I do a lot of headphone reviews and honestly I’ve gotten a lot pickier about which headphones I will and won’t review. The House of Marley Rebel BT wireless headphones were headphones I couldn’t resist for a few reasons.
First, the last pair of Marley’s I reviewed were pretty popular and people really seemed to be interested in them. Second, the price and features seemed like a great combo. Finally, I think it’s cool that this company cares about the environment (and has for a long time).
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But whatever the reasons, I’m SUPER glad I decided to check these out. These are some of my all-time favorite headphones and I’m going to have to buy another pair because my wife wants to steal the review pair from me!
So, sound. It’s great. Not just great for headphones that cost under $100. Great period. Okay, not as great as $800 headphones, but still, great. These headphones can get VERY loud and have extremely satisfying bass that doesn’t drown out mids and highs.
At 50% volume there’s almost no sound leakage. You’ve got to get it up to around 75% for the sound leakage to be significant and really noticeable (and remember, these get louder than a lot of headphones, so 75% on these might be like 90% on others).
On things that is awesome about these is just how light they are. There’s not a lot to the build (and I like that minimalism) but the metal that is used for the frame is anything but heavy. Still, it’s got a decent amount of give (but I wouldn’t call it bendy by any means) and it feels really sturdy. All that AND light? Pretty cool.
Speaking of the headband, you might notice there’s not a lot of padding there; just a thin layer that has almost no give to it at all. It’s so thin you almost wonder what’s the point? And that kind of is the point: these headphones are so light you don’t need any padding on the headband, really. There’s not much weight pushing down on your skull.
Something that’s kind of unique is that the earpieces are permanently turned in at a slight angle. When I first saw them I thought that might cause some comfort issues, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that they fit really well and that I had no need of adjusting them.
Let me address an issue that bugged me with the Liberate XLBT’s from Marley: the quality. The buttons on the XLBT’s were, well, crappy and cheap. The power button on my unit was hanging by a thread after a day’s worth of testing. That issue — and it’s a big one — has been addressed and completely taken care of with these Rebel BTs. These are solid headphones in terms of construction and that just makes everything else I’m about to talk about better because you can rest assured these will last (and work) for a long time.
But even if the buttons are sturdy on these headphones, they take a little practice to get used to. The volume buttons double as forward/backward buttons; a short press changes the volume and a slightly longer press changes the track. Don’t press too long though or you’ll find yourself several tracks ahead or behind where you meant to be. You do get the hang of it after a bit, but it works best when you’re looking at your phone’s screen so you can be sure what you’re doing.
On a scale of 1 to 10 I’d give these headphones an 8.7 in the comfort department. They’re not too tight (or too heavy, as mentioned too much already) and they sit nicely on your ears. There’s not a ton of luxurious padding on the ear pieces like you’ll see on some really expensive headphones, but just like the headphone padding, you don’t really need a lot here. I wore these for about two hours before sensing even the slightest hint of ear fatigue setting in (and that’s something I’m really picky about).
The wireless aspect of these headphones leaves no room for complaint. Pairing was easy and I have not experienced any drops in the Bluetooth signal. Every time I switch from wired to wireless headphones during the course of the year as I do various reviews, I find myself swearing off wired headphones. Same goes here: I love the wireless freedom. Plus, with a 12 hour battery life, charging isn’t an issue at all.
If you prefer wires for some weird reason you can use the included cable which also sports a mic and controls.
This has been a pretty glowing review so far, but if there’s one thing I can pick on with these headphones it’s how they look on my head. They stick out more than I’d like them to from the front (not an issue from the sides). They don’t look bad themselves (they actually have an almost boring design coming from such a colorful company). But I like the simplicity. But the profile is just a little wide for my liking (but hey, that’s where the excellent sound comes from, right?). Even so, consider this a small gripe and nowhere near a deal killer.
These are stellar sounding headphones with an ever better price. Without a doubt these are my new favorite headphones under $100. I’m glad Marley focused on the quality this go round. If you’re thinking about getting these already, don’t hesitate. If you’re considering other headphones in this price range, don’t. I love ‘em and I’m sure you will too.