Focal Listen Wireless Chic hands-on
Focal might not be a name you may be familiar with in the audio space, but they've been in the business for almost 40 years. Aiming to tackle the coveted premium headphones market, the Focal Listen Wireless Chic is banking on its stylish and vibrant design to win over audiophiles who have been fatigued by other premium mainstream offerings such as Beats. Accompanied with a $299.99 price point, it certainly needs to exceed expectations if it has any chance at being considered a major player in the space.
Yes, the design of the Focal Listen Wireless Chic definitely stands out above everything else – thanks in part to the bright and eye-catching colors they're available in. Our particular model is flaunting a darker blue paint job, accented by a metallic blue variant color with its earcups. We also appreciate the fact that the engineers opted to go with a collapsible design, as the ear cups can be folded near the hinges on the frame to really condense its size.
Speaking of its size, the Focal Listen Wireless Chic doesn't try to hide any of its girth, appearing almost monstrous when worn. That's probably due to the hulky sized ear cups of the headphones, which are lined with a plush cushioning. For the cost of the headphones, we were expecting something with a bit more substance and premium qualities with its design. Instead, it's primarily constructed out of plastic, one that tremendously softens its package. It doesn't help that the earcups seem a loose around their hinges, making us leery about how it'll stack up in the long run.
There are integrated media playback controls littered throughout the right ear cup, with almost very little distinction between them – making it troublesome trying to feel out the correct button. Compared to other headphones in its price range, the Focal Listen Wireless Chic is lacking features such as noise cancellation, sound amplification, or custom equalizer settings. At least its audio performance is clean and crisp, with a sprinkling of bass accompanying its output. We wouldn't go far to say that it's the best in its class when it comes to its audio performance, but at least it's not bass-heavy like some other models.
Nevertheless, the $300 sticker price attached to these headphones makes for a tough sell – more so when its construction lacks the finer premium qualities we see in other models. Unless you're really excited about its vibrant paint jobs, there's not a whole lot to convince audiophiles to give this one a chance.