to tell you about the comfort and fit of a particular headphone.
But again we will stress on something that we have told many times in the past- make sure you try out the headphones before you buy. This is especially important for people who wear glasses as there are quite a few headphones that clamp too tightly causing discomfort when worn with glasses.
Another bonus tip we have and something that our expert too agrees on is that one must not always base their buying decision on brands. Yes JBL, Sennheiser, Sony are big brands but they cannot always make great products, this is something we found while testing the best headphones under Rs.1000.
Here we expected the JBL C300SI headphone to do really well, or at least better than the Motorola and Skullcandy headphones, but once testing was completed we found it was the last in terms of Sound Quality, in fact, been surpassed by a Motorola Pulse 2!.
While at the same time we did not expect a lot from BoAt headphones, the BoAt Rockerz 510 pleasantly surprised us, so much that we even declared it as the winner in the Rs.2000 category.
Check out the FAQs section if you still have some doubts.
- Is this compatible with laptops?
- Is it a wireless headphone?
- Does it have a mic?
Yes, but only the Moto headphone has mic support
- Is it adjustable according to the size of your head?
- Is it sweat proof?
- Does it have noise cancellation?
No, they do not have any active noise cancellation but there is passive noise cancellation/ isolation due to the ear padding
If you are overwhelmed by the sheer variety of products in the Rs.1000 headphone market than worry not, as our three suggestions will offer the best performance without putting a big hole in your wallet.
The Motorola Pulse Max despite its price, sounds superb, in fact, its sound is close to our best pick under Rs.2000, the Sony XB450AP. The Pulse Max does very well with mids and highs and shines in the lows. It, however, isn't the best when it comes to build-quality and noise isolation.
Skullcandy’s Anti meanwhile offers a stylish and funky alternative to other headphones. The sound like most headphones in this price is biased towards bass and it actually delivers it very well. You also get noise isolation that's as effective as on the Moto Pulse Max and for the price the earcups and headband are extremely comfortable.
The Sony MDR-ZX110A offers extreme portability at the lowest price here. While it's not as great as our two best picks in terms of sound quality, for the price its reproduce some great bass if that's what you prefer.
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