Last month, I was heading out of the country. I was in a bind, it wasn’t until it was way too late that I realized I had left my trusty Skullcandy Lowrider headphones at home. Sod it, I’ll buy another pair at Heathrow. I walked into WHSmith and picked up my first pair of Wireless headphones. Why not just a cheap pair of earbuds, or over ear headphones? Well, if I’m going to buy headphones for use with my phone, I need a way to change track without having to fiddle with my phone every few moments. Sometimes I can be really picky when it comes to listening to music.
The headphones I picked up a pair of white Kitsound Manhattan headphones (you’ll get no prizes for guessing that, it’s in the title.). They cost me £25 pounds, I figured it’d be worth it to test out a more reliable wireless device, since my first foray was a total bust, but that was some 7 years ago. I didn’t get to really use the wireless aspect straight away, as my flight was about to leave and as per usual, everything must be in airplane mode or switched off during takeoff. However, supplied in the box is a micro USB to 3.5mm jack, in the event that either the battery runs dry or you don’t want to use the Bluetooth connectivity at all. It was a bust using it on the flight however, the socket in the arm rest was very dodgy. I literally had to hold the plug in place with my leg or lose clarity. Yeesh.
So, upon landing in Atlanta I finally had an opportunity to use it. Pairing it with my iPhone 5S was easy as pie. I didn’t need to use a code to pair, just hit the button in the settings of my phone and connected. So far, so good. The multi-function control didn’t work straight away, which left me reaching for my phone, but before I could even unlock it the headphones sprang to life and the sound quality really impressed me.
Typically, you’d expect a loss in fidelity, even a slight one due to the nature of transmitting the audio from your phone to the headphones, but I couldn’t really detect a difference between the wireless headphones and my standard Skullcandy headphones. Very good start, that was until I turned my head to look left and there was a slight drop out. It didn’t last long, though. It seems like it tends to happen when my phone is in my jeans pocket, as it’s not happening as I use them now with my phone on the table.
When it comes to ease of controls, it has one big advantage over my Skullcandy headphones, and that’s the ability to change the volume without reaching for my phone. That is well worth the trade-off of losing the ability to fast forward or rewind the track I’m on. No big loss really, unless you’re big on listening to podcasts while out and about. The rest of the standard controls are easy to use, with play and pause controlled by a single click of the control, holding the button down activates Siri, flicking it backwards moves to the next track with forwards going back one track (or to the beginning of the current song).
The headphones also come with a built in microphone, which is super useful. The quality of the mic is actually pretty good when using it with your phone, however I can’t say the same for hooking it up to a PC, but I’ll get to that in a bit. The controls are equally as easy for phone calls, with a single button press to accept or end a call, and holding in the button for two seconds rejects the call outright. I haven’t had that many issues arise when in a call, but they all tend to stem from the aforementioned drop outs when looking left.
I was actually really excited to try it out with my laptop, however my excitement was quickly met with a cavalcade of issues with running Bluetooth and Wi-Fi simultaneously. At first, my Wi-Fi connection entirely dropped out. The device would register as on, but wouldn’t recognize any connections at all. Switch Bluetooth off, however and everything was returned to normal. After scouring the internet for an answer, I found a fix (use the Windows Diagnose tool.), however from there my internet connection would run like it was 1999 all over again. Dammit.
Thank God for that Micro USB to 3.5mm jack cable, right?
Well, about that. Going back to my oft mentioned Skullcandy headphones, I’m used to having a cable that will take care of running a control button and a microphone without any external power source. That’s not the case here, you need the device switched on and connected via Bluetooth to utilize the controls and microphone. Welp. Can’t win them all.
The headphones themselves seem pretty sturdy, the majority of the frame is plastic covered in soft cushioning, which makes regular wear a breeze. However, they do make you feel sore after extensive use (I had a 9 hour flight home. I wore them for 9 hours. I don’t recommend it, really.) The pure white design didn’t last long however, before I left America there was a light pink dye on the ear cups. I’m not entirely sure where it came from, since my wardrobe is almost entirely monochromatic. I’d get a bolder colour, or even just plain old black rather than the white one.
As for the battery life, the manual says 18 hours of play time, 30 hours of talk time and up to 300 hours on standby, which I find to be well worth the price. Damn, the headphones last longer than my phone does on a full charge.
Overall, minus the minor drop out issue, I’ve really enjoyed using these headphones. I think I will actually continue to use these over my Skullcandy headphones from here on out. It was well worth the £25 price.