February 15, 2017

Most Smartphones pack with them a pair of stock earphones, that do no more good than deliver miserable audio quality. Do you wish to get away from these 'good for nothing' plastic pieces and get your hands on better sounding budget headphones? You are in the right place.
If you want to spend no more than a 1000 grand, this curated list is especially meant for you. Do not expect too much, but you will get fairly better sounding audio. Without much ado, let's take you through what you can expect in this category. 

What to Expect in this Category?
  • Sound Quality: Sound quality will indubitably lean towards the lower end i.e Bass. Do not expect more than decent audio delivery.  
  • Form Factor: Listening to music during long hours is not going to be very comfortable. Generous padding can not be expected. 
  • Build Quality: All the headphones in this price range will primarily be engineered from plastic. Metal earcups and hand band are a far fetched dream. You may or may not get a tangle free cable.
  • A remote and mic would be a huge boon at this price point. 

This list has been compiled with the help of users as well as our in-house experts.

In no particular order, here we go!





1. PANASONIC - RP-HBD250

Best Sounding In-ears in this Price Range
Panasonic RP-HBD250

  • Panasonic-RP-HBD250
  • Panasonic-RP-HBD250

Panasonic, the Japanese powerhouse is one of the most trusted brands in the headphone industry. Like most of the offerings from the brand, the Panasonic HBD250 is yet another budget offering from the brand. 

The Panasonic RP-HBD 250 is built entirely from plastic, including the inner frame. It is not the most sturdy, but does not feel breakable too. The headphones are pretty boring and do not flaunt the most attractive build. The headband is matte finished, while the earcups are glossy. Each earpiece has been embellished with a coloured oval ring on the earcup, but this too does not help in making these headphones look premium.

When it comes to comfort, the Earcups have been padded with soft leatherette padding, but the headband is devoid from any kind of cushioning. Thus, if you are concerned about comfort then these headphonesallow you to enjoy music even during long hours.

The cable employed is tangle free and seems durable. The coil has been covered in a rubber-like material and looks and feels very sturdy. However, you will want to take care of the cable in order to keep them going for a longer while. 

Coming to the sound, listen to the Panasonic RP-HBD250 and you will know in an instant that these headphones are biased towards bass. Panasonic has capitalised on the fact that most people in India do love that tinge of bass. The Over-ears do get very aggressive and punchy and do resonate at extremely high volumes. The sonic tuning is excessive and does lack finesse. The mids and highs drown deep down, while the lower end is extensively boomy. The sound is emanated only from one direction, while the imaging is more than ordinary.

The RP-HBD250  attenuates noise even at low volumes. If colour is your priority, the Panasonic RP-HBD250 comes in five different colours- Black, Red, Purple, Blue and White. 

Harjeet Singh 


"The Panasonic RP-HBD250 headphones are more than worth in this price budget. Go for it and believe me, you will never regret having it."

 

UPS
Astoundingly Heavy Bass
High-Level Comfort


DOWNS
Limited Soundstage
Not The Most Stylish Build

 


Our Verdict:
A Great budget offering from Panasonic.


 




2. Sennheiser - HD 180

German Audio Giant Sennheiser's Audio Quality.
Sennheiser HD 180

  • Sennheiser HD 180
  • Sennheiser HD 180


The Sennheiser HD 180 does not haveto a lot to talk about and is clearly targeted towards the budget-seeking audience. From the ear cups to the headband, the Sennheiser HD 180 is entirely built from plastic. The large ear cups feature sophisticated-looking silver finished plate that does make the headphones stand out in a crowd. When it comes to the branding, Sennheiser has gone out loud. Its logo has been imprinted on the earcups,while 'Sennheiser' has been printed in large letters on the top of the headband.

The Over-ear fit ensures that the HD180 is comfortable enough to be worn for a few hours. However, we did find that the material used for padding is not very premium and may tear off easily if not handled with care.

Coming to the cable, the Sennheiser HD 180 employs a cord that is sumptuously 3m long. This makes it easier to be used with your laptop or computer. Coming to the cable's quality, it is decent and is not worth delving further into. 

The HD 180's headband and earpads are generously padded, making it perfect to be used for long hours. However, do note that the leatherette does to tend to heat up after continuous playback. 

When it comes to the sound, the Sennheiser- HD 180, sounds just fine. The bass and treble is not overpowering, and does not muddy other sound syllables either. Although you'll find that at times, the headphones simply sound too soft. This is especially the case when it comes to watching TV and movies, where the immersion can occasionally be inadequate because of this. The headphones justify the sound stage expectations but does not fulfil them. The large drivers allow for a slightly larger sound stage than what we've come to expect, but the imaging is not note worthy.

The Sennheiser HD 180, does not come in colour variants and you are left with no option but to pick black.


Ali Pardiwala, NDTV Gadgets360


"The Sennheiser HD180 headphones aren't necessarily the best-sounding ones you can buy for the price, but they are extremely comfortable and easy to use anywhere."



 

UPS
Flater Audio Response
Wide Sound Stage
DOWNS
No Mic and Remote
Lack of Colour Options

 


Our Verdict:
If you're looking for headphones with a relatively balanced audio delivery and in a budget from Sennheiser, the HD 180 does fairly well.


 




3. Sony - MDR-ZX110

Extremely Lightweight. Great for on the go use.
Sony-MDR-ZX110

  • Sony - MDR-ZX110
  • Sony - MDR-ZX110

The Sony MDR-ZX110 might have been placed in the lower end of the price spectrum, but it definitely looks fancy and expensive from a distance. The design is made by combining matte with gloss, and we have always loved this combination. The end of the housing has a gloss finish whereas the lower end is separated by matte. All that being said, taking a closer look, makes these feel strictly budget oriented. 

Overall, Sony has managed to create a product with cheap materials and minimal design in this price-range. Sony takes the cake home for its 'good design in a budget aspect'. That being said, the plastic coating is flimsy and bendy, and does not look or feel like it can take too much abuse, so careful handling is advised.

In order to make portability much more convenient, the Sony MDR-ZX110 features a unique inside-folding design making the headphones easy to slip into your bag and carry around.

The Sony MDR-ZX110 is corded with a durable and sturdy cable until the Y-split and can effectively resist all the nasty tangles. The cable colour is suited to that of the body. The headphones do not have a remote or mic and thus making control over calls and volumes an issue.

Aiding in comfort, the earcups are nicely padded ensuring that your ears don't suffer from a listening fatigue. The headband is very narrow and comes with no padding. Thus, it may not appease to you that much if you have a rather big head.

When it comes to the sound, Sony has surely got our swing vote. With driver unit of 30mm size and a frequency response of 12-22000Hz, every note in your music can be heard loud and clear. The sonic signature has been tuned toward promoting the lows, and this makes for a very warm sound. Although, the bass can occasionally be overpowering, the Mids and Highs are well maintained.

When it came to the soundstage, we have seen that while the Sony offers a full and aggressive presentation in the sound, it falls a bit short in terms of openness and width. The sonic stage feels narrow and specific, rather than properly spread out.

Sony, trying to play it safe maybe, has come up with two substratal colours: Black and White.


Ali Pardiwala, NDTV Gadgets360


"The Sony MDR-ZX110 offers an immersive, full sound that excels in its handling of bass. Detail and clarity suffer a bit, but bass-heads will not find too much to complain about at this price."





 

UPS
Deep And Full Bass
Stylish Looking Design
DOWNS
Weak Build
Mids and Highs do Suffer

 


Our Verdict:
The Sony MDR-ZX110 certainly does its bit to make your music immersive and entertaining, especially if you like your headphones bassy and aggressive.


 




4. JBL - T250SI

Go on video watching spree with these on-ears.
JBL - T250SI

  • JBL - T250SI
  • JBL - T250SI

The JBL T250SI like most headphones in this list is made of plastic. However, making an exception, the inner frame of the headset is metal. Thus, overall, the T250SI feels sturdy and durable, all thanks to JBL's extra effort put into the design.  

The T250SI sports a design that is JBL in every sense. The logo looks tad bit of boastful. While some users may be happy to flaunt the brand they're using, we personally find this a bit ostentatious.


The On-ears are as comfortable as you'd expect from a pair of budget on-ear headphones. The headband seems to have a decent padding along with an interesting stitched pattern along the edges.The ear padding is not excellent either but considering the price range in which it lies, they are pretty substantial. However, you may need to give your ears a break every 30 minutes or so because these will get warm.

The cable is thin and flimsy and it is advisable to rather take a cord wrap along with it than being immersed in extreme tangles. The length of the cord is standard and works well with most smartphones and laptops. 

Coming to audio quality, JBL has always been inclined towards bass in all their products. While we like when the car pumps along the JBL's speakers, that overpowering bass is not welcome directly into our ears. There is absence of any kind of sound stage, weakness in the vocals, and a general lack of openness. And despite claims of 'powerful' bass, low-frequency response is anything but powerful. 

If you are a JBL fanatic and love everything JBL, we suggest that you go a notch higher and get a better sounding set of JBL headphones than these.


Ali Pardiwala, NDTV Gadgets360


" While the JBL T250SI is a decently built pair of headphones and might sell in large numbers thanks to its price and brand name, it's far less enticing when it comes to sound quality."





 

UPS
 Plastic and Metal Build
Comfortable 
DOWNS
Loud Branding
Suppressed Bass

 


Our Verdict:
The JBL T250SI does not make the cut in terms of audio quality and is a less than average headphone even in this price category.


These were the best 4 headphones that come under Rs 1000. Although there are others that come within the same budget, these are the ones we definitely recommend. 

What are your favourite earphones in this range? Do let us know in the comments below!

If you'd like to learn more, #AskHeadphoneZone!

 

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