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Unique waterproof headphonesPosted by Purple Helmet from Maryland on 2011-02-10
Posted on H2O Audio Flex Earbuds
Recommend Product: Yes
Pros: Durable, waterproof, bold styling, tangle-free cord
Cons: Wire noise, average sound
For the person on the go who wants some in-ear headphones for use anywhere, to include in wet conditions such as watersports, then these are the ones to get. I took up swimming last year and really wanted to have some music to get motivated in the pool. I have a waterproof housing for my iPod but never could find a decent pair of headphones I could use for swimming until I found these H2O Audio Flex sports buds.
I usually start with the case, since that is where I form my first impression of a product. Let me tell you, the packaging on these guys was about as minimalist as you can get. For what you pay for, you get the headphones in a clear plastic toilet-paper roll-sized tube and a little bit of paper labeling, some product info, a few ear tips, and that's it. When I first started to take them out of the box, I was hesitant about the quality. But after I took them out, the first thing that I was impressed about was the cord. Although they were thin, they had a nice grippy-rubbery surface which make them be as durable as they claim. I also liked the different choices of bold colors and small sized, simple in-ear design.
Sound Quality: 2
When you design a set of waterproof headphones, you are going to have to make some compromises in order to retain waterproofness. The sound was relatively average to below average, creating a somewhat overall hollow and flat response. This is not to say that I would expect audiophile quality headphones in these sub-$30 waterproof headphones, but I would rank them on par with Skullcandy Ink'd or your cheap pair of ear buds. There was very little bass and the sound was predominantly in the mids, with a touch of high range. Again, I would not expect anything outstanding from a waterproof set of headphones. But in order to have this capability for use in all conditions, I'd say it was a worthwhile compromise. After all, I can take these earphones and listen to music in a studio, but there is no way I would be able to take a pair of studio headphones and expect them to work in the pool.
These are pretty comfortable, though nothing spectacular. The thin rubber ear cups supplied came in three different sizes and they did a pretty good job at sealing out unwanted noise. They don't stick out too far from the ear and if you left them on inadvertently while lying in bed, you wouldn't notice any sharp pain in your ear in the middle of the night. The biggest criticism I'll have to say about these earphones are the fact that they have a pretty noticeable and sometimes annoying line noise or line slap. Take a pair of headphones and thump the wire and see if you hear any noise. That's line noise. I also bike, use the elliptical machine and run with them and I can hear the wires make a slight thud in the ear piece as the wire slaps around, which can be quite bothersome.
Look & Feel: 3
The style of these headphones remind me of the bold styling often associated with Skullcandy. These H2O Audio earphones use bold and bright colors to set them apart from the rest. The only criticism I have for the look is the plug. It is a little longer than most plugs and bends at about a 45 degree angle from the line. This design, different from either a 90 degree or straight plug, really makes it less functional. It sticks out pretty far and if you're not careful, you could bend or break it in your iPod. The plug itself is a robust design and seems pretty sturdy, but it's odd bend and length are a disadvantage to a pretty good design overall. I haven't figured out the functionality of the plug's bend. Maybe its to plug it into a specific housing.
The unique thing about these headphones is the grippy rubber wires, which I think helps them be so durable as the company claims. Though the wires are relatively thin, they seem quite robust and have a really neat relatively no-tangle property to them. Prior to using these headphones, I often would just wind up my headphones in a clump after I've completed my workout and when I take them out again to use them, I'm left with a bird's nest. Well, the cord to these H2O sports buds can be wound up and without doing nothing more than letting them dangle while holding an end, they are able to untangle themselves. Pretty cool. These Flex sports buds seem pretty durable and I think that they would be able to survive the rigors of rough use.
I think that for the money and for its unique functionality of being waterproof, these H2O Audio Flex sports buds are a great addition to the audio listener who has an active lifestyle. You'll sacrifice a little audio quality and a some line noise, but the tradeoff is that you are able to use the headphones in all kinds of weather conditions, to include in the water. Just make sure that the housing to your iPod or music player is also waterproof.
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