Hobbs Flyer H2 Active Review - here is why pilots love it
The Hobbs Flyer H2 Active with Bluetooth is one of the newer headsets on the market. It touts features typically found only on premium headsets such as active noise reduction (ANR), Bluetooth, a 3.5 mm auxiliary input jack, automatic shutoff, selectable communication priority, and protein leather ear seals. These are all features found on the Bose A20 and Lightspeed Zulu, two of the best headsets on the market today and the yardstick against which all other pilot headsets are measured. Those headsets are either close to or over $1,000, whereas the H2 Active is $450 which is less than half the cost.
At such a low entry point and packing all those premium features, is the Hobbs Flyer H2 Active comparable to the premium brands? Should you spend $1,000 on your next ANR headset, or should you spend $450 and keep the rest of your money and use it for training, avgas, or invest it and start saving for your airplane? And, what are pilots saying about the H2 active?
In my 10+ years as a private pilot, I have personally flown with pretty much every headset on the market. Some of the headsets that I have personally owned include Sigtronics S-20, David Clark H10-13.4, David Clark One-X, Telex Echelon, Bose Aviation Headset X (A10), Bose A20 with Bluetooth and without Bluetooth, Lightspeed PFX, Lightspeed Zulu 1, 2 and 3, and now my Hobbs Flyer H2 Active. Wow, that's a lot of headsets over the years. Of all the headsets I've owned, the David Clark H10-13.4 is one of my favorites. Yes, it's old school, and yes, it can become a bit uncomfortable on long flights but nothing ever goes wrong with the thing. I've had to send multiple Bose A20s, and the Lightspeed Zulus back for warranty and out-of-warranty repairs and this can be costly. Outside of the occasional issues, both the A20 and Zulu3 are phenomenal headsets and you can't go wrong with either one.
I have sold all those headsets and the Hobbs Flyer H2 Active is now my primary headset. After almost two years of flying with my H2 Active, I've decided to write a review about my experience with it. I've also quoted from testimonials and feedback from other pilots about their experience with their Hobbs Flyer H2 Active. You can find the full pilot testimonials on the product page. Just scroll to the bottom of the product page to the review section.
Noise Canceling Effectiveness
Besides the "lean of peak" vs. "rich of peak" debate, the other big debate in general aviation is the debate about which headset offers the best noise canceling performance, the Bose A20 or the Lightspeed Zulu.3. I have flown extensively with both headsets and in my opinion, there is not much difference in noise canceling performance between the two. With that said, is the Hobbs Flyer H2 Active comparable to Bose or Lightspeed? I would say noise cancelation is slightly better on the A20 and Zulu.3 but not significantly better to make me want to pay $600 more for an A20 or Zulu.3. Some pilots who have flown with the H2 active are of the same opinion.
"Purchased the H2 ANR Bluetooth headset and blown away by the quality and features it has! Headset is very comfortable to wear and audio is crisp and clear making communication great. The active noise cancellation works very well, along with the Bluetooth connectivity to my iPhone - very intuitive to use right out of the box." - Grayson E., Kansas
The H2 Active truly lives up to the "Insanely comfortable Aviation Headset" slogan. There are some headsets that make flying uncomfortable due to weight, clamping force on your ears, or hotspots on top of your head. The H2 Active is lightweight and comfortable to wear on long flights. The headset is well balanced so weight distribution on the head is superb. The pillow cell headpad allows air flow to keep the head cool and eliminates hotspots on the head. The gaps between the pillow cells makes wearing baseball caps a no factor. The protein leather ear seals are soft and comfortable and comparable to those on the Bose A20.
"Perfectly comfortable. Great features for the price." - John M., Minnesota
The H2 Active touts a 20+ hour battery life which is pretty good considering the demands of ANR and Bluetooth. I am on my second set of batteries since I've been flying with my H2 Active. I replaced the batteries after the original set died with Energizer and I've been using those same batteries for over a year. I usually remove the batteries from my headset after my flights and store them in my pilot bag. Doing this helps the batteries to last longer and it reduces the risk of battery leakage. I've seen and repaired way too many A20s with battery leakage because pilots didn't remove the batteries before storing their headset. My recommendation is to remove the batteries after your flight and use quality batteries such as Energizer or Duracell in your H2 Active or whatever ANR headset you are using. The Bose A20 probably has the best battery life of all headsets in this category with 40+ hours.
"I see no advantage to spending 1300$ when this set is 330$! So far so good! But only 2.3 hours since the energizer batteries have been in. Seems to me to work as well as the Bose headset." - Ray S., Pennsylvania
On long flights, I love listening to music so I really appreciate the Bluetooth and the aux audio input features on the Hobbs Flyer H2 Active. I can listen to Bluetooth audio from my phone and have my iPad connected and get those important traffic warnings from Foreflight while listening to music. The one thing I did not like about the David Clark One-X was that it did not have an aux audio input jack. The Bose A20, Lightspeed Zulu.3, and the Hobbs Flyer H2 Active all have both Bluetooth and an aux audio input jack so its beyond me why David Clark chose to leave it off of their flagship headset. In any case, the quality and clarity of radio calls, Bluetooth and aux audio are great on all these headsets. Bose may have a slight edge with audio quality since they have been in the audio game for such a long time.
The audio prioritization switch on the H2 Active control box is a great feature and comes in handy throughout various stages of a flight. This allows you to prioritize which audio you want to hear. For example, you can turn off all external audio (Bluetooth and Aux), mix all audio with your radio calls, or automatically mute external audio when a radio call comes in or when you key the microphone. This feature is also on Bose A20, Lightspeed, and the One-X.
"The communications are crisp and clear and easy to understand. I like the Bluetooth capability especially with ForeFlight and the traffic alerts! Absolutely recommend this to anyone looking for an affordable ANR headset." - Brandon H., Minnesota
So, is the Hobbs Flyer H2 Active comparable to the Bose A20? The A20 is the most expensive ANR headset on the market but there are a lot of similarities between the A20 and the H2 Active. The A20 has a slight edge in audio quality and noise canceling performance but the edge is not that significant that will make me want to pay over $1000 the A20.
"This headset easily compares to others on the market that sell for $100+ more. The fit and finish are very good. Will be recommending this headset to my flight students!" - Grant H., Florida
If you are the type of pilot who is price conscious and appreciates a comfortable aviation headset with active noise canceling and Bluetooth, take a look at the H2 Active, you will be pleasantly surprised at what you can get at such a decent price.
Thanks for reading the entire post. As a special thank you for reading the full blog, here is a coupon code for $25 off any Hobbs Flyer H2 headset: H2BLOG06.
See you at Oshkosh!