Headsets come in dozens of shapes, styles and classes. There are over-the-ear options, on-the-ear, dolby certified, noise canceling, in-ear options and the list keeps going. Outside of all these options are even more choices on the consumer level, these include cost, quality, compatibility and other features that help narrow down all of the previously mentioned options.
When you’re shopping for headphones to wear at home you usually have fewer needs, these headphones can be bigger, often more expensive choices than what you would want to take with you while traveling or to the beach.
While discussing all of these option with a few of the other editors here at the office, we started talking about headphones for traveling, and although everyone had different opinions on the “perfect pair” and favorite type of headsets, there was one constant…price.
It seems that no one wanted to take expensive headphones with them while traveling, whether it was to another country to cover an event, or to the beach or while traveling by train or car to a summer destination.
So in order to help facilitate our choices, I began looking for a quality pair of headphones, that were not that expensive and that fit most of the requirements from the staff, and by doing so, I found a pair that I may have overlooked in the past.
RHA might not be a brand U.S. customers recognize right away, but european countries have been enjoying their headsets for years. I heard of them from a friend of mine that often travels in Europe for work, who happened to stumble upon the brand while searching for a headset to take with him on the flight home.
I really loved two sets, the SA950i on-ear headsets, and the MA450i in-ear earphones. Since on-ear was the more popular option for traveling long-distances, those are the ones that I’ll focus on in this review. If you prefer in-ear earphones though, I strongly suggest you check out the M450i’s to compare with other brands while shopping around.
The SA950i were specifically made with the iPhone, iPad and iPod in mind, but since they are a standard-jack headset, they will work with any other smartphone that uses the standard input. At $59 the headsets are easily on the low-end of the price-range for other headsets in its class, and they offer terrific sound and some really great options for consumers.
The headphones are very minimalistic in design, offering a low-profile when you’re wearing them, but stylish and sleek enough that they won’t receive any unwanted attention from onlookers. They are extremely comfortable, even after long hours on the train, and the cushioned quilted headband didn’t pull on my hair (I have chin-length hair so sometimes headbands can be a bit uncomfortable) and the ear-cushions didn’t get hot, even after extended use. They weigh just 104g, to give you an idea of that weight, it’s a little under one-third the weight of an iPad mini (308 g).
It may seem like a small touch but I loved the cord, not only does it come with an inline remote and mic (which allows multi-click control over calls, music and volume on Apple devices) but it’s not rubber-coated like other headsets, it’s actually braided. It’s a really great touch and doesn’t get tangled, dirty or frayed like other headsets I’ve had (they even stood up against my cat, who got into the box before I did to play with it). The cord is also detachable, which is a terrific option for traveling headsets. You can just unplug the cord from the earpiece and wrap up the cord and throw it in your bag or pocket (no more wrapping a long cord around the headset itself just to keep it tidy). It’s also a great feature if you have a habit of breaking headset cords (or have a cat) because you can replace the cord by itself should you need to. If you are shopping for an android phone, the manufacturer states “Call answering and play/pause functions for music is supported on Android and other smartphone platforms,” and you can check the list on th official headset to make sure it’s supported before you buy.
That leads me to my second most important requirement for traveling headphones, the quality and return policy. RHA offers on all products, a “no quibbles” 3-year parts and labour warranty (love the English sometimes). That’s really important when buying a headset you plan to travel with, as accidents and rough handling are usually guaranteed during travel.
For those of you looking for stats, the headphones bring some pretty impressive features to the $60 price-range. The headset offers 40mm professional grade mylar drivers which are micro-coated in titanium, along with gold plated connections. The headset also features a neodymium magnet and CCAW voice coils. The frequency range is 16-22,000Hz, with a sensitivity of 113dB and are rated/max power at 30/100mW.
The sound quality and functionality of the inline mic are exceptional, there are no complaints about the sound on my end and for the low-ended price range, they are one of the best I’ve used. Movies on Hulu, Netflix and songs from Music Unlimited and just my iTunes were always clear and enjoyable. if you’re looking to replace the headphones you currently are using, then you should really check out the SA950i, if you rather have in-ear earphones, then check out the MA450i.
available at: amazon
more info: RHA