The wonderful thing about headphones is that you can listen to whatever you want without driving everyone around you completely insane. But sometimes you want to share your tunes with a buddy, or blast your jams at unsuspecting passersby. For just that occasion, the Boomphone Phantom QS 1.0s go from headphones into speakers.
What Is It?
A $150 pair of headphones with a button toggle that lets you switch between traditional headphone speakers on the inside and external speakers on the outside of the cups.
Who's It For?
Someone who listens to music alone, and occasionally shares it with the immediate surroundings.
A bit chunky and thick. Sort of like Fischer-Price version of Beats by Dre. Silly little bomb mascot.
Comfortable, with soft padding, which tends to make your ears sweat after a little bit. The sound quality in headphone mode is okay. It can be a bit muddy, and there's not a whole lot of detail. But it's not offensively bad.
The Best Part
The external speakers are loud. They match the volume on average computer speakers. Definitely louder than just turning normal headphones up all the way.
For all the noise, the external speakers' sound quality is poor. There's practically no low range. Everything comes out as tinny and overly harsh. They sound like a louder version of a built-in phone speaker.
This Is Weird...
The button that toggles between internal and external speakers—located on the outside of the left cup—is easy to press by accident when adjusting or removing the headphones. Depending on what you're listening to and where you are, that could be totally mortifying accident.
- Used on the subway and at a desk for sevearl weeks for a few minutes to a few hours at a time. Tested with Spotify streaming tracks at 320kbps and 160kbps, high-quality CD rips, and a podcast or two. A built-in battery, rechargeable by micro USB, got over 8 hours of intermittent use on external mode from a single charge. On internal mode, it got about 12 hours of intermittent use.
- There are lights on the outside of each cup that light up white during regular headphone use, and red when you're using the external speakers. If you're a certain kind of person (e.g. a grown-ass adult) this can be kind of embarrassing in public.
- The external speaker can actually be very useful when listening to podcasts or audiobooks. You can engage the speaker mode and set the headphones down while you take off a messenger bag or put on a hoodie, so you don't have to pause the track or miss anything.
Should You Buy It?
No. The sound quality of the actual headphones is decent, but not worth the $150 price-tag on its own, and the added boombox feature isn't quite good enough to add any real value. There might be niche uses for the boombox function—to lay down a beat for someone to freestyle over? It doesn't quite cut it for actually listening to music.
If you want to share the sound on your headphones, you'd probably be better off just picking up a splitter and having your friends use their own headphones to listen in.