While in-ear headphones for the iPhone have slowly become abundant for iPhone users over the past few years, over-ear headphones, aka cans, that come with a microphone/music control dongle are still rare. That’s why we were pleased to review the Denon AH-D310R ($70)—headphones that, via a control dongle, give you the same music/phone-call functionality of the default iPhone headphones. Sonically, AH-D310Rs are entry-level headphones that deliver solid sound with a full low end, but which lack the build quality and premium sound of studio-level cans.
Coming with the “mobile” monicker, the Denon AH-D310R headphones are “designed” for smartphones. Included on the left headphone’s cord is a control dongle with microphone that can raise and lower the volume, play, pause, skip, or go back a track, and answer/end calls.
We found the sound reproduction of Denon AH-D310R to be impressive. Not only did they deliver full bass—a must for any modern headphones—they also delivered the mid- to high spectrum beautifully balanced. For example, in Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone,” the high sizzle of rhythmic tamborine and the mids of the melodic organ are distinct and clear could be heard clearly. On Kanye West’s “Runaway,” the heavy bass fully rumbles into your ear while the single key piano/electric keyboard line sits concise on top. The headphones aren’t quite studio-quality though, as the mids and highs come off a bit thin sounding at higher volume levels while the bass dominates with its richness.
While we loved the sound quality at the price, we’ll stop short of calling them premium headphones. First off, the build quality is much too poor. The plastic frame is the same as what you’d in other bargain-bin headphones. Likewise, the thin material covering the cushioned earphones—while comfortable—is likely to have durability issues over the long-term. It’ll be a race for what breaks down first, the frame or the fabric.
Also lacking is any sort of sealed sound isolation required to deliver pure sound reproduction. When I first tested the headphones, I was disappointed with the airy delivery of the sound. There was just too much sound loss due to the loose fit of earphones around the ear. Only when I cranked up the volume did the impressive sound reproduction become evident.
The headphones’ other flaw was a minor one. The dongle’s microphone is not quite up to the standards of the default iPhone headphones. Callers described my voice as sounding a bit more muffled while using the Denons. But not enough to make our conversation unintelligible. The microphone is usable, if not exactly ideal.
Denon has a great base to work from with the AH-D310R mobile headphones. The sound reproduction quality is balanced, with full bass and solid mids and highs. And the inline controls and microphone make it perfect for iPhone owners. The build quality is the main disappointing aspect. In the end though, it’sthe solid sound and the microphone/controls that we can recommend the headphones, rating them 7.9 out of 10. Just go easy on them, lest you’ll soon be picking up a replacement pair.