Gadgets

Fanny Wang 3100 Noise-Canceling Headphones Review: Phat Sound, Phony Fashion

If we’ve learned anything from Beats by Dre, it’s that adding a little bit of style to a high-grade audio product goes a long way. The people will pay for it. But is there room for more than one purveyor of premium, fashionista cans? Fanny Wang intends to find out.

What Is It?

A $US300 pair of active, noise-canceling headphones.

Who’s it For?

Frequent travellers who need big, comfortable, noise-canceling headphones. Oh, and anyone who’d buy expensive headphones just because they look cool.

Design

Giant over-the-ear headphones that weigh nearly a pound. The leather earpads are luxuriously plush.

Using It

The AAA-battery-powered noise-canceling makes the entire world inaudible, even when there’s no music playing. A three-way switch on the right earcup toggles the noise-canceling and the thumping bass boost.

The Best Part

Lovely sound.

Tragic Flaw

Despite the seemingly sturdy plastic construction, the build quality is poor, and the semi-flexible headband will snap under pressure.

This Is Weird…

Fanny Wang, the fabled designer of this product, doesn’t exist. It’s a made-up name, chosen for its stylish Asian sound. It’s so exotic, er, and weirdly suggestive! Do you want butt, genitals, and headphones? I LOVE ALL OF THOSE THINGS.

Test Notes

In case it isn’t obvious, these headphones are trying to be Beats. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, except that the price tag of these headphones is identical to the price of the Beats Studio headphones. Aesthetically, the Fanny Wangs don’t bring anything to the table beside s a funny, hokey name.

These headphones have great detail, resolution, and imaging. When you flip the switch to bass boost they’re about as good on the low-end as any comparably-priced headphones we’ve heard. When listening to female vocals over guitar with noise-canceling on, the headphones still sound full and satisfying, but you’ll hear slight interference and some high-end distortion caused by the active electronics.

For a set of headphones that cost $US300 we’d expect better construction. The plastic headband isn’t strong enough to withstand the real wear-and-tear of travel. It snapped when we were fidgeting with it in the office.

The headphones are very comfortable, and we were able to wear them in the office all day with ease.

Given how big the Fanny Wang 3100s are on your head, they fold up into a relatively small package to fit in their carrying case. Still, these are being billed as travel headphones, and they’re simply to big heavy and fragile to throw in your carry-on regularly.

Should You Buy It?

If you’re looking to buy Beats headphones for any of the aesthetic reasons that people buy headphones you probably don’t care that like the Fanny Wangs they’re expensive and fragile. So why not just buy those? In terms of sound-quality the Fanny Wang 3100s might appeal to a wider listening audience than Beats. Still, these are impractical compared to the spectacular AKG K495 NCs that cost $US50 more.

Fanny Wang 3100

• Price: $US300

• Battery: Two AAA batteries

• Drivers: 50mm

• Weight: 13.5 ounces

Gizrank: 3


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