JVC Flats review: Inexpensive headphones that sound great for the money

Aside from their price, the best part about them is their sound -- for the money, anyway. These sound as good as many $30 to $50 'phones I've tried. Their sound is well balanced -- they don't push the treble or bass -- and they're fairly clean and detailed. The bass isn't huge but it's ample. I was able to wear them for an hour without experiencing any listening fatigue, which I consider a good sign.

The headphone cushions are nothing special, but the headphones are comfortable. Sarah Tew/CNET

The headphones do have their limitations. You'll get a little distortion in the high and low ends, especially when you crank the volume. In other words they're not that clean-sounding. But hey, for $12 they sound pretty darn good.

Steve Guttenberg, our resident audio guru, agreed. I had him try the headphones (without telling him the price) and he said he liked them. After I told him they were $12, he was shocked. "That's all?" he asked. "That's all," I said.

No carrying case is included; nor is there an integrated microphone for making calls. Sarah Tew/CNET

Conclusion
If you're someone who's on a very tight budget and wants headphones that sound decent and are relatively comfortable and lightweight, you can't miss with the JVC Flats. They're also a good choice for kids and people who are prone to losing headphones. Cosmetically, I like them better than the Panasonic HT-21s , which are also a good low-budget pick at $5; the Flats also sound a little better. By contrast, the MEElectronics HT-21 Travel -- another 4-star, $20-ish pair of headphones -- offers sound quality similar to that of the Flats, but isn't quite as comfortable.

To be clear, however, the Flats don't have the sound or build quality of more-expensive headphones that cost closer to $100. But at $12 to $14, depending on the color, they're definitely a bargain. I may just pick up a second pair.

Editors' Top PicksSee All

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Nov. 22, 2010
  • Color blue
  • Sound Output Mode stereo
  • Additional Features foldable
  • Type headphones
  • Headphones Form Factor ear-cup