Heyday Wireless On-Ear Headphones review: No-frills wireless headphones that sound surprisingly good
In case you missed it, Target -- yes, that Target -- is selling a new line of electronics accessories under its new Heyday brand. Along with a selection of iPhone cases and cables, Apple Watch bands and screen-protecting bumpers, Target's making some portable audio products, including Bluetooth speakers and headphones.
One of the more intriguing products is a set of modestly priced ($60) over-ear wireless headphones that have somehow been labeled Heyday On-Ear Wireless Headphones on Target's website. They aren't on-ear headphones, which is a good thing -- I prefer over-ear -- but I'm going to continue calling them by their given name until Target changes it (after reading this write-up, one hopes).
As far as the design goes, they seem sturdy but are pretty lightweight at 8.3 ounces (236 grams) and feature nicely padded earcups. They're comfortable to wear, have a clean, stylish look and fold flat, but they don't come with any sort of carrying case. The only complaint I've heard is that the headband (at its crest) puts pressure on the top of some people's heads and creates discomfort. You can alleviate that by opening up the headphones a bit, but then they won't fit your head as snugly.
One smart choice the designers made was to keep the Heyday brand label small. You barely notice that it's stamped on a tiny plate at the base of the headband on either side. The headphones come in three color options: My sample was the tan and gold version, but it also comes in gray and gold or black print and gold.
The controls are straightforward. There's a power button and a set of small volume control buttons. I had no problems pairing and re-pairing with an iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus. You tap the power button to pause or play music and answer or end calls. To move tracks forward, you hold down the volume-up button. To skip back a track, you hold down the volume-down button.
As for the sound, it's well balanced overall and doesn't accentuate the bass (if you're looking for really big bass, this isn't the model for you). It's not incredibly defined or articulate (the sound tilts warm), which you wouldn't expect from $60 headphones, but there's just enough of presence boost in the treble to bring the detail out and give the sound a bit of sparkle.
I'm not going to oversell the sound, but it's pleasant to listen to. I had fellow editor Ty Pendlebury try the headphones and he guessed that they cost significantly more than they do. He was also shocked they were made by Target. The company's reps told me the headphones were designed from the ground up by its engineers.
It's also worth mentioning that the Heyday On-Ears worked pretty well as a headset for making calls. I didn't get any complaints from callers and I could hear them fine.
Battery life is rated at 20 hours of music playback at moderate levels, which is decent, and you get a cord for those times you want to go wired.
I don't think I'd use these at the gym, but I would recommend them for folks who work in open-office environments who want decent sound and a comfortable fit without spending much.
We've started seeing modestly priced headphones like this model and the Tribit XFree Tune that deliver sound you'd expect from more premium headphones. While they're not without their small downsides -- the Tribits sound a little better but they're heavier and this model would benefit from a more comfortable headband design -- it's good to see more budget models delivering respectable sound.