The Cowin E8 are decent mixed-usage headphones with good noise cancellation. They're better-built than the other Cowin headphones we've tested, and their isolation performance is suitable for commuting in noisy environments. Unfortunately, they have a fairly bulky and cumbersome design that won't be for everyone, and they may sound a bit too muddy and boomy for more critical listeners. They also leak a lot at high volumes.
The Cowin E8 are decently well-designed headphones with a good build quality, comfortable pads and easy to use controls. They're a little bulky and cumbersome and protrude quite a bit once on your head, but their design feels a lot more durable and more premium than the Cowin E-7 and Cowin E-7 Pro. They're also a little tight for some listeners, but the amply padded earcups help reduce some of that clamping sensation. Unfortunately, the ear cups are not very breathable which will make your ears warmer than most closed-back designs after an hour's worth of listening. They also look a little cheap in some parts especially compared to headphones within their price range like the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2.
The Cowin E8 look a lot more high-end than the Cowin E7 and the E7 Pro. They have larger ear cups than the previous models, and a sturdier headband, that makes use of gold or silver accents (depending on the color variant you choose) to make their design feel more premium. The ear cups are well padded, and the hinge design looks good and somewhat reminiscent of the Parrot Zik 3.0. Unfortunately, the ear cups and the buttons still look a bit cheap when compared to other headphones in their price range.
The Cowin E8 are comfortable, well-padded headphones. They are a bit heavy and slightly tight on the head. The ear cups also have a narrow opening that may not fit as well around all ears despite being fairly large ear cups when compared to other closed back design. On the upside, if they fit well around your ears, the amply padded cups are comfortable enough to wear for hours. You will most likely feel the lack of breathability before the fatigue caused by the tight fit. The headband is also decently well padded, but the pads are not as soft or as comfortable as the ear cups.
The Cowin E8 have a fairly efficient control scheme with good feedback. They provide all the essential functions for wireless noise-canceling headphones; call/music, track-skipping, volume controls and a dedicated button to turn the noise cancellation on and off. The power button also initiates the pairing procedure if you press and hold when turning the headphones on. The buttons are a little small and cramped on the right ear cup which isn't always as easy to use but overall it's a good control scheme that's pretty intuitive once you get familiar with the layout of the buttons.
These headphones get fairly hot during longer listening sessions which may get a bit bothersome and may force you to take breaks during your listening session. The ear cups are larger than most but not as deep as you would expect. That, combined with the relatively narrow opening of the pads means that if they seal your ears correctly, they will obstruct a lot of airflow and make your ears warmer than typical closed-back designs. They will not be suitable for high-intensity activities like running and sports.
The Cowin E8 have bulkier and thicker ear cups than most closed-back wireless over-ears. The ear cups lay flat but it doesn't save that much space, and they do not fold into a more compact format. This makes them bulky, cumbersome headphones that will be a hassle to carry around on your person if you do not have a bag.
The Cowin E8 are better built than the Cowin E7 and the E7 Pro. They have larger and thicker ear cups that look and feel more premium than that of the other Cowin models. The headband is also a bit sturdier with a metal frame that makes them decently flexible yet durable enough to handle the wear and tear of using them on a daily basis. The hinges, however, are durable as some of the other wireless headphones we've tested in the E8's price range. They connect to only one side if the ear cups which would have been fine if they were made out of metal like the parrot Zik 3.0 but since they are plastic they will most likely be the most susceptible part of Cowin's design. Unfortunately, the buttons also look and feel a little cheap.
The Cowin E8 are moderately stable headphones thanks to their tight fit. They will stay put during more casual listening sessions, but the large protruding ear cups will sway a lot and may slip off your ears during more demanding activities. They will not be the best headphones to run with or for sports but should be fine for most day to day use cases.
The Cowin E-8 is an average sounding pair of closed-back over-ear headphones. These headphones have a powerful, and consistent bass, an even and well-balanced mid-range, and great imaging, making them a decent choice for fans of bass and bass-heavy music. However, their bass is a bit hyped and muddy, their mid-range is slightly overpowering and cluttered, and their treble is rather uneven. It lacks detail and brightness but could also sound too sharp on uncertain frequencies, making them a sub-optimal choice for vocal-centric music.
The Cowin E8 have a sound profile similar to the original E-7, but better balanced. However, it sounds noticeably different from the E7 Pro, by having a more pronounced lower mid-range and a less-pronounced lower-treble, making it a bit heavier in bass and darker sounding in comparison.
The Cowin E8 have an above-average bass. LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 13Hz, which is great. Low-bass, responsible for the thump and rumble common to bass-heavy music is under target but just 1dB. However, mid-bass, responsible for punch and body, and high-bass, responsible for warmth, are overemphasized by more than 4dB. This makes the overall bass of the Cowin a bit too heavy and muddy.
The mid-range is good. Low-mid is even and flat but overemphasized by more than 3dB. This thickens vocals a little bit and adds some clutter to the mix. Mid-mid is also over our neutral target by 2dB, which along with the hyped low-bass, makes the sound of the Cowin a bit mid-rangy.
The Cowin E8 have a decent treble range performance. Low-treble is even, but consistently under our neutral target by 5dB. This has a negative effect on the detail and articulation of vocals and other lead instruments. The sharp peak at 5.5KHz makes certain frequencies in vocals, leads, and cymbals noticeably sharp and piercing.
The Cowin E8 have very good frequency response consistency. In the bass range, the maximum deviation across our five human subjects is less than 1dB, which great. The also have a very consistent delivery in the treble range, below 10KHz, and the response doesn't change much across multiple re-seats and positions.
The imaging performance of the E8 is great. Weighted group delay is at 0.29, which is good. The GD graph also shows that almost the entire group delay response is within the audibility threshold. This results in a tight bass and a transparent treble reproduction. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit were very well-matched in amplitude, frequency and phase response. This ensures an accurate placement and localization of objects (voices, instruments, video game effects) in the stereo field.
The E8 have a sub-par soundstage. The PRTF graph shows a decent amount of pinna activation, however, the interaction is not accurate, and there's not a 10KHz notch present either. This and their closed-back design suggest a soundstage that is perceived to be located inside the listener's head, as opposed to in-front.
The harmonic distortion performance of the Cowin E8 is ordinary. The overall amount of THD produced is elevated throughout the range and shows a couple of spikes in the treble range. However, there is not a jump in THD present at 100dB SPL, which is good.
The Cowin E-8 ANC have a pretty good noise canceling performance but leak quite a bit at moderate to high volumes. They cancel enough noise to be a suitable option for loud environments and commuting. Unfortunately, they are also quite leaky which will be distracting to anyone in your vicinity, especially in quieter conditions. They may not be the ideal option for the office, but on the upside, they isolate way more than the other Cowin headphones that we've tested so you won't hear the ambient chatter if you're playing a little music.
The Cowin E8 have a good isolation performance. With the ANC (active noise cancellation) enabled, they achieve more than 17dB of isolation in the bass range, which is quite good. This means they can cancel out the rumble of airplane and bus engines to a good degree. In the mid-range, important for blocking out speech, they isolate by more than 20dB, which is very good. In the treble range, occupied by sharp sounds like S and Ts, they isolate by 36dB, which is also good.
The leakage performance of the E8 is sub-par. The significant portion of their leakage is spread between 400Hz and 6KHz, which is a broad range, spanning both the mid and treble ranges. However, the overall level of the leakage is not too loud. With the music at 100dB SPL, the leakage at 1 foot away averages at 47dB SPL and peaks at 60dB SPL, which is a bit louder than the noise floor of an average offices.
The Cowin E-8 have a mediocre integrated microphone. In quiet environments, speech recorded or transmitted with this mic will sound relatively thin, and noticeably muffled and lacking in detail. In noisy situations, it will struggle to fully separate speech from background noise even in moderately loud environments, like a busy street.
The recording quality of the microphone is mediocre. LFE (low-frequency extension) of 247Hz suggests that speech recorded/transmitted with this mic will sound relatively thin. The HFE (high-frequency extension) is at 3.5KHz, resulting in the speech to lack detail and sound a bit muffled. The response between the LFE and HFE points is rather uneven too, negatively affecting the intelligibility of speech.
The integrated microphone of the Cowin E8 is mediocre at noise handling. In our SpNR test, it achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of 16dB, indicating it is best suited for quiet environments, and they may struggle to fully separate speech from ambient noise even in moderately loud places.
The Cowin E8 have a decent battery life, but like the E7 and E7 Pro, they are slow to recharge. On the upside, they can be used passively and while charging, which is nice. However, there is no companion app and the sound cannot be customized.
There is no companion app and the EQ cannot be customized.
The Cowin E8 have disappointing connectivity. They have an excellent wireless range even when obstructed. Unfortunately, they don't support NFC unlike the E7 and E7 Pro, so they are a bit more complicated to pair. Also, like most Bluetooth headsets, they have too much latency to be used for watching videos.
The Cowin E8 support Bluetooth to a single device only. Unlike the E7 and E-7 Pro, they do not support NFC and must be paired manually.
The Cowin E8 can be used wired, great for while they are being charged or if the battery dies. There is no in-line mic or remote, so they can be used with any device but only for audio.
There is no base or dock for the Cowin E-8. If you want a good wireless headset with a dock, check out the SteelSeries Arctis 7.
The Cowin E8 have an excellent wireless range, both indoors and out, slightly surpassing both the Cowin E-7 and E7 Pro.
These Bluetooth headphones have very high latency when used wireless. The latency is too high for watching videos. They can be used wired as well, in which case the latency is essentially zero.
The Cowin E8 are slightly better headphones for commuting and mixed usage than the Cowin E7 headphones. They have a decent build and sound quality although they do look a little cheap in some parts and their audio reproduction can be a bit muddy and boomy. On the upside, they have a great wireless range and fairly long battery life. Their bulky and somewhat cumbersome design will not be for everyone and they lack a bit of polish and features compared to some of the headphones below.
The Skullcandy Hesh 3 are a better wireless headset overall than the Cowin E-8. They have a better balanced and more exciting bass-heavy sound that doesn't drown instruments and vocals or sound boomy like the Cowins. They're also more lightweight and portable but not as well-padded. Unfortunately, they're not noise-canceling headphones like the E-8, so they are much worse in loud, noisy conditions. If you need more isolation for your commutes, then get the Cowin, but the Hesh 3 are the better-sounding headset overall with a more polished design that doesn't look as bulky on your head.
The Cowin E7 Pro are slightly worse for mixed usage than the E-8 and also have weaker noise isolation. They have a longer battery life and a bit brighter and more detailed with instruments and vocals than the E-8. They're a bit cheaper, however, they do not sound as clear or as detailed with instruments and vocals. Unfortunately, they do not cancel as much noise as the E-8's and will not be as suitable for commuting. They're also less comfortable. If you do not mind the slightly bulkier design and the higher price of the E8s then they are the better choice.
The Mpow 059 are also decent mixed usage budget wireless headphones, but they're not as suitable for commuting since they're not noise-canceling like the Cowins. On the upside, they're a bit more comfortable, they have better controls and a more bass-rich sound. If you're going to use your headphones mostly while commuting, then the get the Cowin E-8. However, for a more comfortable design, the Mpows are a good cheaper alternative.
The Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 are more versatile headset than the Cowin E-8 headset. They're comfortable, well-built headphones with a better wireless range and battery life than the Cowins. They have an exciting sound that packs a lot of bass without drowning instruments and vocals or sounding muddy. However they do not isolate as well as the E-8 but make up for it with a tough, durable build quality, a simple and efficient control scheme, and multiple codecs support that makes them suitable for watching movies and gaming. They're easily one of the most versatile over-ear headsets we've tested and they're about the same price as the Cowin, which makes them the better headset overall.