MIXCDER E10 Review: Bose QC35 II’s on a Budget?
The MIXCDER E10 over-ear headphones have active noise cancellation, great design, and are cheaper than Bose’s QC35 II’s – but are they 100% legit? I just spent several weeks testing them to find out…
As many of our regular readers will know, I’m a big fan of Bose’s QC35 II headphones. For me, they’re the best over-ear noise-canceling headphones on the market right now – for sound quality, for comfort, for battery life (and pretty much everything else in between). But what if you could get most of these features for less? That’d be cool, right? Well, that’s exactly what the MIXCDER E10 headphones are all about.
In this review, I’ll be taking a deep-dive on the MIXCDER E10 headphones, looking at the sound quality, overall performance, comfort, and battery life in a bid to see whether these $89.99 headphones can take on Bose’s QC35 II’s which retail for $345. Prior to testing, the main things I was interested in were battery life, sound quality, and comfort – three key things all over-ear headphones have to nail. Let’s get stuck in and see how the Mixcder E10 did.
Design & Comfort
From the packaging to the overall look and feel of the Mixcder E10 headphones, you get way more than you bargained for. No corners have been cut, everything looks very premium – way more than what you’d expect given its relatively low price point. This was my first pleasant surprise. The second was the quality of the actual headphones themselves; they look and feel extremely premium to the touch. And they’re pretty robust too, making them great for outdoor activities like running.
In the box, you get the following accessories:
- Compact carrying case
- Mixcder E10
- 3.5mm Audio cable
- Micro USB charging cable
Unlike the Bose QC35 II’s, however, you do not get built-in support for voice assistants like Google Now and Alexa. This isn’t a deal-breaker, I seldom use this feature on my QC35 II’s anyway, but it is certainly worthy of note, especially if you want this type of feature present and accounted for inside your next pair of headphones.
Physically, the MIXCDER E10 headphones are fairly minimal in their design; there’s nothing too loud or eccentric going on here. Instead, the headphones are designed to just get out of the way and let you do your thing. The only slightly distracting thing about them is the bright LED light; it’s located in a forward-pointing position and gives you an odd, rather scary appearance when using them in the dark. Again, nothing major though!
The power and volume controls, as well as the ANC switch, are located on the right headphone can. The microUSB charging port is on the left one. You can pause music by clicking the power key and all the buttons, after a few day’s worth of use, are easy enough to find without looking. I admit it took me a solid few days to get confident with the placements, but once they’re locked into your muscle memory it’s all good.
Branding on the MIXCDER E10 is kept to a minimum as well; you have MIXCDER embossed on the bottom of the hinge that connects the head strap to the cans, but that’s literally it. The earphones themselves are made from “protein leather” – whatever that is – and so too is the head strap, the bit that sits on top of your head. In terms of comfort, they’re pretty good, just not exceptional (more on this later, though).
For $89.99 (via Amazon), the MIXCDER E10’s are packing in some pretty impressive specs. You have professional-grade active noise cancellation that removes 96% of low-frequency ambient noise (plane engines, city traffic, cars, high street chatter), Apt-X low latency technology, Bluetooth 5.0 for faster connection and fidelity, and, of course, the power train of the MIXCDER E10 – its 40mm Neodymium Iron Boron speaker units.
Combine all of this and you get a very impressive sounding pair of headphones. The clarity, bass notes, middles, and highs are all present and accounted for – nearly all styles of music I listened to sounded great. I’m mostly rocking out metal or audiobooks and both sound great on the MIXCDER E10, especially with all that lovely noise cancellation. The bass response, for me, however, is a little too punchy for my liking (I prefer a more balanced flat sound, though for bass freaks this will no doubt be a huge plus).
For me, that is really my only gripe with these headphones. I’d like more control over the output, an EQ maybe, just something to tune the low-end more to my liking. Other than that, the MIXCDER E10’s are a fantastic-sounding pair of noise-canceling headphones. For the asking price, $89.99, it’s always going to be hard to dislike these headphones. But with audio quality this good, as well as active noise-cancellation, it is next to impossible to find anything negative about how these headphones sound.
For the price, I’d wager they’re more or less unbeatable in this niche right now. I have not come across a pair of headphones with this level of tech at this price point for a very long time. This is probably the #1 reason why the MIXCDER E10’s are sold out in most places! Don’t worry, Amazon still has plenty of stock – just don’t leave it too long, as they’re selling like hotcakes.
The MIXCDER E10 features a built-in 500mAh battery, and they also support Fast Charge too, whereby you can dump around 80% power into them with a quick 10-minute charge. I’ve been living with and using these headphones for several weeks now and, sadly, the battery life is the only real chink I have found in the MIXCDER E10’s otherwise faultless armor.
I use them A LOT – for hour-long runs every day, when I’m working (so I don’t wake up my son), around the home, and when I’m working out or walking the dog. Basically, I use my headphones a lot. Prior to testing the MIXCDER E10, I was using my Bose QC 35 II’s more or less exclusively. And with them, I charged them maybe once a week? With the MIXCDER E10, I’m charging every couple of days – sometimes more.
The Bose QC35 II’s battery is said to be around 765mAh (no one knows for sure), so this would explain why the QC35 II’s performed so much better. But I think there’s more to it than that. You see, when you pay for Bose engineering, you’re not just paying for sound – you’re also paying for everything else and, yes, that includes power management systems. And it is here where the Bose QC35 II’s perform demonstrably better.
For instance, I’ve never had my Bose headphones crap out on me while I’m out running or at the gym. With the MIXCDER E10, this has happened a couple of times. One time, it said the battery was at 40%, then, about 15 minutes later the battery died, leaving me to do my run in silence. And this is perplexing because you’d assume 40% battery life would be enough to see you through multiple hours of usage…
Mixcder E10 vs Bose QC35 II
And this is where things get interesting, at least from my perspective anyway. I own both these headphones. But given the choice out of the two, like if I could only keep and use one, of course, I’d hold onto my more expensive Bose QC35 II’s. But the reason isn’t just about price – it’s also because the QC35 II’s have better battery life, a more natural sound, and are more comfortable to wear for prolonged periods of time. Mostly, though, it is down to the battery life and the sound quality – the QC35 II’s are just better.
On the subject of comfort, the MIXCDER E10 headphones are pretty comfy to wear but after long periods (over an hour) they do start to press rather uncomfortably on your ears. And the reason for this is that the cans do not cover your entire ear, they merely sit on top of them. My Bose headphones, on the other hand, cover more of my ear and, therefore, apply less pressure to the tops and bottoms of my ears which means they can be worn for longer without any discomfort whatsoever.
Should You Buy The MIXCDER E10?
I know the previous section was filled with negatives, but I’m just being totally straight with you. I wanted to cover everything, warts and all. But I do really like these headphones. For the price, they’re more or less unbeatable when it comes to specs, performance, design, and sound quality. I mean, they’re $40 cheaper than Apple’s AirPods (which don’t even have noise-canceling).
If you’re on a budget, or you don’t want to spend a lot of money, but you do want over-ear wireless headphones with active noise-cancellation, then the MIXCDER E10 – for just $89.99 – are 100% worth a look. Me personally? I’d always go with the Bose QC35 II’s for overall quality, battery life, comfort, and performance – although you will have to pay three times the money for this!
Overall, I really do rate the MIXCDER E10 headphones. For less than $100, they’re easily one of the best (cheap) alternatives to Bose’s QC35 II headphones. And if that’s what you’re looking for, I’d highly recommend you check them out.