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BlueAnt Embrace Stereo Headphones review: BlueAnt Embrace Stereo Headphones

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MSRP: $199.99

The Good The BlueAnt Embrace headphones are comfortable, sturdy headphones that fold for compact storage in an included carrying case. They feature a detachable cord with microphone and navigation controls for cell phone use, and deliver very good, natural sound.

The Bad They're little pricey at $200, and their design won't appeal to everyone.

The Bottom Line While a tad pricey at $200, BlueAnt's Embrace wired stereo headphones are comfortable and offer very good, natural sound along with an integrated mic and volume control for cell phone use.

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7.3 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 7
  • Performance 8

BlueAnt branches out from its Bluetooth wireless roots with a wired stereo "headset" it calls Embrace. The stylish over-ear headphones include an integrated mic and controls for iOS devices that allow you to make hands-free calls and play, pause, and track-forward audio selections. Although their $200 retail price tag sways toward the higher end of the consumer market, we recommend these over-ear headphones for their robust, well-defined sound and padded comfort.

Design and features
As far as their design, the Embrace headphones seem to have drawn inspiration from Bowers and Wilkins' P5 headphones. They have rectangular earcups that are aptly padded and fold flat for storage in the protective faux-leather case. The package also comes with an OMTP adapter.

The extra padding on the curves of the headband gives the Embrace a distinctive look. Though not as ostentatious as the Monster Beats by Dr. Dre Studio headphones, they still command attention when you wear them in public. You can choose to see that as a positive or a negative, but if we had to make a call, we'd say these are decent but not great looking headphones (the B&W P5s are more stylish, but cost more).

Beyond the aesthetics, we jury-tested the Embrace's fit on a few CNET editors and the consensus is that the headphones feel comfortable and appear well-built for durability, which is what you should expect from headphones that cost $200.

It's also worth mentioning that the 36-inch light-blue cord on the headphones is detachable from the left earcup, and the plug is similar to the design you'll find on some of Monster's headphones. BlueAnt also wraps the wire in a smooth rubber casing for extra protection, and the light wax also helps lower the possibility for tangles. On a side note, we had no issues plugging into an iPhone with a large, protective case thanks to the L-shaped plug that's also reinforced with thick rubber.

While this is an over-ear headphone (as opposed to an around-the-ear model), the plush earcups still isolate the listener from hearing ambient sounds, and in that sense they're very similar to the aforementioned B&W P5s ($300) and Bose's OE headphones ($179.99). Like all over- and on-ear cans, your ears will get steamy if you wear the headphones for long listening sessions, so we recommend giving your ears a break every so often to cool off.

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