The Good: The Cromo NCX-100 are well built, feature-rich headphones that come wrapped in a reasonable price tag.

The Bad: Feels uncomfortable after prolonged use and trebles & mid-range could do with improved definition.

The Bottom Line: A good value purchase for anyone looking for reasonably priced headphones with noise cancellation technology.


Working in a busy and rather noisy office, I often feel the need to ‘zone out’ by putting on my headphones just so that I can focus and get my work done. Well… that, and to avoid listening to the eccentric musical tastes of the other desk next to ours.

Anyway, Lindy’s Cromo NCX-100 headphones were lined up to be exactly what I needed — a modestly priced set of headphones at £100, and feature packed with active noise cancellation and a “bass boost” mode. Here’s how my experience has been with them so far.

In the box

Lindy-Cromo-NCX-100-accessories
Lindy supply a carrying case, karabiner, in-flight and 3.5mm to 6.3mm stereo jack adapters.

Taking in to account the price tag, I was impressed to see that Lindy hasn’t cut corners with the Cromo NCX-100’s accessories. The headphones come nicely protected in a rigid carrying case (see photo here) which has convenient mesh pockets inside — useful for keeping the accompanying 3.5mm to 6.3mm headphone jack adapter and 1.4m audio cable.

Design & Build Quality

Let me put this in perspective: on a train packed with colourful and stylish Beats by Dre headphones, I’m not sure how confident I’d be wearing the NCX-100 headphones. It’s not that I don’t like the soft touch plastic finish Lindy have used — in fact, it’s one of the nicer parts of the headphone design — but the sheer bulk and protrusion of the ear cups is enough to put me off any kind of public use. For me anyway, these are headphones for home or office use, and in fairness, those are the suggested usage scenarios that Lindy mention on their website anyway.

That aside, it’s easy to appreciate the NCX-100’s strong build quality once you have them in your hand — and despite the trade-off being a bulky design, there’s a lot to like about the headphones. The soft touch finish for instance gives them a nice comfortable feel in the hand, the headband and hinges feel well strong and well contructed, and the ear pads have a plush, soft texture to them.

So, leaving aside the large ear cups, I’m really impressed with Lindy’s work with design & build quality.

Battery compartment, headphone jack and the NCX-100’s ANC & bass controls.

The NCX-100’s foldable hinges make them easily transportable, and on the right ear cup you’ll find a switch that allows you to alternate between an ANC (Active Noise Cancellation) mode and “bass boost” mode, providing an extra 10db of bass. On the left ear cup there’s a small lid where you insert a couple of AAA batteries to power the ANC and bass modes, along with a headphone jack.

The headphone comes with a detachable audio cord with inline controls and a microphone, which is rather useful in case you ever need to replace the cord for any reason.

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Inline controls and microphone on the Lindy Cromo NCX-100.

Comfort

During the first 20-30 minutes of use the NCX-100 headphones feels great to use. It’s a snug fit which creates an immersive listening experience, but rather surprisingly (and unfortunately) I start to feel claustrophobic and hot after more than half an hour of usage. The problem isn’t even the headband — there’s plenty of space around the top of my head — my problem is with the clamping force of the ear cups. After wearing the headphones for a long period of time I start to feel like they’re too overwhelming.

You have to take this part of the review with a pinch of salt though; everyone’s head shape is different and what’s comfortable for me might not be for you.

Performance

While I have my reservations about the NCX-100’s comfort, I was happy with its performance, especially taking in to account the £100 price tag.

The 40mm drivers with neodymium magnets handle bass really well, and as expected, the 10db bump from bass mode provides a satisfying kick and extra dimension to dance, R’n’B and Hip Hop tracks. Trebles and vocals sound respectable enough for the average person, although a more discerning listener may find that the NCX-100 headphones are guilty of sounding slightly muffled at times. Simply put, they could definitely do with a little more definition in the mid-ranges and trebles.

As for Lindy’s Active Noise Cancellation setting, it has been an absolute godsend during my time using it at the office. And paired with the 10db kick from the headphone’s bass mode it allows me to really zone out from the noisy environment.

Verdict

While comfort is one of my criticisms, it is a very subjective thing when it comes to headphones; everyone will have a different point of view based on their ears, head shape and so on. The 10db kick you get out of the bass boost mode will definitely appeal to listeners of bass-heavy tracks, and the headphone’s noise cancellation works well in busy environments.

All in all then, the Lindy Cromo NCX-100 headphones get two thumbs up from me. Taking in to account the feature list, excellent build quality and good quality sound at a price tag of under £100, you really can’t go wrong with these.

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