If you're on the hunt for an affordable pair of headphones with noise-cancelling capabilities, the Lindy BNX-100XT headphones are well worth a look. Lindy has always been a company that's recognised which way the electronics wind is blowing. From radios in the 1940s, TVs in the 50s and electronic games in the 70s, to the webcams and fibre-optic accessories of today, there's always been a zeitgeisty Lindy product or two. And it's enjoyed particularly notable success with its modest but high-achieving range of headphones.
Today's very best noise cancelling headphones, from the likes of Sony and Sennheiser, don't come cheap. Anyone looking for an option that's a little more budget-friendly may find themselves drawn to these Lindy BNX-100XT. From a distance, they could be a product that commands a premium price – but what are they like when you're near enough to put your head inside them? Here's our full Lindy BNX-100XT headphones review.
Lindy BNX-100XT review: price and battery life
The Lindy BNX-100XT are on sale now, and in the United Kingdom they're yours for a quid shy of £100. As yet there's no confirmation for pricing elsewhere – but given Lindy's long-established pricing policy, we'd be surprised to see them come in at more than $129 in the United States or AU$179 in Australia.
As far as battery life goes, there's really nothing special to report here. Lindy is claiming 30 hours if you hard-wire the headphones to a source, with that number cut in half if you use them wirelessly with the active noise-cancelling switched off. Switch it on and you're looking at more like 12 hours. These numbers don't compare all that favourably with the 40 hours (wireless operation, with noise-cancelling on) the slightly more expensive Urbanista Miami can offer you. In fact, they don't compare all that favourably with any other wireless noise-cancellers we've tested lately. So Lindy is going to have to make up ground elsewhere.
Lindy BNX-100XT review: build quality and design
Nothing about the BNX-100XT, at least as far as their quality of construction or the materials they use goes, is going to tip you off to the fact they cost less than a ton.
The headband conceals the size-adjustment mechanism, and on its inside there's just enough grippy plastic to keep the Lindy in place without getting all clampy about it. The circular earcups swivel through 90 degrees, making the headphones simple to slot into their hard case, and the outside of the earcups is covered with the same pleather as the earpads. It's a pleasantly tactile material, and it resists heating your ears for quite a while.
There are some physical controls distributed across both earcups. On the left there's a 'noise-cancelling on/off' control and a button for 'external audio pass-through on/off'. The USB-C chagrin input is here too, and on the face of the earcup is a strip of four LEDs that give an indication of remaining battery life.
On the right, meanwhile, you'll find a 3.5mm input (because the BNX-100XT won't run wirelessly indefinitely, don't forget) and the usual three-button arrangement. It covers 'volume up/down', 'play/pause', 'skip forwards/backwards', 'answer/end/reject call', 'summon voice assistant' and 'power on/off/Bluetooth pairing'. Bluetooth is version 5.0 here, with support for aptX and aptX Low Latency. Once the audio is on board, it's dealt with by a full-range neodymium free-edge driver in each earcup.
All the controls are responsive and difficult to confuse, which puts them ahead of many a rival. And while there's no touch-control, let alone app control, the integrated mics are more than capable of getting the message to your favourite voice assistant reliably. And the BNX-100XT have accelerometers, so if you take the headphones off your head the music will automatically pause.
Lindy BNX-100XT review: sound quality
Like the little girl in the nursery rhyme, the Lindy BNX-100XT are capable of either being very, very good or horrid. There's not a lot of middle ground here – and the strangest part of all is that it's entirely down to the choices that you, the owner and wearer, make.
The active noise-cancelling here operates in just two positions: on or off. Switch it on and we're in 'very, very good' territory. The Bluetooth standard here is sufficient to deal with everything from Spotify's free tier to a pricey hi-res premium streaming subscription, and no matter where your music's coming from it sounds very acceptable indeed.
Bass sounds aren't the heftiest you ever heard, but they're well controlled, straight-edged and have proper momentum. And they leave the midrange with enough room to deliver plenty of detail – so singers sound articulate and packed with character. At the top of the frequency range there's just enough shine and crunch, and once again more than enough detail to let you know you're getting a complete picture.
It's an impressively spacious and well-defined soundstage the Lindy establish, and they're able to position individual instrument strands on it with real certainty. There's a fair bit of dynamic potency on display too – the BNX100XT have no trouble switching from 'low-key and intimate' to 'everything louder than everything else' in an instant.
The noise-cancelling proves pretty adept, too. It's not going to remove the sound of an HGV rumbling past, but most external annoyances are banished – and mostly without any sensation of pressure or counter-signal.
Switch the noise-cancelling off, though, and the Lindy undergo a personality change worthy of Dr Henry Jekyll. Bass control all-but disappears, with the previously well-organised low frequencies gaining a huge amount of ill-deserved confidence and pretty much obliterating the midrange above them. At the same time, the straight edges into and out of bass notes become blurred and indistinct, with a corresponding loss of detail and texture.
It's a truly remarkable state of affairs, and one that would be almost interesting in a kind of academic way if it wasn't so startling.
Lindy BNX-100XT review: verdict
The Lindy BNX-100XT have the looks, the quality of build and finish and, in the right circumstances, most of the sound quality to succeed. Anyone unfortunate enough to hear them with their noise-cancelling switched off might be scared away for good but realistically, why would you buy noise-cancelling headphones and then turn the ANC off? Perhaps for the BNX-100XT 2, Lindy should just remove that off switch.