The Competent and Low-Cost Noontec Zoro II Wireless
Wireless headphones are hot, hot, hot these days. I'm going to make a concerted effort to cover quite a few in coming months. Here's a start...
I really liked the MEElectronics Air-Fi Matrix2 AF62 but found the replacement product lacking...so it's got to be dropped from the Wall of Fame, and now I need a replacement low-cost wireless headphone. Fortunately, Noontec has just released the Zoro II Wireless ($149) and it's a solid performer. Let's have a look.
Build Quality and Styling
Inexpensive headphones can be pretty hit-or-miss in these areas, but I found the Zoro II Wireless sealed, on-ear headphone to strike a solid balance between cost and build quality. Materials are all synthetic and of medium grade, but the execution is quite good.
Fit and finish on all parts is tight and clean. Moving the ear capsules around produces mild creaking plastic sounds, but no more than might be expected, and I had no problems with noises when worn. The "click" when the folding feature is latched open or when closed is fairly loud, but the detent is quite firm and secure.
I found the overall look of the headphone quite good. The gloss black of the pair I have do pick up fingerprints rather easily, but otherwise the color and finish combinations look good. The Zoro II Wireless is available in black/red and blue/light blue.
The headband ends have an interesting shape that's not too bland, and not too gaudy...stylish but subdued. They look pretty much as good in person as the pictures.
On-ear headphones are never as comfortable as over-ears, but the Zoro II does a good job in this department. Pads are fairly plush and seal well on the ear without undue pressure. These are fairly light headphones and I had no problems with hot spots at the top of my head.
Ear capsule swivels move easily and conform quickly to fit my head. Headband adjustment is detented; moves with the right amount of friction; and remains secure. The headphone fit is a bit insecure on my head with shaking motions, and they don't remain on my head when rising from a pillow. But fit security seems fairly normal for a headphone of this typeyou couldn't jog with them, but normal movements around the office or home will be just fine.
Headband pad appears to be medium grade pleather, and earpads are of medium grade protein leather. The earpad feel is good, and doesn't feel sticky in long listening. In fact, I'd say this is a decent material at this price. You'd have to go to a much more expensive headphone to get better performing materials.
Featuring Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, and apt-X compatibility, the Zoro II Wireless paired as expected and was able to connect to two devices at once successfully. There are voice prompts announcing power on, power off, device connected, and device disconnected. There are no voice indications of battery level or the name of connected devices.
Controls are at the rear of each ear-capsule and are ergonomically position for easy use. The left earpiece has a power button that also functions to instantiate pairing; pause/play media; and answer or reject calls. The right earpiece has two buttons for volume up/down (short push) or next track/previous track (long push).
Range is good, about average. The headset did announce disconnection when too far out of range, and reconnected automatically when back in range. Full battery charge lasts a claimed 35 hours.
The only strange thing I found with the electronics is that when the cable is inserted for passive playback, the electronics remain on and Bluetooth connection remains intact but is not heard. Connecting to the phone with the wire will give you passive playback and phone controls, but Bluetooth remains connected.
The Zoro II Wireless is modestly accessorized with a four foot, flat cable with one button remote, and a soft travel pouch.
Let's have a listen...