Nokia Purity Pro by Monster review:

Compact and light with sophisticated sound

Still not impressed? The Purity Pro can pair in seconds with compatible smartphones using its embedded NFC chip, just by tapping the two devices together. I don't know about you, but I find this application of NFC pretty slick.

Testing the Nokia Purity Pro went well from the moment I picked them up. With the device fully charged via its Micro-USB port, I was able to pair the headset with my LG Nexus 4 test smartphone in no time. I held the phone against the Purity Pro's NFC logo, located outside on the left earcup, and tapped "yes" when prompted with an invitation to pair handset and headphones.

Nokia Purity Pro
On the left side are the playback controls. Sarah Tew/CNET

The Purity Pro supports both the AAC and Aptec high-definition audio standards for the best possible audio quality over a wireless or corded connection. Listening to music through Bluetooth was enjoyable; the headset produced a sizable helping of bass, a clear midrange, plus crisp highs. I also experienced wide and satisfying spatial effects and plenty of volume.

The Purity Pro's active noise canceling is strong, too, quieting a great deal of ambient distraction in my tests, whether that consisted of street sounds or subway car clatter. For instance, I found the Purity's dampening prowess much better than the Denon Globe Cruisers'. That said, the Parrot Zik does a better job of blocking outside noise thanks to a tighter physical seal and closer fit.

Nokia Purity Pro
Use the headphones with out Bluetooth with its bundled cord. Sarah Tew/CNET

I do prefer the Purity Pro's aggressive though well-balanced audio quality compared with the Parrot Zik's flatter and more conservative sound reproduction. Of course, true audiophiles might rather have the latter. Audio experts will likely appreciate the ability to deactivate the Purity Pro's noise canceling. You do so by simultaneously pressing the volume down and previous track buttons.

Another skill in the Zik's wheelhouse is the ability to control device settings though a companion app, including toggling noise canceling on or off, adjusting the custom equalizer, and viewing current battery levels. With no such software feature, the Purity lacks similar abilities.

Don't expect pristine call quality when chatting through the headphones, either. Calls I conducted with the Purity Pro sounded fine on my end, thanks to great noise cancellation, but callers could immediately tell I that was speaking to them from a headset. Worse, they complained of the muffled sound of my voice; consequently, I suggest using the Purity Pro for voice communication sparingly.

A big bright spot in the Nokia Purity Pro's performance is its lengthy battery life. Rated to provide a continuous audio playback time of 24 hours, I managed to make it through a full work week on a single charge.

In many ways, the $349.99 Nokia Purity Pro stereo headset by Monster is a superb smartphone accessory. It produces pleasing and well-balanced audio with plenty of bass, too, and it's bristling with hi-tech features. Able to fold up into a compact shape, it's easy to pack, lasts very long between charges, and is easy to use thanks to its automatic operation and NFC pairing as well. The headphones' few flaws, the biggest being the lack of a companion phone application for greater control, will likely only matter to serious audiophiles. If its shortcomings are a sticking point, I suggest spending $50 more for the $399.99 Parrot Zik. The Zik has similar audio performance, a premium metal design, and even features fancy touch controls.

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