The H3 is an intriguing earphone with a custom style housing that reminds me of Ibasso’s IT03 albeit appreciably more compact. They assume an over-ear fit and achieve impressive comfort and solidity despite their unorthodox housing design and entirely acrylic construction. At present, Kinera provide the H3 in red, black and blue, all with the same black faceplate.
Despite being entirely constructed from plastic, the H3’s feel very solid, rigid and well-weighted in the hand whilst remaining forgiving on the ear. Their semi translucent housings add a lot of visual intrigue to their funky design and their gloss black faceplates adorned with golden Kinera logos are both classy and eye catching. Kinera is using a two-layer process to achieve a uniquely smooth look on the faceplates. Unfortunately, my set was riddled with small bubbles and even a notably large one on the tip of the left earpiece out of the box. Perhaps there was some issue with the lamination since my unit is a pre-production review sample and the earphones are otherwise flawless with no seams of joining issues, I am also able to press the clear coat back onto the underlying paint though it only holds temporarily.
And in terms of fit, don’t let their larger dimensions and strange protrusions deter you, the H3 provides a very solid, stable fit that is easily one of the best I’ve experienced around this price. The earphones slot into the ear with authority and lock firmly into place, staying put when running. Furthermore, they do so without any sense of discomfort like the iBasso IT03, providing great if not perfect comfort over long listening sessions. Buyers also shouldn’t worry too much about public appearance, due to their medium depth fit, the earphones don’t protrude too much and look quite subtle when worn with only the black faceplate visible to onlookers.
The nozzle itself is perfectly angled though it has no fluting or ridging so eartips can be prone to falling off. It is of a common size, fitting T200 Comply foam tips in addition to CP100 Spinfits and Sony Hybrids which is great for those that can’t find a solid seal with the included tips (though they are almost identical to Hybrids). The tips is finished off with a nice metal filter that prevents earwax and debris from entering the housings.
The H3’s are vented though very minimally so and they produce as strong a seal as the fully sealed TFZ King. Some driver flex is present though I didn’t notice any audio degradation over time. Isolation isn’t as flawless as the fully sealed King but remains immediately superior to more open hybrid designs like the K3 Pro and I had no issue using the H3’s on public transport. That being said, one thing Kinera could consider in a predecessor, is relocating the vent on the tops of the earphones to another location. I found that the left vent was covered by my ear while the right vent was left open, simply due to the shape of my ear. However, this produced a different amount of isolation in either ear, creating an uncomfortable sensation and finding the right was a bit more finicky than necessary.
Fortunately, the H3’s come with a fabulous 0.78mm removable cable system that is perhaps not as widely adopted as MMCX but is more reliable and less temperamental. The cable itself is of terrific quality, it’s a 6N silver plated copper design with a nice braid and super soft texture. The cable is supple, easily coiling for storage and quickly untangles when removed from a pocket/case. In addition, the pre-formed ear guides were perfectly shaped for my ears unlike the TFZ Exclusive series, Magaosi K3 earphones and Simgot EN700 Bass, producing superior stability, comfort and practicality. The cable also resists microphonic noise when walking and its smoother texture avoids catching on clothing. This is topped off with a low-profile y-split that avoids severing the cable to enhance durability and a case friendly Oyaide style plug with ample strain relief.
The H3, despite some small quality control issues with my unit, nonetheless delivers some of the best ergonomics I’ve experienced around this price. They have a solid but lightweight build that is stable in the ear, great passive noise isolation, a strong, reliable seal and pleasing comfort. Moreover, their excellent cable really enhances usability and their classy look provides a splash of colour without coming off as even remotely gaudy.
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