A wireless gadget offers the freedom to roam around without a tether. It makes life easier. The Phiaton PS 210 BTNC, the latest wireless earbuds, are totally free from the confines of your music player. But are they really more convenient?
What Is It?
A pair of noise-canceling Bluetooth earbuds for phones and computers.
Who's It For?
Those who require headphones, but also freedom to be unchained from the audio source.
The earbuds themselves have beautiful, conical shells with a vaguely psychedelic pattern. They connect to a silver bluetooth control module that looks like any bluetooth earpiece from the last 10 years.
Pair your device, and all of its audio runs through the PS 210 BTNCs. Answer phone calls through the headset!
The Best Part
Sound quality. Surprising clarity and solid noise canceling.
There's still a dangling wire. It leads to an awkward Bluetooth/remote module as big as an old MP3 player, which hangs down your chest, but not far enough to clip to your pants.
This Is Weird...
There's a 2.5mm audio jack for a hardwired connection, but it only plays sound in one ear.
- Tested with an iPhone and MacBook Pro.
- Listened to 320 Kbps audio files and placed phone calls using the BTNC 210.
- Easily got 6 hours out of the battery with noise canceling turned on. No recharge needed.
- Volume controls for the buds are independent of system audio for your device, so you'll have to find a balance between the two.
Should You Buy It?
As far as Bluetooth headsets go, these are some of the best out there. But there's no real advantage to a Bluetooth set with a dangling dongle. You still have wires to negotiate. The Bluetooth earbud experience should be just earbuds—no cords across the chest to interfere when putting on a jacket or backpack.
The sound quality is fine, but it still can't beat a pair of wired earbuds in the $80-$100 range. If you absolutely need to have your earbuds in and be more than a few feet from your device, then maybe these are worth considering. But if you're using these with a phone, how often are you that far away from it while listening to music?
For half the price of these $160 noisemakers, you can find yourself a superior sounding pair of buds with an inline remote/mic—and no need to recharge. Skip these Phiatons. If you need an unobtrusive pair of buds for running, these won our test. And if you just need a great pair of lightweight, portable headphones, period—this is the best pair of those.