House of Marley Positive Vibration Headphones Review (XL) – Best Yet?
Bluetooth over-ear headphones with superb sound and design under $100.
Overall score: 4.2 out of 5 points.
If you have $100 and want a pair of wireless headphones, the House of Marley Positive Vibration XL are one of your best choices. You get high sound quality, fantastic Bluetooth performance, and sturdy design that stays comfortable, and you can use on the move.
These headphones give a great impression immediately once you take them in your hands. Quality materials, comfortable fit, and a balanced sound with details.
There’s not much to complain about these, and that’s what makes them a great buy.
PROS & CONS
- High build quality
- Cool design with wooden features
- Sustainability program (helps plant 1 tree)
- Reliable Bluetooth
- Enjoyable, balanced sound
- Price under $100
- Somewhat inflexible headband
- Smaller earpads might not fit bigger ears
Positive Vibration XL are definitely one of the best choices in the under $100 price range right now.
Positive Vibration XL made it into:
Type: Over-ear headphones
Connection: Wireless Bluetooth
Driver size: 40mm
Frequency range: 2402 – 2480 MHz
Weight: 0.55lbs (252g)
Cable length: AUX – 53 inches (135cm)
Microphone & Controls: Yes (built-in) & controls on the cable
Battery life: 24h
Charging time: Around 2h
Active noise-cancelling: No
Charging cable: USB-C
Bluetooth codecs: SBC
Wireless range: 33ft (10m)
Mic design: n/a
What’s in the Box?
- House of Marley Positive Vibration XL headphones
- USB-C charging cable
- 5mm AUX cable with remote control
- Soft, carrying bag
- User manual
Comfort & Fit – 4/5 Great
Positive Vibration XL over-ear headphones offer long-term comfort with thick foam earpads, extendable headband, and flexible construction. You can easily wear them for hours without discomfort.
Though you have to know a couple of things. The ear cups aren’t the biggest. You can get bigger in over-ear headphones.
Since these are designed for portable use, with collapsible structure, the ear cups are barely big enough to cover your ears fully (if you have normal adult ears).
You can feel the ear pads brushing against the edges of the ears. It’s never uncomfortable, but you can feel it.
Thankfully, the foam in the pads is soft and conforms to your head shape well. And while it’s marketed as memory-foam, to us, it seems it’s just normal foam that goes back to original shape immediately after you take them off. And it’s fine, the cushioning is more than adequate.
On the same hand, the headband is covered in fabric. The bottom side has an extra cushion that relieves stress on top of the head.
But the headband is quite rigid. It’s not the most flexible we’ve seen, and if you have a bigger head, the clamping force might be too much for you.
Nonetheless, there’s some flex and the ear cups swivel, so they fit well for most adults and even bigger children (teenagers).
In case you want to use them for lifting weights, you can do so as long as you don’t move your head too fast.
The clamping force is stronger, and the headphones stay on the head very well.
Noise Isolation – 4/5 Great
Thanks to tight-fitting earpads and closed-back design, passive noise isolation is quite good. It removes a good amount of ambient noise, though it doesn’t eliminate it completely.
Most over-ear headphones remove some background noise. And Positive Vibration XL actually do a slightly better job at it.
The thick earpads create a good seal around your ears and block the outside sounds.
Even so, you will still hear people talking to you if you pause the music, which is a good thing. And if you go to a noisy place, don’t expect to drown it all out, these aren’t noise-cancelling headphones.
Wind noise – is almost not a problem. In a really windy situation, you will hear some of it but in normal amounts.
Bluetooth – 4.5/5 Almost Perfect
How stable is the Bluetooth connection in Positive Vibration XL?
Bluetooth 5.0 connection with these Marleys is super stable and offers better stability than most headphones with the same Bluetooth version. They work normally over 2 walls, which is rare. Also, there’s no noticeable delay when watching a video.
Most Bluetooth 5.0 headphones offer reliable wireless connectivity, but there are still some limitations.
Occasional distortion or short hiccups are common. And most headphones don’t really work normally over 2 walls.
But these work without problems even with 2 barriers in between.
We got no signs of a weaker signal even when behind 2 obstacles. It’s super reliable and strong.
You should still expect the standard range of around 30ft (10m), which is plenty anyways.
Is there a delay when watching videos?
No noticeable delay when watching YoutTube videos. These are great for binding on your favorite channels.
Still, there is no support for better Bluetooth codecs like aptX or AAC, or at least it’s not shown anywhere. So you get the basic SBC, which is fine, but that’s the reason why we can’t give it 5/5.
One more thing…
There is no white noise when connected that we so often see in cheaper Bluetooth headphones. When you pause the music, there is nothing but silence. It’s how it’s supposed to be.
Battery – 4.5/5 Almost Perfect
Positive Vibration XL have enough battery to last about 1 day. Give or take a couple hours depending on how loud the volume. Also the USB-C quick charging is fast and the LED indicator lets you know how much battery is left.
24-hour battery capacity is plenty of power for even the most extreme users. Circumaural (over-ear) headphones today are big enough to store bigger batteries than wireless earbuds.
You charge them with the latest USB-C technology. And the charging cable is included in the package.
It takes around 2 hours to charge them up fully, and with a quick-charge function, you get 4 hours of music for a 10-minute charge. It’s pretty great.
Durability – 4.5/5 Almost Perfect
Positive Vibration XL are well-built, sturdy headphones with stainless steel and aluminum construction that folds. They feel nice in the hands and show no signs of weakness except the limited flexibility of the headband.
You can have little complaints about the build quality. The materials are top-notch, they’re well put together and everything feels like it’s been manufactured to detail.
There’s some heft to them, probably due to the metal construction. The outside earcups are polished plastics with wooden emblems that give off a premium feel.
The earpad cushions are covered by soft faux leather, and even the cables are braided in fabric with considerable strain relief.
Even the control buttons feel high-quality, with a rubbery cover and “clicky” feedback.
However, the only thing you can be a little concerned about is the somewhat inflexible headband. You can’t stretch it as much as with some other headphones, and when you do, it creates rickety noises. Like if the plastic is rubbing against each other.
Warranty: 2-year limited warranty
Features – 4/5 Great
The headphones come with all the usual features of Bluetooth headphones. You get reliable wireless connection, LED battery indicator, built-in controls, and microphone, plus fast charging and in-line controls when need be.
You get everything you can expect for the price. Bluetooth works without problems. The built-in controls are easy to use and control songs, volume, phone calls, and voice assistant support.
How’s the microphone quality?
It’s the same as with other built-in mics. You can hold a normal phone conversation in a quiet room, but in louder places, it becomes unusable.
Also, the other person will know you’re using a headset since your voice is a bit muffled.
There is no app support, and the in-line remote has only 1 button with basic functions. You can’t change songs or control volume, other functions work.
Also, the LED indicator tells you the battery level, it blinks when the headphones are on, and when you put them in pairing mode.
There’s also a tone prompt that lets you know when the headphones are turned on/off and when the battery level is low.
Even so, to call up the voice assistant is rather difficult. According to the user manual, you have to press and hold the middle button for 3 seconds, but ours just shut down.
The only real accessory is the soft carrying bag that’s big enough to store in collapsed headphones. Plus, you get the charging and AUX cable, but those are standard in the category.
Sound – 4/5 Great
They sound balanced with slightly pronounced bass and crisp highs. It’s suitable for all music genres and will satisfy even more demanding consumers.
Still, the bass isn’t super powerful, like with Beats headphones, for example, it’s more subdued but a keen ear will hear a slight emphasis. It has a nice punch and even some rumble.
The vocals are the centerpiece and come out surprisingly lifelike. It’s a nice blend close to natural sound that will delight most people.
Even so, the soundstage is pretty tiny for over-ears. You don’t get the same spacious sound as with some other higher-end headphones.
Also, the max volume isn’t dangerously high, but still enough to impact your hearing if you’re not careful. The good thing is the headphones don’t distort or become sibilant even at high volume.
Clear highs, punchy bass, and open vocals make for enjoyable sound quality.
We only noticed one thing. If you play a song with lots of sub-bass (Hans Zimmer – The Dark Knight at 3:30 mark) and you change volume, it creates pops in the drivers. But it doesn’t do that in any other music, so no big deal.
Why Buy House of Marley Positive Vibration XL?
House of Marley Positive Vibration XL are one of the best wireless headphones for the price right now. Well built, reliable, with excellent battery performance and high sound quality.
If you want wireless over-ear headphones that you can use on the go, then these are perfect since they’re collapsible, and they fit tightly on the head (harder to fall off during movement).
Using recyclable materials and environmentally friendly packaging, plus some of the buying money goes for planting new trees, these are truly a guilt-free purchase.
Add an audio quality that will make most people happy with full Bluetooth functionality, and these become an attractive proposition.
To get high-quality Bluetooth headphones under $10, and so something for the environment, check out the House of Marley Positive Vibration XL.
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