The Nocs NS700 Phaser headphones are decent on-ear headphones that are hurt by the fact that they don't do enough to distinguish themselves from the competition.
In case you've never heard of Nocs, it's a Swedish company, and it has a growing line of headphones, most of them in-ear models. I've reviewed the
Why didn't I like it as much? Well, for starters it's got a pretty ho-hum design. It's not a bad design, but there are several other headphones out there with the same design, so it does nothing to set itself apart.
To put another way, Nocs' engineers have taken a common, off-the-shelf headphone, slapped the company logo on it and presumably put a decent driver inside it and customized the sound to their liking. There's a little more to it than that, but that's the general snapshot of the situation -- or at least my impression of it. (Note: After this review posted, a Nocs rep informed me that, "They might look somewhat generic but it's not an off-the-shelf product. It's our own tooling and the headband is made of TR90 Dupont Nylon, which is nearly unbreakable.")
As I said, the design's not bad. While the headphones don't fold up in anyway, they're fairly compact and comfortable enough, though not supercomfortable. They have textured, soft-to-the-touch finish and an Apple-friendly integrated remote/microphone.
You'll be able to make calls with Android and other smartphones but the remote features are only guaranteed to work with iOS devices such as the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. Call quality was good in my tests with an iPhone 4S.
As for the sound, it's decent, but it just doesn't distinguish itself in a market full of $100 headphones that sound decent but not great. The bass is ample and the headphones offer a reasonable amount of detail. Overall, they sound well balanced -- they don't overemphasize the bass or treble as some headphones do. However, they just don't come across as terribly dynamic or open.
At this price point, you have the
With so many headphones out there, especially in the $75 to $100 range, a headphone really has to do something to distinguish itself from the competition. The only real fault of the Nocs NS700 Phaser is that it doesn't do that. There's nothing really wrong about it, but it has a me-too design and sound that meets but doesn't exceed my expectations for a headphone at this price. It's good that Nocs includes an integrated remote/microphone for cell phone calls, but more headphones do these days. At $60 or so, I'd tell you to take a longer look, but at $99, they're a harder sell.