Montblanc has unveiled its first set of headphones: the wireless, noise-canceling MB 01 Smart Headphones. They’re built for luxury and long flights, and are predictably expensive compared to other popular models, costing $595.
It’s easy to strike down a newcomer (and a bold one, at that) to such a crowded and competitive market, but there are a few reasons to believe these might be worth checking out. Montblanc tells Engadget that it built them under advisement from Alex Rosson, a co-founder of the audiophile company Audeze, along with other well-qualified audio engineers and designers. That alone doesn’t guarantee they’ll be great, but it’s a good start.
The MB 01’s ear pads that touch your head are covered in sheep leather, while the cups themselves are wrapped in silicone. Montblanc uses glossy aluminum for the frame. At first glance, these look like Parrot’s Zik over-ear headphones from a few years back, but with a less exciting design.
The MB 01’s controls looks simple, consisting of a play / pause button on the silicone shell of the right ear cup, a button to toggle active noise-canceling, one to activate Google Assistant, an on / off switch, and a volume rocker. I’ll take physical controls like these over the sometimes error-prone (especially in cold temperatures) touch-based controls that the Sony WH1000XM3 uses.
Now for a bunch of nice little touches. The headphones charge via USB-C, and crucially, Montblanc claims they support multipoint connections in case you want to have a simultaneous connection to two devices. They have proximity sensors that automatically pause or play music. These over-ear headphones include a USB-C-to-3.5mm cable that you can use to plug into devices that still use the traditional headphone jack. The MB 01 Smart Headphones seem to check a lot of boxes — but that price, though.
They come in three colors: brown, black, and gray. Black and gray have the same silver aluminum frame, though the brown model uses a gold-colored aluminum frame. They’re available for purchase right now.
Montblanc showed off the Summit 2 Plus at the same event, succeeding its previous Wear OS smartwatch from 2018 with one that looks to be almost identical, both in design and internals. Per Engadget, it uses the same Snapdragon 3100 chipset, and it can last up to five days when you toggle it to display just the time, a mode that almost fully reduces its utility as a smartwatch. It will cost $1,170 when it launches, which is almost $200 more than the already-expensive $995 Summit 2, and roughly $1,000 more than you should probably spend on any Wear OS watch.
Unlike its predecessor, this one comes with LTE capability out of the box via eSIM, though it only works with Verizon for now. Montblanc tells Engadget it has made a few new apps for the watch, like a stress management app that parses data from the built-in heart rate sensor to give you feedback. It also made a new Travel Info app that provides you with at-a-glance information about your travels. However, it’s unclear if these apps will also be available for previous versions of the watch.