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JVC HA-NP50T „Nearphones“

Lightweight, wireless open-ear headphones

In a nutshell

With the HA-NP50T “Nearphones”, JVC add a pair of compact open-ear headphones to its range and, thanks to their open earpiece design, they allow you to be aware of your surroundings and offer a great deal of wearing comfort. Multipoint connections and a high-quality audio codec are supported by the AAC format. Their noise-cancelling microphone technology should also enable clear communication.

Pros:
  • High wearing comfort
  • Lightweight, compact design
  • IPX4 water and sweat resistant earpieces
  • Quick-charging function
  • Multipoint connections
  • Supports the AAC codec
Cons:
  • Voice transmission susceptible to wind noise
  • Volume loss in bass mode
  • No EQ for customised sound settings
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The JVC HA-NP50Ts are worn in front of the ear cup and are held behind the ear thanks to the design of their headband, which provides stability but does not exert any pressure. This makes them extremely comfortable to wear, especially as these IPX4 water-resistant earphones weigh just eight grams per side and are barely noticeable on your head. As the ear canal remains free and not closed as with in-ear systems, you can also interact with your surroundings while listening to the audio, which increases your own safety in many everyday situations and during sports use.

Battery life

At a higher volume setting, the “Nearphones” can achieve a listening time of ten and a half hours. In addition, the earpieces can be fully charged in the case three times and once more to achieve a remaining capacity of another good hour, providing a total runtime of 43 hours. If the headphone batteries are empty, refuelling takes just under two hours, while a ten-minute quick charge provides capacity for 75 minutes. The case’s battery reserve can be restored in three hours using the USB-C to USB-A charging cable supplied.

Operation

These open-ear headphones support Bluetooth standard 5.3, multipoint connections with two devices simultaneously as well as one-sided use in single mode. The wireless connection proved to be stable during our test; it was possible to change floors and walk through several rooms without any problems. There was also a range of 30 metres outside in the garden.

Touch-sensitive controls on the headphone surfaces, which are highlighted, are used for control. One exemplary feature was that gestures such as tapping and holding could be freely assigned via the app and individually customised to suit your own needs. The range of functions of the touch control was also extensive, and in addition to handling phone calls, included muting the microphones, for example. It is also possible to control playback, adjust the volume, skip backwards and forwards through track selection, call up a voice assistant or activate the low-latency mode for computer and mobile phone games. There was also direct access to the JVC HA-NP50T’s three sound modes. Another good feature was that the headphones could be switched on and off manually, and the touch control could be deactivated if required.

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JVC Headphones App

The sound control in the app (Android and iOS) offers three modes to choose from: “Normal”, which is the default setting, “High” and “Bass”. However, it was not possible to make your own settings, which would make an EQ section a desirable addition. As well as the extensive options for configuring the touch control, voice announcements can also be switched on or off, and you can set the desired volume when making calls. Furthermore, the microphone technology and low-latency mode can be activated or deactivated via the app. Firmware updates can also be carried out.

Voice intelligibility when making calls

When communicating with the JVC HA-NP50T, you can hear your own voice completely naturally, thanks to the open-ear design. This results in a more pleasant conversation situation than with closed over-ear or in-ear systems. However, wind and ambient noise also reach the ear freely, something which, above a certain intensity, can make it difficult to understand the caller on the other end of the line. These headphones actively counteracted this problem by automatically increasing the volume, especially in strong winds.

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In contrast, the results on the other side were not convincing, as the voice transmission could hardly be understood above a medium wind strength. Communication was no longer possible, especially when the wind came directly from the front. This worked better with louder background noises, but the intelligibility of your own voice was then also limited. It was particularly irritating for the other person that there was silence during pauses in speech and that wind and ambient noise were suddenly transmitted with the speech. In a quiet environment, however, the transmission of voices could be understood perfectly.

Sound

The JVC HA-NP50T are equipped with dynamic 16mm drivers and have an open, expansive sound impression that conveys a lot of atmosphere when listening to sports broadcasts or live albums. One disadvantage of the open-ear design, however, was the loss of bass components, which was why the lower frequency range was not perceived as powerful and punchy as with many in-ear systems. The lack of low bass was particularly noticeable when listening to music with an affinity for bass, so I would not necessarily recommend these headphones for listening to techno, hip-hop and the like.

The basic sound of the bass reproduction seemed lean but fast and wiry, which meant that content was presented crisply. The mid-range benefited in terms of energy, and this had a pleasantly natural effect and unfolded into the available space. This was particularly noticeable with voices, which were reproduced very clearly and intelligibly both when listening to singing and when listening to podcasts, audiobooks or films. However, the upper registers did not always seem so harmonious. Even if the treble reproduction itself was not overly present, the treble range could be perceived as a little sharp from the medium volume setting upwards.

In high mode, the reproduction was brighter and even more spacious than with the basic sound; this further intensified the perception of the scenery during live broadcasts. The “Nearphones” did not reproduce sibilants concisely; instead, they seemed rather more gentle, and this proved to be an advantage, so listening to live coverage did not become too strenuous.

The bass mode offered a much richer and more direct reproduction. Compared to the basic sound, the lower frequency range reached further down and had more substance, so action-packed media fare and modern music styles were presented in a fun way. However, a loss of volume was noticeable due to the bass compensation, which meant that the output in bass mode had fewer reserves. These limited the range of applications primarily to use in a quiet environment, and this seems to be quite limiting for mobile use.

Conclusion

The JVC HA-NP50T “Nearphones” have a lightweight, compact headband design which offers high wearing comfort, and this gives them many advantages for use in everyday life and during sports, where they provide improved external perception. With the three sound modes, these open-ear headphones also covered a relatively wide range of uses, although they lacked higher reserves of volume in bass mode. There were also limitations when making calls outdoors, as the voice transmission was susceptible to wind noise.

2 months ago by Maike Paeßens
  • Rating: 3.88
  • Sound
  • Handling
  • Price/Quality
  • Function

Technical specifications

  • Ear couplingOpen-Ear
  • Typeopen
  • Transducer principledynamic
  • Weight without cable8 g each, Case 46 g

What's in the box

  • USB-C to USB-A charging cable
  • Charging case

Special features

  • Available in black, green and beige
  • BT version: 5.3
  • BT codec: AAC, SBC
  • BT profiles: A2DP, AVRCP, HFP

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