Samsung Level On review: Folding on-ear headphones for Samsung Galaxy owners fail to impress

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CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars Good
  • Overall: 6.0
  • Design: 7.0
  • Features: 7.0
  • Sound quality: 6.0
  • Value: 5.0

Average User Rating

4 stars 1 user review
Review Date:

The Good The Samsung Level On on-ear headphones earn some points for their decent bass response, their folding design and removable cable.

The Bad They're burdened with plasticky build quality and a lack of clarity in the high end. The in-line remote only works properly with Samsung Galaxy phones and tablets.

The Bottom Line Except for Galaxy compatibility, the Samsung Level On doesn't offer anything you won't find in other, better on-ear headphones for the same price.

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Samsung may be best known for its ace TVs and its seemingly endless line of Galaxy phones, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have a few accessories to go with your shiny new S5. The Level Ons are part of Samsung's new range of headphones -- sitting alongside the Level Over cans and the Level In earphones.

If the name didn't give the game away, the Level Ons are on-ear headphones, with earcups small enough to make them suitable for use out and about. At £150 in the UK and $180 in the US, they're going head to head with the ever-popular Beats, with its new Solo 2 headphones, which clock in at around £170 or $200, but is the Samsung name enough to put these headphones above the competition?

Design and build quality

There's no escaping the fact that Samsung is positioning the Level Ons directly against the Beats Solos -- both headphones are on-ears, with similar sized earcups, both are made largely from plastic with a rubber padded underside to the headband, and both models fold up for easy storage.

While the Solo 2s come in a variety of garish hues, Samsung's headphones are a little more restrained coming in black (the model I had) and a white and tan version. I'm not keen on the black model -- it's a very plain design, with little in the way of flair that would make you want to flaunt them out and about. The dull aesthetic makes them look more like the sort of thing you'd find bundled in the box with a smartphone than an accessory you'd want to splash out on.

samsung-level-on-2.jpg
Not even Adventures in Tech's Luke Westaway can make these look good. Andrew Hoyle/CNET

They're not a set of headphones that will turn heads when walking down the street -- the Beats logo on the side of the Solo 2s at least attempt to add some cred. The white model, with its two-tone effect, has more going for it.

If you really want to make a fashion statement with your headphones, the Levels probably won't cut it -- the Sennheiser Momentum on-ears with their leather and metal headband look much more premium (not to mention mature) and cost around the same. And if you'd rather just get on with listening to music and don't care a jot about what people think of what's sat on your head, they're probably a good choice too.

The all-plastic build doesn't feel particularly luxurious, but then neither do the Solo 2s. The Levels feel a little cheap, although they can handle a good deal of flex before you start to hear any unpleasant creaking. A fairly firm case is supplied in the box, which should help them survive being shoved roughly into your carry-on luggage.

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Andrew Hoyle/CNET

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Where to Buy See all prices

Samsung Level On (Black)

Part Number: EO-OG900BBESTA
MSRP: $275.00 Low Price: $169.24 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Color black
  • Additional Features call reject
    play/pause button
    single-sided cable
    volume control
  • Sound Output Mode stereo
  • Connector Type mini-phone 3.5 mm 4-pole