Monoprice 43251 SYNC-ANC Bluetooth Headphones – Insane Value and Sound, But At A Cost
People are always looking for a deal. I love to find inexpensive headphones where their performance belies their price. The Monoprice 43251 Bluetooth headphones certainly fit the price bill at only $60 retail. They have all the features you’d want in Bluetooth headphones. So it just comes down to performance, right? Not so fast! There are other considerations. Let’s take a closer look at the Monoprice 43251 Bluetooth headphones.
Monoprice 43251 Bluetooth Headphones Specs
|Up to 32 feet (10 meters)
|Supported Bluetooth Profiles
|HSP, HFP, AVRCP, A2DP
|Bluetooth Pairing Name
|Supported Audio Codecs
|aptX™ Low Latency, aptX™, AAC, SBC
|About 2.5 hours
|About 400 hours
|About 20 hours (50% volume, ANC OFF, BT ON)
About 10 hours (50% volume, ANC ON, BT ON)
About 14 hours (50% volume, ANC ON, BT OFF)
|8.3″ x 6.1″ x 3.3″ (210 x 155 x 83 mm)
|9.5 oz. (269 g)
I usually end with sound quality (save the best for last, so to speak). With the Monoprice 43251 Bluetooth headphones, I’m going to start with it. The 43251 headphones sound fantastic. If all you care about is sound quality, this is $60 well spent. I started as I always do by playing some sweeps through the headphones. They have punchy bass, a clean and even presentation all the way through the midrange, and only start to break up at the very top of the frequency response. I have absolutely no complaints about the sound quality. I doubt anyone that critically listened to these headphones would disagree. They are fantastic.
Bluetooth Performance, Control, and ANC
Thanks to Bluetooth 5 low latency support, the Monoprice 43251 Bluetooth headphones exhibited almost no lag during wireless playback. Often you’ll notice that watching something through Bluetooth headphones the lip sync will be off. Not so with these.
There are controls on the right earcup for play/pause, volume and skip controls, power, and a USB-C port for charging. The left earcup has the Active Noise Canceling (ANC) control and 3.5mm port for a wired connection. All the controls are physical (buttons or switches) so you won’t have to learn any weird capacitance control scheme. The controls clicked audibly (and physically) so there was never any concern if you had hit the button or switch. Old-school controls are definitely a welcome find on these headphones.
It is important to note that the headphones don’t have to be “on” or paired with another device for the ANC to work. You can simply put the headphones on and flip the ANC switch. Performance of the ANC was mediocre in my experience. There was a definite reduction in outside noise, but an overall hiss to the experience. While these are certainly better than nothing, they aren’t the best noise-canceling headphones I’ve tested.
Aesthetics and Comfort
The Monoprice 43251 Bluetooth headphones have a really clean aesthetic that I very much like. The headband is plush pleather as are the earcups. The interior of the earcups is clearly marked L and R. The arms are metal with clear markings on the sides showing how much they are extended. For those that worry that the band on their headphones is not even, this is a welcome feature.
Comfort is where I have my biggest problem with the Monoprice 43251 Bluetooth headphones. In short, they aren’t very comfortable. They are an on-ear design. When I say that, you know it is true. I have small enough ears that most “on-ear” headphones fit as “over-ear” for me. Not so here. These sit firmly on your ears and press a little too aggressively for extended (or even slightly long) listening sessions. I found myself taking them off every couple of songs to relieve the pressure. Someone with larger ears might find the experience different and hopefully more comfortable. For me, I can’t really use these for any length of time.
My other complaint is an odd design choice. The earcups rotate so that you can lay them flat or collapse them slightly. No, there is no carrying case but at this price point, that shouldn’t be a surprise. But the cups only rotate in one direction. That direction is so that, when you take them off your head, the earcups are pointed up. If I am listening to something, and I want to take them off, I want to put them cup-side down. To do that with the Monoprice 43251 Bluetooth headphones, you need to flip them completely over. It’s an odd thing to describe, but you’ll immediately notice it when you use them. If they had just had the cups rotate in the opposite direction, it would have been so much better.
It’s hard to fault a set of on-ear Bluetooth 5, ANC headphones that only cost $60. You are getting a lot of technology for not a lot of money. If you can find these to be comfortable, then you are going to be thrilled with their performance for music and movies (if not their ANC). For $60, you had to expect that there would be a couple of issues. When they aren’t sound quality and control quirks, I count that a huge win.