Phiaton Curve BT 120 NC Review
Bluetooth earbuds with active noise cancelling as a bonus instead of the main feature.
Overall score: 3.3 out of 5 points.
If you’re looking for active noise cancelling earbuds that you can connect with Bluetooth then the Phiaton Curve BT 120 NC are a great choice.
There aren’t many options in the category of wireless noise-canceling earbuds, at least not decent ones.
The Curve earphones come with a lightweight neckband design that’s also resistant to sweat with an IPX4 rating. It makes them perfect for outside and inside use but not great for working out due to the neckband.
Check the Phiaton BT 120 NC if you want decent wireless earbuds with noise cancellation.
PROS & CONS
- Affordable price
- Sweatproof with an IPX4 rating
- Enjoyable sound
- Less effective noise cancellation
- Outdated Micro-USB port
- Mediocre battery life
Phiaton Curve BT 120 NC earbuds are one of the:
|Connection:||Wireless Bluetooth 4.2|
|Frequency range:||20Hz – 20000Hz|
|Cable length:||9.8 inches (25cm) on each side|
|Microphone & controls:||Yes (built-in control and in-line mic)|
|Water-protection:||Yes, IPX4 (sweat-resistant)|
|Battery life:||up to 4.5 hours (8.5h ANC off)|
|Charging time:||Under 2h (quick charging)|
|Active noise-cancelling:||Yes (up to “95%”)|
|Charging cable:||Micro USB|
|Wireless range:||33ft (10m)|
What’s in the Box?
- Phiaton BT 120 NC earphones
- 3 pairs of silicone eartips (S, M, L)
- 2 pairs of ear wings (M, L)
- Cable clip
- User manual
Comfort & Fit – 4.5/5 Almost Perfect
The first thing you notice when you put them on is their amazing comfort.
They’re super light and don’t strain your neck or ears. The silicone ear tips are soft and squishy, so they conform to any ear shape you have.
You can adapt the fit with 3 sizes of tips and 2 sizes of ear wings that attach into earlobes. They keep the buds in even during fast movement so you could use them for sports too.
Though, the neckband isn’t the best for fast sports because it jumps around on your neck. Nonetheless, for medium activity, these are perfectly good.
If you take them on a hike, you’ll soon forget you’re wearing earbuds.
You don’t have to readjust them at all, once you find your perfect fit they stay put. Plus, you’ll always know the right bud from the left one because each has a prominent mark on it.
All in all, Phiaton Curve BT 120 NC are one of the most comfortable neckband earbuds you can find right now with a lightweight design and soft, tight ear tips.
Noise Cancelling – 3/5 Good
Active noise canceling is effective but not as much as with comparable NC headphones.
You’ll hear the cancellation of noise in effect when you turn it on, but the difference isn’t as dramatic as with some of the ANC over-ear headphones or higher-priced alternatives.
The main reason is mediocre passive noise isolation. How is it different? We used the biggest eartips to get the tightest fit possible, but more noise still gets through (compared to other in-ears).
Since ambient noise is getting through the isolation, the noise-cancelling technology can’t remove it all.
Noise isolation can be remedied a bit by using the memory foam eartips (instead of silicone), but that’s an additional cost.
These are decent ANC earphones but not a replacement for noise-cancelling over-ear headphones.
Also, silent hiss sound is present in the beginning when you connect the device or activate/deactivate noise cancellation. It lasts for a couple of seconds and then disappears.
All in all, the company promises removal of up to 95% but that doesn’t mean much. The wireless earphones have okay cancellation to be still called active noise-cancelling earbuds.
Use them in noisy environments but don’t expect too much.
Noise Isolation – 3/5 Good
Passive noise isolation is very important for the overall effectiveness of active cancellation. And, in Curve BT 120 NC it’s only decent.
In-ear headphones usually have great noise isolation, but the same can’t be said for Phiaton Curve.
A decent amount of background noise will get through which means you’ll hear more of your surrounding.
Also, some wind noise is present in windy situations, and noise cancellation doesn’t do much about it.
Bluetooth – 2.5/5 Average
The earbuds don’t have the latest Bluetooth but one of the previous versions, 4.2.
It has the same range of around 30ft (10m), and it can connect to 2 devices at the same time.
Connecting is as easy as holding the power button and finding the in-ears on your phone (or tablet). Once connected, they find your music device when you turn them on automatically.
Moreover, they only support the basic SBC Bluetooth codec which is understandable since these are cheap earbuds.
Battery – 3/5 Good
OK battery performance that could be better.
Now while the promise is 8.5 hours of music per charge, if you use active noise cancelling you’ll only get about 4 to 4.5 hours (depending on volume).
It’s a bit disappointing especially considering neckband headphones tend to have larger batteries.
Nonetheless, if you use only Bluetooth without ANC, then you can use them for up to 8.5 hours.
The good thing is their fast charging.
You get about an hour of battery life with only 5 minutes of charging. And to get a full charge you’ll need around 2 hours.
However, the charging port is still Micro-USB which is now outdated with the introduction of USB-C charging. Phiaton probably thought Micro-USB is good enough for a budget model.
Durability – 3.5/5 Almost Great
Some water-protection with flexible materials but not built like a tank.
Once you take them in your hands, you’ll notice they’re really light and flexible. Made from plastics and silicone, they’ve saved on weight while keeping them durable.
They come with an IPX4 rating. That is effective sweat protection and can even survive a bit of rain but don’t dip them underwater.
The slightly flat cable is tangle-free, and when it connects to the battery packs or earbuds, it’s reinforced with some plastic protection.
All in all, for cheap earbuds these are well made and can compare to headphones double the price.
Features – 3.5/5 Almost Great
The feature that’s standing out the most is the vibrating neckband that vibrates every time you get a call.
It works without activation and as soon as you connect the earbuds to your phone. But the actual utility is kind of questioning. You hear the call anyway, so the vibration isn’t giving any new information.
Additionally, you can make phone calls with the in-line microphone and control music with a built-in 3-button remote as well as a separate button for active noise cancellation (with LED indicator).
The buttons need some getting used to and aren’t so simple to distinguish because of low profile.
Also, the microphone call quality is excellent in quiet environments but if it’s too loud talking is more difficult.
Accessories – 3/5 Good
It’s a budget product that doesn’t come with many accessories.
There’s no carrying case or bag, you only get 3 pairs of eartips, 2 pairs of ear wings, and a cable clip that’s kind of useless.
And, a short Micro-USB charging cable.
Sound – 3.5/5 Almost Great
Considering these are cheap Bluetooth earbuds with ANC they sound good.
The sound is somewhat balanced across the range and doesn’t have any in-your-face issues though, a keen ear will hear a slight lack in clarity, especially at higher volumes.
And volume can get quite high, even unhealthy, with punchy bass and enjoyable vocals.
Since the earphones use Bluetooth and have active noise cancelling technology, you can’t expect sonic fidelity, but for casual everyday use, they sound good.
An average user will be happy with the sound quality due to their low price.
They can play popular, bassy, or calmer classical music at the same level. Sibilance isn’t a problem at least at average volumes.
Also, the soundstage is kind of small which is usual for in-ear headphones.
In the end, the cheap budget earbuds don’t usually sound amazing but instead have a generally enjoyable audio quality for all types of music.
Phiaton Curve BT 120 NC might not have the best noise cancellation or fantastic sound quality, but the combination of Bluetooth technology, ANC, great comfort and durability for a low price make for an attractive offer.
If you’re short on funds and want in-ear headphones that you can depend for everyday use, these might be for you.
More noise cancelling headphone reviews: