Wednesday, July 16, 2014, 04:07 pm PT (07:07 pm ET)
Samsung brings premium 'Level' headphone and speaker lineup stateside to battle Apple's BeatsSamsung on Wednesday announced the imminent release of its "Level" headphone and portable speaker lineup, which features four premium devices seemingly aimed directly at Apple's Beats hardware.
With Apple's $3 billion acquisition of Beats in May, the tech giant gained one of the most popular — and high margin — headphone brands on the market in Beats by Dre. Now, arch rival Samsung is getting in on the action with its own mobile-first premium audio lineup called Level.
Launching tomorrow through an exclusive 72-hour deal with online shopping network Gilt, Samsung's product line includes two headphones, one earphone and one Bluetooth speaker.
The top-tier Level Over is priced at $350 and comes packed with 50mm drivers, wireless capabilities, active noise cancellation with four integrated mics, audio enhancing tech and on-board physical control for volume, music playback and voice call functions.
Samsung's Level On is a more compact on-ear design with 40mm drivers and plush polyurethane ear cushions. The On also features a foldable chassis and comes in at $180. The Level lineup's least expensive piece of kit is the $150 Level In, an in-ear headphone that sports a three-way speaker system consisting of with two balanced armatures and a dynamic driver.
Rounding out Samsung's new mobile audio offerings is the $170 Level Box, a Bluetooth speaker with two 56mm drivers with passive radiator, NFC, pairing, on-board controls, built-in microphone for speakerphone duties and a battery capable of a claimed 15 hours of playback.
Level is being marketed by Samsung's mobile arm, which is interesting considering the company usually goes through its audio division for such products.
Comparisons will likely be drawn with audio hardware from Apple's Beats Electronics, makers of some of the most popular mobile headphones on the market. Beats' products are priced above equivalent Samsung Level devices, an example being the $380 Beats Studio Wireless over-ear style headphone.
All four Level products are slated to start sales on Thursday at noon Eastern time through Gilt, which will be offering a special bundle of the Level On and Level Box for $300. Following Gilt, sales will expand to Amazon.com on July 20, Samsung.com on July 21 and select Samsung Experience Shops at Best Buy on July 27.
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