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Puro Sound Labs BT5200 Bluetooth Headphones review: Like broccoli for your ears

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MSRP: $149.99

The Good The Puro Sound Labs BT5200 wireless headphones let you know when your volume is over 85dB, potentially causing hearing loss. Long battery life and very good passive external noise blocking. Can be used wired and there's a built-in mic for calls.

The Bad Somewhat generic design and although they're generally comfortable, the headband might be too tight for some, resulting in ear pain. You can't tell if the volume is too loud without taking them off your head.

The Bottom Line The Puro Sound Labs BT5200 headphones might look like some other Bluetooth headphones, but they do deliver excellent audio while helping you protect yourself from hearing loss.

7.8 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 8
  • Sound 8
  • Value 8

Review Sections

The Puro Sound Labs BT5200 wireless headphones are broccoli for your ears.

That's not really "rock 'n' roll," but the BT5200s are made to save you from yourself and keep your hearing healthy. Inside of the aluminum earcups with their 40mm custom dynamic drivers is a microprocessor that monitors their decibel level and alerts you via an LED when your volume is safe or unsafe.

Basically, to keep your hearing healthy, it's recommended that you keep volume at or below 85 dB. When you're in this range with the BT5200s, the tiny LED on the left cup glows green. When you're between 85 and 95 -- a level you should limit to 2 hours or less -- the LED glows yellow. Keep raising the volume till you're over 95 decibels and the LED turns red, letting you know you're on your way to hearing damage.


Green is good.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Knowing the safe listening level at a glance is nice (even if it does require taking the headphones off to find out), but you still want to be able to hear whatever it is you're listening to. For that, Puro balanced the sound quality, so it actually sounds loud at a lower volume.

The Puros have a natural, warm tone to them with full bass, and sound excellent for a variety of music styles as well as spoken word such as audio books and movies and TV. If you're looking for a lot of booming, hard-hitting bass or highly detailed audio, these probably won't satisfy. But for those with eclectic tastes or those who want a good multipurpose headphone, the BT5200s hit the mark.

There is no active noise cancellation, so if you're on a plane, train or bus, you're still going to hear much of the noise. The earcup padding combined with the pressure of the headband does block 82 percent of external audio according to the company, though, and I believe it. All it takes is listening to some music at low volume to completely block out extraneous noise in my office.

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