The Panasonic HC800 sits on top of the Japanese manufacturer’s range of headphones in the United States. At a quick glance, the over-ear, noise cancelling headset is designed primarily with iPhone and iPad-toting road warriors in mind.
In regards to headphones, Panasonic has established a reputation for offering high-quality, keenly-priced headsets. The HC800 appears to fit the same mold as its price tag undercuts some of the heavy hitters in the segment.
The Panasonic HC800 headphones ship in a well-appointed retail package. It includes a nice-looking hard carrying case finished in perforated faux leather, an airplane adaptor, and an AAA battery to power up the noise-cancelling trickery.
A look at the retail package
Overall, the retail package of the HC800 has the user fully covered in terms of additional accessories. This is no surprise considering its price bracket.
Design and build quality
The design of the Panasonic HC800 headphones matches their target audience. That said, the headset looks “grown up” and understated. The large Panasonic logo on the headband is the only visual element to catch the eye.
Panasonic HC800 in the flesh
Despite their relatively unassuming looks at first glance, the HC800 headphones are not lacking in attention to detail. Their earcups feature different texture patterns which include fine circular patterns in the middle, surrounded by tiny perforated dots. Both design elements look really nice and keep fingerprints and smudges away.
Build quality is exceptional. The Panasonic HC800 headphones are among the most solidly built offerings I have experienced. They look and feel solid and ready to take on all the use and abuse a heavy user might subject them.
The detachable 3.5 mm cable and its connectors are solid like the rest of the headset. The device connector is L-shaped, therefore not prone to damage.
The Panasonic HC800 headphones are made for long stretches of use and have the ergonomics to show. Despite its imposing physical measures, the headset weighs a highly-acceptable 247 grams.
Their earcups enclose the ears without applying unnecessary pressure. The same goes for the thick headband – it is not overly tight, so it doesn’t cause any fatigue.
The single AAA battery is located under the right earcup and is easy to access. It is quoted to last for 40 hours, so you won’t have to access it too often.
A look under the battery cover
The three-button remote is designed specifically for iOS devices. Only the middle, pause/play button works on Android devices. The 1.5m-long cable is unsurprisingly tangle-free.
The Panasonic HC800 headphones pack 40 mm driver units. Their impedance varies between 17 Ohms with the noise cancelling off and 19 Ohms with the feature on.
The headset’s sensitivity varies too. It is 92 dB with NC off and 94 dB with it switched on. Frequency response ranges between 10 Hz and 25 kHz in all cases.
Noise reduction works as expected and noticeably reduces the amount of background noise during playback. It utilizes enhanced feedback-cancelling tech and has a wide range effect. The feature is activated via a switch located on the left earcup and has a blue light indicator.
A the noise cancelling switch and indicator
The real-life sonic experience delivered by the Panasonic HC800 headphones falls right in line with their premium aspirations. The handset offers a well-balanced sound signature where the lows, the mids, and the highs complement each other as opposed to trying to take over the overall experience.
The bass output of the HC800 is powerful, yet pleasantly soft. It leaves plenty of space for the more subtle percussion elements in a song to shine when available.
The highs and the mid-range sound fresh and vibrant. Overall, the HC800 delivers one of the best-rounded sound signatures in its highly competitive class. The headset’s breadth of sound abilities covers everything from house music, through classical pieces, all the way to watching movies and playing games.
Sound quality of the headset during phone calls is stellar. I found nothing to frown at on this instance.
The Panasonic HC800 over-ear headphones are a compelling combination of serious looks, solid build quality, and capable, well-rounded sound signature. They are a great alternative to the better marketed options out there and deserve a sport on the short list of anyone looking for this type of audio companion.
At $229.99, the HC800 is well-priced too. It undercuts the similarly equipped and sounding Bose QuietComfort 15 and Beats Audio Executive by almost $100 without skimping on either quality or sound.
The Panasonic HC800 headphones are available in the manufacturer’s online store.