Finding a decent pair of wireless headphones on a budget is a struggle, at least in this part of the world. But Nokia—of all companies—has decided to step up to the challenge with the Essential Wireless Headphones E1200. Retailing at just Rs. 6,499, is this the best over-ear headphone in its price bracket in Nepal? Let’s find out in this review of the Nokia Essential Wireless Headphones E1200.
Nokia Essential Wireless Headphones E1200 Specifications:
- Body: 197 grams, Anodized matte metal cover, PU leather earpads
- Headphone Type: Circumaural, Over-the-ear
- Transducer: 40mm (Dynamic driver, closed)
- Frequency Response: 20Hz to 20kHz
- Sound Pressure Level (SPL): 106dB (1kHz/1mW)
- Microphone Principle: ECM (Electret Condenser) x1
- Impedance: 32.5Ω (Ohms)
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0 (HFP, AVRCP, A2DP)
- Effective Range: Line of sight approx. 30ft (10m)
- Audio Codec(s): SBC (Sub-Band Codec)
- Active Noise Cancellation (ANC): No
- Controls: Volume up/down, Bass Mode, Power button
- 3.5mm Auxillary Audio Input: Yes
- Battery: 500mAh, Up to 40 hours music playback
- Charging Time: Approximately 3 hours (Micro USB port)
- Color Options: Black, White, Red
- What’s in the box: 1x headphone, 1x 3.5mm to 3.5mm jack, 1x Micro USB cable, Travel pouch, Quick start guide, Official documentations
- Price in Nepal: Rs. 6,499
Nokia Essential Wireless Headphones E1200 Review:
Design & Comfort
- Anodized matte metal cover, PU leather earpads
- Closed-back design, Over-the-ear headphones
Starting with the design, this one bears a classic over-the-ear look. It has arced aluminum earcups alongside a metallic adjustable arm for a customized fit. Here, the padding on the canopy is comparatively softer than the PU (Polyurethane) leather that Nokia has used on the earcups.
As expected, these are not IP-certified to any degree. So, you’re gonna have to be extra careful when it comes to sweats or splashes. Still and all, finding the optimal level of comfort for me has been an unsuccessful journey so far. There’s always a slight trade-off between an overall firm grip and comfort from the canopy.
Plus, its closed-back design combined with the summer heat means that this headphone gets quite warm when putting on for a while. Therefore, if you’re looking for something that you’d be comfortable wearing for long hours, the Nokia Essential Wireless Headphones disappoints. Despite this, considering its budget heritage, I guess we can’t be that critical of it.
Throughout my usage, I’ve had to briefly take it off about every hour or so; so that my ears could take a breather. Anyway, these headphones are completely sealed around the back. As a result, you get a decent level of passive noise isolation as well. If only Nokia had used relatively more comfortable padding or if this headphone didn’t clamp into the ears nearly as tight, it would’ve gotten an easy A.
Lightweight and foldable
Moving on, weighing just 197 grams, this is pretty lightweight though. Plus, it is also foldable so that you can easily carry it around in your backpack. Yet, when folding it up, it is subjected to a concerning “clacking” sound. Regardless, Nokia offers these headphones in three color options: black, white, and red.
I would’ve loved to try out the white variant but that’s not available here and the standard black color option is all you get. Oh, and before I forget—like how modern Nokia branded phones are actually a product of HMD Global, it’s the same with audio accessories as well, including the Essential Wireless Headphones E1200.
But instead of HMD Global, China’s RichGo Technology has secured the licensing rights for Nokia’s wireless headphones. This detail might not be something absolutely pertinent to the quality of the product itself, but as a buyer, it’s crucial that you make an informed purchase decision.
Pairing & Control
- Bluetooth 5.0, 3.5mm auxiliary input
- Dedicated volume, power, Bass button
With that out of the way, let’s get into pairing it with your Bluetooth-ready devices. The Essential Wireless Headphones E1200 feature Bluetooth 5.0 for wireless connectivity while you have the option for 3.5mm aux input as well.
I must say that I’m impressed with the standard of its wireless connectivity since throughout my usage of well over a month, it never gave up on me. No frequent disconnections or loss in signal even when I was about two rooms away from my phone. Likewise, audio delay via the wireless medium is practically non-existent in terms of streaming music or movies here.
Not ideal for competitive gaming
But that’s not to say things are as sound as a bell when shifting our gear to the gaming side of things. I tested multiple games like Call of Duty Mobile and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang with this headphone to see how it fared under the wireless mode.
As you’d expect, the E1200 is not built strong that way. Using the Earbuds Delay Test app, I graphed its latency to be around 120-145 ms. And if you’re unaware of what that number means, allow me to explain.
Audio latency, which is usually measured in milliseconds (ms), refers to the delay between when the sound is created and when you eventually hear it. This drawback remains one of the key reasons people still prefer wired headphones over their cordless counterparts. The aforementioned 120-145ms latency is pretty terrible so competitive gaming on the E1200 via Bluetooth is an absolute no-go.
Aux input for zero latency
However, the 3.5mm aux input effectively eradicates this headache. Nokia ships a 3.5mm to 3.5mm audio cable inside the box itself too, which is fantastic. From practically 0ms latency to its battery-saving properties, I often found myself going the wired route on the Essential Wireless Headphones as well.
Then again, if your phone skips a 3.5mm audio jack, you’re gonna have to use an additional dongle; which ultimately compromises comfortability. Because of its relative inexpensiveness, you won’t find touch control here. On the contrary, all the physical on-board control options are jammed into the left earcup.
First off is the power button itself. Long-pressing it turns the device on or off whereas upon a single press, it doubles as a play/pause button as well. Plus, it lets you pick up or hang up on calls too. Then there’s the single-click “Bass” boost menu (more on this later). By pressing it for around 2 seconds, you can even trigger Google Assistant or Siri.
Finally, the dedicated volume up/down buttons can skip or go back to the previous track beside their inferred control. The buttons are plastic-made, with a dismissable level of etching for easy differentiation. For the longest time, my fingers inadvertently confused between the Bass and Power button. But with time, that issue is no more.
Nevertheless, I would’ve preferred if this headphone paired with a companion app for equalizer settings or customizing the available buttons. While the former can be substituted with third-party equalizers like Eqfy or Viper4Android FX (requires root access), not being able to personalize the buttons’ actions is a mild inconvenience and nothing more.
- 40mm dynamic driver, SBC codec
- 20Hz – 20kHz frequency response
At last, it’s time to get into the audio quality of the Nokia Essential Wireless Headphones E1200. Featuring a 40mm audio unit, the sound output from this headphone is pretty decent for the price. Just don’t expect it to deliver excellent dynamic range or produce balanced lows, mids, and highs.
For the most part, this headphone does a pretty good job for mid-heavy content such as podcasts, sitcoms, and such. And if you trained ears seek high bit-rate audio streaming, these headphones aren’t for you since it only supports the basic SBC audio codec.
Here, listening to some dynamic audio files is enough to conclude its sub-par audio quality. Something like Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain” sounds pretty flat without turning on the Bass mode. The audio separation isn’t that great either while the beat of the drums sounds almost completely flat.
Turning up the bass
In contrast, switching on Bass mode results in a muddy and overwhelming level of bass that overshadows the highs. Nokia E1200 can get fairly loud enough as well although I did notice distortion at max loudness multiple times. As I mentioned earlier, the mids are fine for the most part but in certain instances, can sound a bit spacy—which is a bit odd for a closed-back headphone.
Listening to “Abhimaan” by Albatross, I noticed the E1200 fail to impress me in terms of trebles as well. The minute detail isn’t quite there. But that didn’t stop me from enjoying the music altogether since the vocals sound adequately clear; with a respectable bit of instrument separation.
Bass Mode is too much
Under the Bass mode, rock tunes like “Brain Damage / Eclipse ” by Pink Floyd sound hopeless. Nokia’s EQ profile with heavy bass outshines everything else—although I wouldn’t call the level of bass reproduction itself that enjoyable.
For instance, in Disclosure and Sam Smith’s “Latch”, the first few seconds of the track brings enjoyably thumpy bass. But as soon as the music evolves into its chorus, the vocals and trebles are underpowered by bass.
On the other hand, turning off Bass mode results in an even worse listening experience with the audio sound pretty flat. So, keeping it on is the lesser of two evils; although it would’ve been great if Nokia had offered a middle-ground between them.
Even so, I managed to somewhat level down the excessive bass by tweaking the equalizer setting via Viper4Android FX. But if you don’t have a rooted phone, you can try other equalizer apps or maybe ones built into the music player of your choice itself. Moving on, the audio from the onboard microphone has invited no complaints during my usage.
People on the receiving end acknowledged my voice as clear and loud enough; with rare instances of voice breaks every now and then. Had it equipped a beamforming mics as we see in relatively high-end headphones, things would’ve been so much better, but oh well. In a fairly quiet room, Google Assistant was able to accept my commands accurately as well.
- 500mAh, up to 40 hours playback
Even though the audio quality of the Nokia Essential Wireless Headphones E1200 is hit-or-miss, the battery life on this thing is absolutely bonkers. The company claims up to 40 hours of wireless playback time which more or less corroborated with my findings.
I’d put it on every day to work and it got me a little over 4 days before prompting a battery low message. On average, these pair of headphones lasted me about 35-36 hours when listening at 70-80% volume most of the time.
Disappointingly, Nokia has gone for micro USB charging here—a decision that perplexes anyone who’s purchased a new gadget in recent years. Be that as it may, this is not the end of the world, I guess. During my tests, the E1200 juiced up pretty slow; taking around 2 hours and 47 minutes to get from 5 – 100%.
Wrapping up this review, the Nokia Essential Wireless Headphones E1200 is still a decent value for money. With its classic design, adjustable sound quality, and outstanding battery life, it’s more than fine for casual listening purposes.
And then there’s the added bonus of voice assistant support and 3.5mm audio input. However, because of the average audio output mixed with the discomfort of putting on a closed-back headphone for a while, the E1200 has a hard time standing out against the competition like Soundcore’s Life Q10.
Songs referenced in the Nokia Essential Wireless Headphones E1200 Review:
Nokia Essential Wireless Headphones E1200 Review: Pros & Cons
- Excellent battery endurance
- Nice passive noise isolation
- Lightweight, foldable design
- Stable wireless connectivity
- 3.5mm auxiliary audio input
- Decent microphone quality
- Could get uncomfortable to wear
- The onboard buttons feel cheap
- High latency on wireless gaming
- Unoptimized equalizer setting
- Bass Mode gets over-powering