Gadgets for humans

Review: Hër headphones hopes ‘feminine’ aesthetics will distract women from bad sound

Looks aren't everything.

DSC_0123
Price $ 99 ProductHër Headphones by Hër

There are no shortage of products aimed at the fairer sex, and that includes gadgets. The most recent example of this is Hër, a set of delightfully effete on-ear Bluetooth headphones, which we’re reviewing today.

But wait, I hear you say. Matt, you’re a bloke. You have a luscious beard that you wax and brush daily. Why are you reviewing headphones that are unambiguously aimed at women?

Good question. I guess the answer has something to do with the gender diversity of TNW’s editorial team, and a desire to prove that my masculinity isn’t so fragile it’s threatened by a pair of taupe-hued headphones

But above anything else, I wanted to see if this is yet another example of the dreaded “pink tax.

At roughly £100, Hër headphones are not cheap. Are they genuinely good, or have the Swedish makers just got a pair of average headphones, made them look pretty, and given them a hefty price tag?

I guess you’ll just have to read on, won’t you?

Design

I’ve got to give this one to them, these headphones genuinely are quite attractive. The headband mixes taupe-hued memory foam and elegantly stitched brown leather, accented with gentle aluminium elements.

The back of each can has the brand name embossed upon the brushed chrome plating, while the cups are similarly taupe colored, and rest gently upon the ear.

Overall, these are extremely comfortable to wear for long periods. However, they do have a fatal flaw which really impinges upon the overall wearability and utility.

On the right hand is an LED light which flashes intermittently while connected via Bluetooth. This is surprisingly bright, and is extremely bothersome while listening to music in bed. I also wear glasses, and I often see the reflection of this light in the lens. As far as I can tell, there is no way to turn this off.

Besides the built-in Bluetooth v4.1 connection, Hër also includes a 3.5mm headphone jack. For charging, there’s a microUSB port.

Performance

While Hër might be the best looking pair of headphones I’ve reviewed this year, it’s also the most underwhelming in terms of audio performance. It’s resoundingly mediocre.

In particular, bass performance is abysmal. It’s so absent, it’s almost as though it left the house to buy a packet of cigarettes and never came back.

Meanwhile, high notes sound hollow and shrill. I was listening to Wheatus’ cover of Erasure’s ‘A Little Respect’ (my guilty pleasure), and I felt as though the tambourines and cymbals massively overpowered Brendan Brown’s vocals.

These inherent weaknesses become apparent when listening to genres that emphasizes the extremes of the audio range, like hip-hop, EDM, and rock.

It’s also worth noting that the headphones nearly sit upon the ears, and do not encompass them. Therefore, expect to deal with a lot of outside noise leaking in and getting in the way of your listening experience.

In terms of battery life, you can expect to get 21 hours of playback time, and 840 hours of stand-by time. That’s respectable.

Who is this for?

I would struggle to recommend these headphones to anyone. While they are undeniably gorgeous and comfortable, audio performance is just not good enough, especially considering the relatively steep price tag.

The cynic in me thinks that Hër chose aesthetics over sound quality, and hoped that women wouldn’t notice.

There are just better options out there. £100 won’t just get you headphones that sound good, you’ll also get things like active noise cancellation and a protective carry case. A few months ago, I reviewed a bargain-basement pair of cans from Chinese brand Taotronics that cost just $70, but were leagues above this offering from Hër.

Hër headphones are available from today. If you want to pick up a pair, you can find them online, as well as in retail outlets like Selfridges. A pair will set you back £100 or €99.

Published November 28, 2018 — 12:13 UTC

Price $ 99 ProductHër Headphones by Hër