The Samsung Level U Pro are above-average headphones for most use cases. They're decently comfortable in-ears, with a wireless around-the-neck design that makes them stable enough for sports. Unfortunately, their noise isolation is a little weak for loud environments and their build quality feels a bit fragile.
- Comfortable and stable fit.
- Lightweight, around-the-neck design.
- Poor noise isolation.
- Thin and fragile audio cables.
Update 9/28/2017: The microphone has been tested with our new methodology, as explained here
Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.
The Samsung Level U Pro are reasonably well-made headphones. They have a lightweight and wireless around-the-neck design that's sufficiently stable for jogging or exercising. The in-ear buds don't put as much pressure in the ear canal, which makes them slightly more comfortable than regular in-ear models. They're not too cumbersome to carry on your person if you leave them hanging around your neck. However, the neckband is not as flexible as some of the other around-the-neck models so they won't fit into any pockets. Unfortunately, their build quality feels a little cheap and susceptible to wear and tear especially the thin audio cables.
The Samsung Level U Pro have a decently stylish around-the-neck design. The sleek, blue neckband fits well and has a smooth, glossy finish that doesn't irritate the skin or catch on your clothing. The in-ear buds have magnetic backs that stick together to make them more manageable when not in use. The in-ear tips are fairly regular. These headphones look decently well-made but the audio cables, on the other hand, are not retractable and feel a little cheap compared to the rest of the build.
The Samsung Level U Pro are moderately comfortable in-ear headphones as long as you don't mind the around-the-neck design. The neckband is lightweight and flexible so that it won't be too noticeable during long listening sessions. However, if you place the neckband under your clothing, the audio cables that connect to the ear buds will rub against it and transmit the vibration noise to the audio you're listening to. Also, they have pretty conventional in-ear tips, which may be uncomfortable for some.
The Samsung Level U Pro have an efficient button layout and control scheme. They provide call/music, track skipping, and volume controls. The buttons deliver good tactile feedback, although they're a little small for larger hands. However, the button placement might take a bit of time to get used to.
These headphones a have breathable in-ear design. They do not cause any significant temperature increase since they do not cover your ears. They trap a little bit of heat within the ear canal but it's negligible and should not make you sweat more than average. The neckband isn't factored in breathability since they will most likely go over an item of clothing.
These headphones are moderately portable. They're a lot larger than typical in-ear headphones because of the neckband design. However, they are not as cumbersome to carry around on your person as full sized headphones. They easily rest around the neck and can be tucked under your shirt or outfit. Unfortunately, they don't come with a case and won't be portable enough to fit into a pocket.
The Samsung Level U Pro are decently built headphones. The neck band is sturdy yet flexible and won't easily break under physical stress. Unfortunately, the audio cables are a little thin and susceptible to wear and tear compared to the rest of the build. They could snap if they get repeatedly hooked to an item of clothing if you often place the neckband under your outfit.
The around-the-neck design of these headphones makes them considerably stable. They won't fall from your neck if you run or jog with them but depending on how well the in-ear design fits you, the earbuds may get a little loose during strenuous exercise. Also, if the neckband is placed under your outfit, the audio cables can get hooked or tangled and pull the earbuds out of your ears.
The Samsung Level U Pro is an average sounding pair of closed-back in-ear headphones. They have a good, extended, and relatively consistent bass delivery that should be adequate for all genres from classical to EDM and Hip-hop. They also have a well-balanced mid-range and a good treble. On the downside, their bass tends to be boomy, and their mid-range is a bit recessed and cluttered. Also, their treble is on the warm side, resulting in an overall sound profile which is slightly bass-heavy but lacks a bit of clarity and presence on vocals and other lead instruments. Additionally, and like most other closed-back in-ears, they don't have a large and speaker-like soundstage.
The Samsung Level U Pro have a very good bass. Their LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 10Hz, which is excellent. Accordingly, low-bass, where the thump and rumble common to EDM, Hip-hop and film scores sit, is hyped by more than 2dB. This indicates a deep and extended bass with ample sub-bass. Mid-bass and high-bass are virtually flat, but overemphasized by 2dB and 4dB receptively. This adds a bit of emphasis to the bass guitars and kick drums, but makes the overall sound a bit boomy as well.
The mid-range is very good. The response is very even and rather flat, but there is an 8dB tilt from 250Hz to 700Hz, and a 2dB underemphasis from 700Hz to 2KHz. This nudges vocals towards the back of the mix and gives more emphasis to the bass instruments and lower harmonics of lead instruments. The result is a mix that is slightly muddy and cluttered, and vocals that are a bit thick sounding.
The Samsung Level U Pro have a very good treble performance. The 5dB dip in low-treble negatively affects the detail and articulation of vocals and lead instruments, but the effect will be subtle. The narrow 10dB dip at 8KHz will also have a negative but small effect on the presence of sharp sounds such as S and Ts.
The frequency response consistency is excellent. If the user is able to achieve a proper fit and an air-tight seal using the assortment of tips that come with the Samsung Level U Pro, they should be getting a consistent bass and treble delivery with each re-seat.
The imaging is great. Their weighted group delay is 0.12, which is among the lowest we have measured. The GD graph also shows that the entire response is well below the audibility threshold, resulting a fast and tight bass, as well as a transparent treble reproduction. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit were exceptionally well-matched. This ensures an accurate placement and localization of objects (like vocals and footsteps) in the stereo image.
The Samsung Level U Pro, like most other in-ears, have a poor soundstage. This is due to the fact that pinna (outer ear) resonance activation is a big part of creating a speaker-like and out-of-head soundstage, but in-ears don't interact with the pinna resulting in a soundstage that is perceived to be inside the listener's head. They also have a closed-back design, which makes the soundstage less open than that of open-back headphones.
The harmonic distortion performance of the Samsung Level U Pro is very good. In the bass range, the amount of harmonic distortion is very low, and not affected by the level. This suggests that these headphones should be able to handle a few dBs of EQ boost in the bass range before distorting. However, their THD in the treble range is a bit elevated, but still within good limits and shouldn't be audible to most.
The Samsung Level U Pro have a decent isolation performance despite only blocking noise passively. They prevent some high-frequency noise from seeping into your audio with the quality of their seal. However, they don't fit in the ear canal as snugly as some the other in-ear headphones, so they won't isolate as well in loud environments. On the upside, they barely leak, so in noisy conditions, you can mask some of the ambient noise by playing your audio at higher volumes and not worry about disturbing others.
The noise isolation of the Samsung Level U Pro is mediocre. These headphones don't have active noise cancellation, and their performance is similar to most other non-noise-cancelling in-ears. They provide very little isolation in the bass range, which is where the rumble of airplane and bus engines sit. However, in the mid-range, important for cutting out speech, they achieve about 17dB of reduction which is good. In the treble range, occupied by sharp sounds like S and Ts, they achieved almost 30dB of isolation, which is also good.
The leakage performance is great. Not only the overall level of the leakage is quite low, but the range is quite narrow too, limited to 3KHz-8KHz. This results in a leakage that mostly consists of sibilances (sharp sounds such as S and Ts) and will be barely noticeable to people around you, unless you really blast your music in a very quiet place.
The integrated microphone has an average performance. Speech recorded/transmitted in quiet environments will sound very thin and noticeably muffled. It could also sound a bit sharp and piercing in certain situations, but it will be decently understandable to the people listening to it. In noisy situations, the Samsung Level U Pro perform well and are able to separate speech from ambient noise to a good degree, even in moderate and loud environments, such as a busy street.
The recording quality of the mic is sub-par. The LFE (low-frequency extension) of 508Hz indicates a recorded or transmitted speech that sounds very thin. The HFE (high-frequency extension) of 3.6KHz, suggest that speech will lack detail and articulation, but it will still be decently intelligible. The 15dB peak starting at 2KHz, however, could in certain situations (like with our Pink Noise test signal), make the S and T sounds very sharp and piercing sounding.
- 100% SpNR
The Samsung Level U Pro's integrated microphone is good at noise handling. In our SpNR test, they achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of more than 27dB, suggesting that this microphone should be able to handle most situations pretty well, except for very loud environments such as subway station.
The Samsung Level U Pro have a good battery life and decently customizable app. They lasted about 9.5 hours on a single charge and have a good auto-off timer to conserve power whenever you're not using them. They also have a fairly good app that lets you tweak their sound profile to your liking. However, it's only available on Android for now which makes them a bit less customizable for iOS users.
The Samsung Level U Pro have a below-average battery life of 9.45 hours but have few battery saving features. You can stream audio and charge them at the same time. They also have an adjustable auto-off timer via the bundled app. They won't be the ideal headphones if you don't get the chance to charge your headphones throughout the day but their overall battery performance should be good enough for most users.
The Samsung Level app is clean and practical and delivers a good set of features. It has a simple and straightforward interface, two types of graphic equalizers and an adjustable auto-off timer. However, there are no room effects to enhance your audio like some other headphone apps, and the battery indicator doesn't provide enough information. The app is also not available for iOS users which is not ideal.
- 10% Bluetooth
- 32% Wired
- 10% Base/Dock
- 22% Wireless Range
- 25% Latency
The Samsung Level U Pro are Bluetooth headphones with simultaneous multi-device pairing but no NFC support. They have a stable and low latency wireless connection with support for both aptX and aptX(LL). This makes them decent enough option to watch videos or movies provided you find a transmitter dongle that also supports aptX or aptX(LL). On the upside, they also have an above-average wireless range considering their portable size. Unfortunately, they have no other connection option but Bluetooth.
- 79% Multi-Device Pairing
- 20% NFC
- 0% PS4 Compatible
- 0% Xbox One Compatible
These headphones do not have NFC support for Bluetooth pairing but can connect to two devices simultaneously. They also automatically pair to the last synced device once you turn them on.
- 13% Analog
- 9% USB
- 26% PS4 Compatible
- 26% Xbox One Compatible
- 26% PC Compatible
They have no wired option. If you want a good sounding wired in-ear, check the 1More Triple Driver In-Ear.
- 4% Optical Input
- 22% Line In
- 4% Line Out
- 22% USB Input
- 4% RCA Input
- 9% PS4 Compatible
- 9% Xbox One Compatible
- 9% PC Compatible
- 2% Power Supply
- 13% Dock Charging
These headphones do not have a dock. If you want a headphone that's versatile and has a dock, try the SteelSeries Arctis 7. However, it won't be as compact or portable.
The Samsung Level U Pro have a surprisingly great wireless range. They performed well above the average, maintaining a stable connection up to 40ft when the Bluetooth source was placed in another room. Their direct line of sight range, however, is incredible and can easily be recommended for large open offices or to use outdoors. This range is far greater than most wireless in-ear headphones, and it's due in part to the space that the neckband offers for a better, more powerful Bluetooth receiver.
The Samsung Level U pro have a decent latency if you can get a Bluetooth transmitter that supports aptX or aptX(LL). Without the right dongle, they default to SBC which has about 189 ms of latency which is fairly average for Bluetooth headphones but not suitable for watching a lot of video content or gaming.
In the box
- Samsung Level U Pro Wireless Headphones
- USB cable
- Earbud Tips (x4)
Compared to other Headphones
The Samsung Level U Pro have a lot of features and an above-average sound quality that make them decently versatile enough for most use cases. You can customize their sound profile to sound just the way you like but only on Android, which is a bit limiting for iOS users. They do not have the best build quality but they're relatively affordable for their performance and features compared to similar headphones.
The Apple EarPods are more comfortable than the Samsung Level U Pro. They lack a bit of bass but should sound good enough for casual listening, and they're very portable. Unfortunately, they have no convenient active features, like wireless or noise canceling and their open one-size-fits-all design isn't as versatile as Samsung's design. If you just need a pair of wired in-ears for watching videos, then the Earpods are a decent option but for most other use cases, the Samsung are much better.
The BeatsX are versatile headphones with a good sound. They do not have an equalizer but sound better out of the box. They also have a slightly more durable, flexible and portable design that you can put in your pockets or leave dangling around your neck. They are better overall than the Samsung Level U Pro but they're also considerably more expensive so if you're on a tight budget get the Samsung instead.
The Anker SoundBuds Sport are a cheap and affordable sports headset.They're a bit more optimized for working out and exercising but they perform a bit worse for almost all other use cases. They do not sound as good and they have a shorter battery life and wireless range. They're a bit cheaper but if you have a slightly higher budget, get the Samsung instead.
The Jaybird X2 are the slightly older model of the Jaybird lineup. They're one of the most versatile headphones that we've tested with a decent sound, excellent isolation and great active features. They're a bit more stable for sports but do not benefit from the customization options offered by the Jaybird Mysound app like the newer X3 and Freedom models. They also have a slightly weaker battery life since they do not have any auto off features like the Samsung Level U Pro. The Jaybird X2 are mostly discontinued by the X3 but if you can find a pair, they're a bit better overall than the Samsung. Unfortunately, they're also bit more expensive.