Skip to main content

Samsung moves into Beats territory with US launch of $350 headphones

Samsung moves into Beats territory with US launch of $350 headphones

Share this story

Apple and Samsung are already bitter enemies in the smartphone world, and headphones may be their next battleground. Samsung has just launched its "Level" family of high-end audio products in the United States. Each will be available to purchase from Gilt beginning tomorrow.

The lineup, first introduced in April, is led by Level Over, a $349.99 pair of over-ear Bluetooth headphones with active noise cancellation, NFC pairing, and what Samsung claims is "powerful, clear, sharp sound." They can also be plugged in thanks to a detachable audio cable (with microphone and remote controls for your smartphone). And if you don't like the way Level Over headphones sound out of the box, Samsung also offers an Android app that allows for EQ customization, or what the company refers to as "SoundAlive." Hopefully you'd be able to find some way of making them sound great for that price tag.

Samsung targets big audio spenders

Next in the family is Level On at $179.99. If it wasn't obvious at first, the Level products are all named based on how you wear them. These are wired, on-ear cans that promise "powerful, clear, and pure sound." They're foldable for easier transport and look similar to Level Over, though without the fancy touch controls and Bluetooth functionality. Moving down the line we come to Level In, a $149.99 pair of earbuds that are priced a bit high for our tastes. Samsung says paying that much will get you "clear sound separation and rich, natural sound quality." And then there's the Level Box, a Bluetooth speaker that joins a massive field of competitors including Bose's SoundLink Mini, the Beats Pill, Jawbone's Jambox, and our favorite, Logitech's UE Boom. Samsung's speaker is priced at $169.99, making it slightly cheaper than the Boom and SoundLink Mini.

It's yet another Bluetooth speaker

The rollout of Samsung's Level products comes as Apple looks to complete its acquisition of Beats Electronics. Samsung has also entered the music subscription market with the unfortunately named Milk app. But the company has some serious work to do if it intends to make a name for itself against Beats with mainstream consumers and other competitors that appeal to audiophiles. That doesn't mean Samsung should be dismissed outright, though. It's brought some clever audio products to the table before, but $349.99 headphones may prove a very hard sell — especially when there's no Beats emblem on the side.