Accessories: Nokia Essence NFC bluetooth in-earphones with 99% noise cancellation

| August 25, 2011 | 18 Replies

There was too much hubbub yesterday about Belle and the Belle Trio for anything other than Belle news.

We mentioned it briefly but it deserves its own post. It’s the Nokia Essence.

These are wired in-ear phones that connects simply over bluetooth using NFC. Just tap to a NFC device to connect.

These look to be somewhat special in the in-ear department of Nokia’s wired in-ear phones. Unlike most in-ear phones, especially Nokia’s offerings (that come standard in some retail packaging) they relied on the silicone buds to create a ‘vacuum’, thus cutting out noise passively (as well as improving bass reproduction).

These go a step further and like the BH-905(i) introduce ACTIVE noise cancellation too. This combination is one I’ve been looking for. With the BH-905i, you had active noise cancellation, but the ear-muff portion left gaps between your ear, so noise could still come through.

An upside here is that you can drastically reduce the noise coming in AND out, so you can play your music quieter. Folks around you won’t get disturbed and you’ll suffer less of the effects of listening to loud music (something exacerbated by loud music, particularly through in ear phones).

I’d be pretty interested in how these compare to the BH-505, also in ear AND also sporting NFC secretly. This is my favourite stereo BT headset so far. But I’m inclined to think the Nokia Essence could take that top spot.

Nokia Conversations explains how Active Noise Cancellation works.

Like the BH-905(i), the Nokia Essence has microphones that listen to the audio around it. It can then create an opposite sound real time to effectively cancel out that noise.

So you have

1) Physical Barrier by way of a vacuum, sound can’t actually get to your ear directly through ear canal. This relies on getting the right fit to create a tight seal. Once volume goes to a certain threshold, you pretty much CANNOT hear anything. I remember the first time trying in-ear phones many moons ago, and it was slightly unnerving to just have the sensation surrounding sound be cut off.

2) Electrically produced ‘cancellation’ of outside noise. External microphone hears outside noise and uses some Nokia algorithms to generate an ‘opposite’ or flipped noise and when the two are out of phase, the noise or at least amplitude of that noise is lessed.

This sounds like a great recipe for reducing noise, as much as 99% Nokia claim. This is the first time I believe that such a thing is combined with Bluetooth NFC connection.

Here’s a couple of videos to explain Active Noise Cancellation.


Here’s a demo from 2009 on how noise cancelling works for BH-905. Same principles. Starts at 00:50

Some things I’d love to know:

1) Battery life. How long will these last?

2) Where are the microphones? on the earpieces (which look substantially larger) or the control pad?

3) Are there additional microphones to make calls? I’d say yes given these are called headsets, not earphones.

4) Durability. It may be me but wired in-ear phones don’t last long with me. Actually, just the Nokia ones have. All the other in ear phones I’ve had from Sony, Super.Fi, Sennheisser, Shure, Bose have all fallen apart (via one design fault or another), the priciest ones were oddly the worst.

5) Price

6) Availability


Category: Accessories, Nokia

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Hey, thanks for reading my post. My name is Jay and I'm a medical student at the University of Manchester. When I can, I blog here at and tweet now and again @jaymontano. We also have a twitter and facebook accounts @mynokiablog and Check out the tips, guides and rules for commenting >>click<< Contact us at tips(@) or email me directly on jay[at]