Designed for iPod, iPad and iPhone by Swedish audio firm Nocs, the NS600 in-ear headphones make a good first impression. From the smart aluminium housing to the chic product packaging – each component is individually wrapped like a hot towel in an Indian restaurant – Nocs definitely has the visual side of things sewn up.
Build quality is generally excellent, although we were somewhat disturbed when the tiny grill on one headphone detached while we were swapping sleeve for only the second time. Hopefully that’s an anomaly, and a replacement pair proved far more robust. Once we’d selected an appropriate sleeve (four for each ear are provided, although for some reason there only seem to be three sizes) we were impressed by the comfortable, secure fit of the Nocs NS600.
There’s a combined remote and mic unit built into the cable, with three (unlabelled) buttons providing all the usual functionality without having to take your player out of your pocket. iPhone veterans will quickly pick up the Nocs NS600’s required combinations: double-click button B to fast-forward to the next track, for example.
One concern with the Nocs NS600 remote, however, is its position: almost at the end of the right-ear cable, and consequently closer to your face than is ideal. You can hardly see what you’re doing, although the absence of labels means you’d be working on touch anyway. You also have to blunder around with your hand until you find the buttons, which meant on more than one occasion that we accidentally pulled out the earphone.
A more severe disappointment, however, was the Nocs NS600 earphones’ sound quality. Even after we swapped the in-ear sleeve, as recommended in the manual – getting a really firm fit seems to help slightly on the bass front – the sound was still thin, tinny and frustratingly light on bass.