In my previous review of sub $70 bluetooth noise cancelling headphones, the Taotronics BH22s came out on top. Since that review, Taotronics have released two more similarly prices headphones, the BH040s & BH060s.
Below lets look at their differences…
Feature Comparison Table
The table below covers some of the key differences, note for example the different weight of each headset, and different bluetooth standards:
|Active Noise Cancellation||✓||✓||✓|
|Built in Microphone||✓||✓||✓|
|Micro USB charging port||✓||✓||✓|
|3.5mm headphone jack||✓||✓||✓|
|Airplane 3.5mm Adapter||✘||✓||✘|
|Weight (grams):||217 g||264 g||281 g|
In terms of sound quality I’d put the BH22s and the BH060s roughly on par with each other. I’m definitely not an experienced audiophile, so there’s that. But they both sound very similar, over the range of music I tested on. Overall they are both pleasurable to listen to.
Unfortunately the BH040s sound was noticeably inferior, in particular when it came to the low ranges (bass).
Active Noise Cancelling
All 3 have reasonably good noise cancelling (for the price range). To pick at the small differences… the BH22s & BH060s seem to have a small amount “shhh” type noise going on when activated (only noticeable with no music/sound playing). If the BH040s have this, it’s barely noticeable. I’d put the BH040s and BH060s on par with each other, and say the BH22s noice cancelling is marginally worse. This might also be in part because both the BH040s and BH060s have tighter headbands, which creates a stronger seal between the earcup and the ear. I guess the later is a form of passive noise cancelling, which combines for the overall effect.
Foldability (Can that be a word?)
If you’re already familiar with the BH22s, then the BH060 is very similar in design; including the ability to fold down into a small carry case. The BH040s on the other hand are fixed frame, meaning that their carry case needs to be twice as large in order to transport them safely (illustrated by the images below):
To me, the large carry case, and lack of folding design is a big step backwards. Part of the beauty of good noise cancelling headphones is that you want to use them all the time. Perhaps to a coffee shop, the office, or on vacation. So making the carry case any bigger than absolutely necessary is a pain.
My “headphones of choice” are the Bose QC35s, and thus I’m used to a relatively loose headband. The closest to this are the BH22s – whereas the BH040s and BH060s both have tighter headbands. Because I’m not used to it, I find it less comfortable, but there a couple of potential upsides:
- The headphones are less likely to come off when exercising. Not that I expect the BH22s to fall off, but if it were a competition, they would likely fall off first.
- As mentioned above, the tight headband leads to a tighter seal between earcup and ear, providing some additional passive noise cancelling.
Whilst there are some layout differences between each of the models, the core functionality stays the same. They all feature:
- Right side: Power/Pause button combined + Up & Down separate volume buttons (the volume buttons also skip tracks with a long press)
- Left side: Noise cancelling button (except for BH040s which puts all the buttons on the right side).
- Micro USB ports and 3.5mm jacks are on all the headphones, but the location does vary a bit between models.
- BH22s they use a kind of memory foam – such that when you make an imprint, it takes a few moments to form back into its original shape.
- BH040s and BH060s use a regular cushion “without memory”.
- From testing so far, I wouldn’t say it makes a noticeable difference without the memory foam. Any difference I might notice feels overruled by the tighter headband.
AptX Bluetooth Latency
AptX is a compression standard that lowers the latency of the audio transmission in Bluetooth mode. This is not important listening to music without video, but if you want to use wireless headphones to watch your favorite movie it becomes more important. Latency = the delay between what you see on screen, and then the corresponding sound in your headphones. You ideally want this delay to be unnoticeable. This delay is reduced to near wired levels when you have an AptX transmitter to an AptX receiver.
Unfortunately, Taotronics didn’t include AptX for any of these models, which is worth noting.
In terms of deciding which to buy, the first, easiest, elimination are the BH040s. The combination of their non-foldable head band (thus larger carry case), and their inferior sound quality put them at the bottom of the list.
When choosing between the BH22s and BH060s, it’s not so easy. For me, the BH22s win out in terms of comfort. Sound quality on both is similar. Noise cancelling is marginally better on the BH060s. Aesthetics? I’d probably give the nod to the BH060s, which has a fresher design.
It appears the BH22s may be getting phased out (old model?) to make way for the newer BH060s. If comfort is your thing, and you prefer the looser headband, then it may be worth seeking out the BH22s. But otherwise, the BH060s are certainly superior in terms of aesthetics and active noise cancelling.