We tested a number of active noise canceling headphones. If they have one thing in common, that's the high price. It is a premium feature that is usually only found on high-end headphones and is used in conjunction with Bluetooth connectivity for maximum comfort on the go. The product we are testing here – the Claw ANC7 noise canceling headphones – contradicts these two standards.
Priced at Rs. At 3,790, the Claw ANC7 is one of the cheapest headsets you can buy today with active noise cancellation. We put this pair of wired headphones to the test to find out if it was actually possible to get good noise reduction for a limited budget. Here is our review.
Claw ANC7 design and specifications
It's easy to assume that active noise cancellation and wireless connectivity go hand in hand, but the two are not interdependent at all. The Claw ANC7 earphones are the first, but not the last, headphones. This is a headset with active noise cancellation, which is connected to a source device via a 3.5 mm plug. There is a battery module on the headset that supplies the active noise cancellation and monitor mode with power, apart from a slight gain.
The earphones are equipped with a rubber-coated cable, which is divided into the left and right channels above the battery and the control module. The right side has a separate inline remote control with three buttons and a microphone. The earphones have wings for a secure fit and specially shaped earplugs. The earphones are mostly made of plastic, but have a metal housing with microphones for noise reduction. The outer metal plates have concentric circular patterns, the appearance of which we liked very much.
On the metal control module you can see a clear claw logo as well as a slider for active noise cancellation and a button for monitor mode. There is a micro USB port on the bottom of the module for charging. A small indicator lamp next to the slider shows when the device is switched on and how the battery is when charging. A single rubber cable leads from the module to the 3.5 mm plug of the Claw ANC7.
The headphones weigh about 23 g and we found that they are comfortable to wear for long periods of time. The fit is secure and we were satisfied with the passive noise isolation of the earphones even without activated noise cancellation. We noticed a lot of cable noise with the thin cables above the module, which also had a certain effect on noise reduction – more on this in the next section.
The sales package contains two pairs of wings for the earphones, three pairs of earplugs, a short micro-USB cable for charging and a small carrying case for the headphones. The Claw ANC7 earphones have 13 mm drivers, a frequency range from 10 to 22,000 Hz and an impedance of 32 ohms.
The 95 mAh battery in the module ran for approximately 15 hours with noise cancellation on and occasional monitor mode used. A full charge took a little less than an hour, but a five minute charge is said to give up to two hours of active noise cancellation.
Claw ANC7 performance
Although priced at Rs. 3.790, the Claw ANC7 is an inexpensive pair of core earphones that would compete with options at prices around or below Rs. 2,000 were not for active noise cancellation. This increases the attractiveness of the headphones both in terms of the actual functionality and in terms of the perceived improvement in the sound quality. We tested the headphones with an Apple iPad mini (2019) and OnePlus 7T Pro (Review). We used Spotify, YouTube Music and our collection of high-resolution audio tracks.
We started with Netsky's Rio, and it was clear from the start that the headphones had a classic bass-oriented sound signature. The bass was audibly strong, but did not have the same sensory and reverberating effects that we have seen with some competing affordable headphones. Aside from this lack of punch, the sound was pleasant and provided a decent listening experience with most popular genres.
Increasing the volume and listening to more percussive tracks like Fake Awake by Andy Moor emphasized the lows even more, but focusing on the bass and subbass elements meant that the middle section was not as detailed or pronounced as we would like. There was a slight spike in the treble, but the tonal signature of these headphones is defined by how they handle bass.
The Claw ANC7 earphones usually benefit from better quality recordings or better developed audio tracks. Listening to Thom Yorke's Not The News showed us an insightful and clear side of the headphones that we hadn't heard in any other track. The sound stage had a hint of quality that was revealed with the right kind of source material. However, we felt that the sound was broadly what we would expect from wired headphones with prices around Rs. 2,500 or so.
Active noise cancellation is of course the main feature of the Claw ANC7 and does a good job. While we can't keep up with premium noise canceling headsets, of course, we've achieved a decent level of noise cancellation with the ANC7. Noises such as the hum of the air conditioning in our office or the traffic and the general humming of the street were much quieter when noise canceling was switched on, and the headphones managed to do this without hissing or interference.
In addition, noise reduction not only made it easier to listen to music, but also gave the headphones a slight boost. While the headphones sound good when noise cancellation is switched off, volume and sound quality are significantly improved with this amplification.
Cable noise turned out to be a problem here. Despite the quality of the noise cancellation, the cables were combed against our clothing when moving around, which resulted in interference that nullified the effect of the noise cancellation. This was somewhat covered up during music playback, but just being able to sit still is not something you can expect from these headphones.
With music at high volume, the cable noise is a little easier to ignore. However, another problem with the volume was found in the headphones – sound loss. Even about 80 percent of the tracks we heard were clearly audible to people around us. The distinctive intro hook of Freed From Desire by Gala was even heard (and recognized) by people sitting about a meter away.
There is also a monitoring mode that is controlled by a single button on the module. This significantly reduces the volume of the playback and activates the microphones on the earphones so that outside noise can enter, similar to the transparency modes for various other earphones and headphones. It worked well for us, but reducing the volume meant that it was only suitable for times when we needed to talk to someone, rather than listening to music safely while ensuring that you know what's going on around you ,
The Claw ANC7 also worked well for voice calls with clean sound on both ends of the call.
You usually have to pay a lot of money to actively suppress headphones or headphones, which makes the Claw ANC7 something special. At Rs. 3,790, this is one of the cheapest noise canceling headsets you can buy, and it does a good job, too. Problems like cable noise and sound loss at high volumes put an end to this otherwise decent pair of earphones.
Picking up the Claw ANC7 might be worth it if you don't have a large budget and need active noise cancellation – this will improve your commuting and could also come in handy on flights. There are definitely better sounding wired earbuds for this price or less, like the RHA S500i, which is better options for you if you can do without noise cancellation.
Price: Rs. 3,790
- Good design, comfortable
- Decent noise cancellation and battery life
- Detailed sound stage
- Annoying cable noise
- Sound loss at high volume
Reviews (of 5)
- Design / comfort: 4
- Audio quality: 3.5
- Value for money: 3.5
- Overall: 3.5