I have a confession to make: I'm obsessed with wireless portable audio gear. Bluetooth earbuds, headphones, and portable speakers excite me more than they probably should. And I'm OK with that. My wife, however, gives me "the look" every time a new gadget arrives, rolling her eyes so far up her skull she could have easily become a soap opera star or an extra on The Walking Dead. She doesn't get it - she's not a geek who loves to get to the bottom of every feature, spot every miniscule detail, and figure out if we have something special on our hands.
United Kingdom readers, never say we didn't do anything for you. If you've been patiently waiting for Sony's new flagship phone, you can pick up some pretty sweet studio-quality headphones at the same time. If you pre-order the Xperia Z through one of Sony's partners, you can pick up a pair of Sony MDR-1R headphones for free, gratis, and nothing.
You don't even have to buy it outright - O2 and Three UK are both offering subsidized versions which qualify for the free headphones.
Most headphones are relatively straightforward. They're usually built around a simple metal or plastic frame, have leather or pleather ear pads, and if you're lucky, are comfortable. Hopefully they sound good, too. What they aren't, usually, is bendable or droppable. Nor do they have Kevlar-coated cables, steel frames, or military-level testing.
That's exactly what makes the M-80's so unique. That military testing certainly means they're durable, but with a $230 price tag, you would hope they sound great, too.
It seems like headphones have become more of a fashion statement, most commonly demonstrated by the Beats-equipped youth that traipse around as if their $100 Bluetooth headphones are a premium product. They've become as much of a fashion statement as clothing, with a pricing system to match - that is, many of the more expensive fashionable brands are simply the same materials with a fancier name. Short story long, the focus isn't so much on sound and comfort anymore, but rather on panache.
Satechi is known for offering good products for a good price. Recent examples: an awesome $30 portable Bluetooth speaker, a high-quality headrest mount for tablets, and a whopping 10,000mAh portable charger for just $50. So when the company announced some new lightweight Bluetooth headphones (creatively named "BT Lite Headphones"), it caught my attention.
With the promise of light weight, good features, and quality sound at $45, I cracked open the package with high expectations.
Bluetooth may be a mature technology, but it's far from perfect. It follows, then, that headphones that use the standard would share the same imperfections in addition to their own. Such is the case with the Mobiband Bluetooth Headphones made by BBP; while they're certainly not bad, they're not good, either. Unfortunately, the performance simply doesn't justify the $60 price tag of the headphones. In fact, mediocrity is the theme across the board, which is unfortunate if not entirely surprising.
HTC's marketing of Beats Audio on its One Series handsets has rapidly become a joke among critics and internet commentators alike. And that's probably putting it nicely. The fact that the entirety of the Beats "enhancements" found on aforementioned phones has been zipped up and packaged to flash on any Android 2.3+ handset has, at least in the collective minds of the internet, exposed the Beats partnership for what it is: equalization software and a fancy logo.
While earbuds and wireless headsets are an ever-expanding consumer electronic market thanks to the proliferation of smartphones, on-ear cans remain something of a niche (unless you count Beats - I don't). Even more niche than that are smartphone-friendly on-ear headphones. And somewhere between particularly obscure red wine varietals from Germany and Super Audio CDs lies the selection of specifically Android-friendly wired on-ear headphones. (Not really, but I wanted to make a ridiculous analogy.) The point is, if you're looking for wired on-ear headphones with Android in-line controls, your options aren't exactly endless.
Do you like listening to music on the go but find that your headphones, for lack of a better word, suck? Then today is (potentially) your lucky day, because Nocs and Android Police are giving away ten pairs of Nocs NS200 earbuds (a $70 value each - find them at Amazon here), and they rock.
So when a Swedish headphone company by the name of Nocs got in touch with me, I was a bit surprised - because I didn't know they existed. And there's a good reason for that (sort of): Nocs has specialized in making solely Apple-friendly headphone products.