Low cost has its price.
If there's one word to summarize the RP-HXD5C's design, it's "uncomplicated." For all its faults, there really isn't much to harp on—the design isn't obnoxious, the features are basic, and there isn't much that can go wrong with them.
However, that's not to say that there aren't faults or shortcomings: Their plastic construction leaves them very susceptible to breakage, and their cables cannot be replaced if they're snapped. It's an entry-level set of headphones, so none of this should surprise you.
If you are looking for a headset for a mobile phone, these are a serviceable option. Punctuated by a remote with volume buttons and a microphone, you can answer calls without ditching your cans—and avoid that strange hold-the-phone-to-your-mouth maneuver you see on the street.
Robot approved, Reviewer... begrudgingly accepted.
One of the most startling things I found with these headphones is that they'd be fantastic if our ears worked more like microphones. Because our ears are much more complicated than that, we don't hear the same thing that our robot does.
For starters, high notes like the last octave of a piano can sound a tad quieter than the rest of your music, but it's not quite enough to ruin the audio for most. It won't satisfy the most demanding audiophiles, but the sound could be worse.
I would like to point out that the distortion can get quite high if you blast the volume, so there's added incentive to control your listening habits. Not only could you damage your hearing, but it will sound bad—fight the temptation to max out your levels!
Notably good isolators for on-ears
Where these on-ears shine is isolation. If you've listened to music on the subway or on the street, you know that outside noise can basically ruin your experience because of a pesky thing called auditory masking (when one sound prevents you from hearing others). Because the RP-HXD5C blocks out high-end noise well, your music should be easier to hear than it would on, say, Apple Earpods.
This makes these headphones a decent option to pair with a smartphone—they can go outside, work with your mobile for calls, and lessen some of the annoyances of doing so. However, because they have somewhat low durability, take special care not to abuse these too much.
Because the RP-HXD5Cs are very light, comfort really isn't an issue unless you're one of the many people who find anything touching your ears to be a hellishly annoying experience. The soft foam doesn't put too much pressure on your head, and is fairly unobtrusive in the long run. Sweat does have a tendency to build up over time, however, so be wary of this potential snag.
They may not be all that durable, but picking the Panasonic RP-HXD5C is hardly a bad decision. As far as on-ears go, we've seen worse at the bargain price point ($89.99). However, unless the isolation is important to you, it may be difficult to justify the price tag for many.
No set of headphones is perfect, and many buy for the convenience—the RP-HXD5C works fine as a smartphone headset that allows you to listen to music, so that may be enough for the entry-level buyer. Just be aware that these aren't very durable headphones, so some may elect to shell out a little bit extra to protect their investment.
So if you're looking to save a bit of money, and you're set on the on-ear design, the RP-HXD5C may be a name you look for when you're at the store. They're not going to dazzle and wow you with stellar audio quality, but they fit their role well.
These headphones would be really good if we were robots—but they're less than stellar for those of us with human ears. But what does that mean? We break it all down for you on this page.
Before the correction was applied, the response of the RP-HXD5C was beautiful, really. Completely flat, with a bit of a rolloff in the upper end. However, human ears don't typically like that, and once the correction for the head and other anatomy is applied, that chart looks a lot uglier.
To wit, that 15dB underemphasis in the 2-6kHz range will make the highest octave of a piano, cymbals, and high harmonics all sound much quieter than the rest of your music. Beyond that, though, the more common lower and mid notes all come in at about the same volume. It may not be to your tastes if you like bassy music, but it lends itself well to equalization if you have an app to handle that.
From 100Hz and up, the distortion coming from the RP-HXD5C is inaudible, but below 100Hz is where you begin to see some horrific THD. Spilling over the top of our graph, you can expect the lowest notes of your music to carry some audible distortion on them.
Distortion doesn't really start to stain your listening experience until you crank your tunes, however. If you were to blast your music or calls at 118.41dB, you'd notice a level of distortion that gets annoying (3%THD), but I caution you to control your volume. You could damage your hearing at that level, so it's not a good idea to test those limits.
If there's a shining point to these headphones, it's the noise they block out. While it may not seem like a hugely important thing to some, isolation prevents annoying things like masking and loudness reduction, so it's very important for headphones to isolate well if you want to take them into noisy environments.
While these don't do much to block out low-frequency sounds like engine noise, higher frequency sounds like people talking around you and incidental noise will be all but eliminated. Happily, this holds true for leakage as well—these cans corral their own sounds effectively.
Meet the tester
Staff Writer, Imaging@cthomas8888
A seasoned writer and professional photographer, Chris reviews cameras, headphones, smartphones, laptops, and lenses. Educated in Political Science and Linguistics, Chris can often be found building a robot army, snowboarding, or getting ink.
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