Packing Travel Technology

COWIN Headphones Review: Affordable Noise-Canceling Comfort

[st_content_ad]If you’re a frugal and frequent traveler like myself, chances are you own very few material things that are more expensive than a round-trip plane ticket. With every major purchase I make, I tend to compare it to the cost of a trip I could have taken instead. Travel addicts with a budget are a lot more likely to find ways to spend less money on everything that’s not travel, especially non-necessities.

That’s why when I finally decided recently to take the plunge on a pair of wireless noise-canceling headphones, I was shocked to find out the name brands I was familiar with, like Beats or Bose, cost hundreds of dollars. I wasn’t willing to pay that much just for headphones to use on a plane. I wouldn’t be on a plane again for a long time if I did.

I knew there must be a comparable option that costs a lot less, and that’s what I found in COWIN’s SE7 Active Noise Cancelling Wireless Bluetooth headphones.

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COWIN headphones se active noise-canceling wireless

Price and where to buy: This wireless, streamlined iteration of COWIN headphones are $110 on Amazon or $120 on COWIN’s website (at time of writing). Earlier versions of COWIN headphones start around $60.

How the SE7 Active Noise Cancelling Wireless COWIN Headphones Rate :

  • Usefulness: 8/10. A whopping 30 hours of battery life, APTX 5.0 Bluetooth that pairs easily and automatically after syncing to a device for the first time, and impressive QuietBalance noise-canceling power make these foldable headphones perfect for travel. The noise canceling on COWIN headphones even turns on and off with the flip of a switch so you can reserve battery power. My personal favorite part is the buttery-soft ear cushions. They also have easy-access buttons on the ear base for quick volume and Bluetooth commands.
  • Value: 7/10. You really can’t beat the price of COWIN headphones for the quality of what you’re getting. The comfort and noise-canceling power make the low price tag surprising, but the overall sound quality is somewhat of a trade-off. Although the sound is generally good, these headphones are not quite as bass-thrumming as over-$300 headphones are. They do come close, especially when listening without the noise-canceling (read: background white noise) turned on. With noise-canceling on, though, you’ll need to turn the volume up a little higher than usual to get the bumping undertones you might be used to. Plus, noise canceling is more useful when you’re listening on a low volume, anyways. That could be a deal breaker for some.
  • Durability: 9/10. The sleek and sturdy adjustable headband on COWIN headphones stays in its adjusted state thanks to stainless steel that clicks into place—solving a problem I’ve experienced with other adjustable noise-canceling headphones. After months of wearing these while traveling and at work, I’ve noticed no major scratches and they haven’t shown any technical issues. The uber-cushiony ear padding hasn’t deflated at all.
  • Portability: 8/10. COWIN headphones are foldable for easy storage, and come with a sleek zippered case.  In general, noise-canceling headphones are always going to be clunkier than ear pods or wired earbuds, but going wireless on a plane is life-changing, and you’ll never want to go back.
  • Cool Factor: 9/10. I love the expensive-looking black matte of my COWIN headphones, and they’re also available in other colors. This active version is sleeker and more streamlined than the original retro-looking COWIN styles, making them look more expensive than they actually are.

Final Verdict: if you’re looking for a generally good sound quality that might carry a slightly less thumping bass than the most-expensive headphones out there, COWIN headphones are a game-changing travel accessory, and a steal.

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Editor’s Note: Reviews are based on usefulness, portability, durability, value, and “cool factor.” Some review products are sent to us free of charge and with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions, positive and negative, and will never accept compensation to review a product. If you have any questions or comments concerning our reviews or would like to suggest a product for review, please email us at

By Shannon McMahon

Editor Shannon McMahon is always planning her next trip and often writing in her travel journal. Follow her on Twitter @shanmcmahon_ and on Instagram @shanmcmahon.

Shannon joined SmarterTravel in 2015. A former news reporter, she's lived in the south of Spain, spotted elephants in Sri Lanka, gone spelunking in the Caribbean, hiked Jordan's Petra Basin, interviewed Sao Paulo's Michelin-Star chefs, and explored China via bullet train. Travel trends, news oddities, and her visits to up-and-coming destinations are some of her favorite things to write about.

Her stories have also appeared online on USA Today, The Sun, Huffington Post, Business Insider,,, and more. Her educational background is in journalism, art history, gender studies, Spanish, and film. She's been quoted as an expert travel source by CNBC,, MarketWatch, The Washington Post, USA Today, and more.

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