If you own a pair of noise-canceling headphones, there's a really good chance that they're made by either Sony or Bose. These two companies have dominated this market with products like the WH1000XM3 and QC35 II, and in an attempt to undercut these two giants, Panasonic decided to enter the ring with its more affordable RP-HD605N headphones.
Panasonic's goal with the RP-HD605N is to deliver a pair of high-quality wireless headphones that look good and sound great for less money than what you'd pay on a competing pair from either Bose or Sony.
Believe it or not, Panasonic actually seems to have achieved that goal — by quite a lot, too.
- Really great sound
- Up to 20 hours of batter per charge
- Noise canceling works quite well
- Fun passthrough feature
- Charges via microUSB
- The Bose QC35 II and Sony WH1000XM3 are just $50 more
Panasonic RP-HD605N What I like
Going into this review, I honestly wasn't expecting too much out of the RP-HD605N. Panasonic's not really well-known for great, premium headphones, but after spending some time with the RP-HD605N, I'm thrilled to say that they exceeded my expectations.
In regards to the design and fit, the Panasonic RP-HD605N are a lot sleeker than the name would suggest. There's very minimalistic Panasonic branding on both earcups, MemoryFoam cushions around the speakers, and a big, cushy leather headband up top.
Adjusting the length of the headphones is as easy as pulling down on the speaker units, and when it comes time to turn your music off, you can easily swivel the headphones up into themselves for compact storage in the included carrying case.
Wearing the RP-HD605N, they felt a bit tighter on my head compared to the Bose QC35s. However, after playing around with the length and wearing them for a couple of days, I ended up really liking how they feel. The leather surrounding the earcups and headband does a great job at allowing you to listen for hours on end. The right speaker offers easy controls for your volume, noise canceling, and power.
As for listening to music on the RP-HD605N, this is another area that caught me off guard. Boy, do these things sound good!
I find that the sound on the QC35 II is a bit more balanced and accurate, but the RP-HD605N sound mighty nice. Bass is plenty strong (if a tad too much at times), the volume is plenty loud, and everything from podcasts to Trench just sounds awesome.
When it comes to the noise cancelation, Panasonic gives you three different stages/levels to choose from to help you find the perfect fit. Although not quite as impressive as what Bose and Sony have achieved, the noise canceling here still works darn well and isn't anything to complain about in the slightest.
Similar to some Sony headphones, the RP-HD605N come with a feature called Ambient Sound Enhancer that allows you to put your hand over the right speaker housing to temporarily allow ambient noise to pass through the headphones so you can hear what's going on. You need to apply a small amount of force in order for this to work, but when it does, it's almost like magic and something that could really come in handy if you want to talk to someone quickly without having to take your headphones off.
Panasonic RP-HD605N What I don't like
What don't I like about the Panasonic RP-HD605N? Admittedly, not much.
I've said it before and I'll say it again — premium headphones in 2018 should absolutely use USB-C for charging instead of microUSB. The Bose QC35 II don't do this and neither do the Panasonic RP-HD605N.
This is far from a dealbreaker, but it is annoying to have to once again make sure you've got a microUSB cable when most of our other gadgets have already adopted the newer USB-C standard.
Should you buy the Panasonic RP-HD605N? Sure!
Overall, I'm quite impressed with what Panasonic's cranked out here. The RP-HD605N sounds like the unsexiest pair of headphones you could imagine, but in real world use, they're surprisingly comparable to the Bose QC35 II and Sony WH1000XM3.
The RP-HD605N are a good buy at the retail price of $299, and for some people that savings of $50 over Bose and Sony's options is a big deal. If you can afford to spend the extra money, however, you will be able to get headphones that offer a better overall experience.
At the time of publishing this review, the black variant of the RP-HD605N are going for just $222 on Amazon. I'd argue that Bose and Sony's latest headphones offer $50 more in their fit, finish, and features, but definitely not almost $130 more.
4 out of 5
The Panasonic RP-HD605N are worth looking into at their normal pricing, but if you can find a deal like the one going on now, you'd be a fool to not scoop them up.
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You could at least mention the Bluetooth codecs these use for HD audio, which are actually a big deal. Aptx-HD and LDAC, for those wanting to know.
I'm surprised it's got the micro USB charging port as more devices move to the USB C ports.
I'm not. USB-C is the future, but micro-USB is still perfectly fine during the transition. I have two USB-C devices (my Samsung S8 and Nintendo Switch), but everything else I have is still micro-USB. I suspect that's the same for a lot of people. I definitely prefer the USB-C connector...I just don't think it's a big deal for wireless headphones to use micro-USB for now. It'll eventually die out (same as mini-USB did before it), but there's no rush.
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