Apple’s much anticipated (and pathetic) wireless earphones are set for release any day now (be aware of further delays).
The iPhone 7 was shown off to the world in early September, one of the more apparent things to it was the lack of the headphone jack. I read many articles of Americans being in uproar over the fact there’s no headphone jack on the new iPhone. I’ve had wireless headphones since summer 2014, I’ve had this iPad since December 2014 and I’m yet to use my headphone jack so unlike most Americans, I wasn’t bemused or dumbfounded by this, after all it’s 2017 in 100 days!
This article isn’t about Apple, but it is about my best alternatives to the new Apple AirPods.
At €180, they are the cheapest option of them – but if you have €200 or so the spend for wireless headphones, here are three other options in ascending order of how good they are; with price, comfort, battery life, customisation and most importantly sound quality included in the summing up. I’ve rated them out of 10 stars.
Apple AirPods (€180)
There has been a delay in the AirPods being released so I haven’t yet been able to test them, but according to Engadget on YouTube they’re as I – and many of us would expect – “not at all a must have” with the design and physical structure of the AirPods as well not being too much improved sound wise than the EarPods, I can tell you they are not going to be good at all. Another overpriced, underpowered, pathetic looking, pathetic sounding Apple product.
3. Beats Studio Headphones (€299.99)
The Beats Studio Headphones are renowned to being high end priced headphones. I tested all the headphones in reserve order from this list, all within 12 minutes of each other so it made it easier to define between the headphones. The Beats were the last ones I tested and were certainly the worst. From the Jack Reacher trailer, it seemed that the loud sound quality was poor. The loud bangs of explosions and glass shattering wasn’t at all distinct enough. I would hate to watch an action packed film on these!
As for an app to customise your experience with the Beats, I couldn’t find one on the App Store. Which is a great disappointment considering the €300 price tag. As for the looks, I’m not a big fan. They look too common for high end headphones. Similar to those under €100 headphones. If I was to spend €300 on headphones I want people to notice them (I have done this, so keep reading).
The word “Studio” in the title suggests made for indoors, but in these the noise cancellation is fairly – not very – good. I was able to here all things around me, which is a good and bad thing. Of course, for these headphones and the next, I just used the general/basic setting for the headphones. This is not a comprehensive review. I would not but or not buy headphones on my list on the basis of what is being said on this.
In June 2015, I was on the brink of buying a pair of these headphones’ predecessors, and as you’ll find out soon, I’m glad I didn’t. To sum up, these are overpriced, underperforming, pathetic looking, pathetic sounding, too common for high end Apple owned headphones. Sound familiar? (Definitely the only cut and paste job I’ll be doing for the next few weeks)
2. Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 wireless (€399.95)
The Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 wireless headphones are beautiful to look at, truly beautiful. They are worth some of the price just to look at. The sound quality is fantastic too. I watched the same film preview on the IMDb website for all the headphones I’ve tested for this review – Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, which is a good video to do it on as there is loud and sudden sounds, good music, gunshots and explosions.
The Sennheiser headphones sounded great. As good as you would hear in the cinema. In this day and age, it’s always good that there is an app for headphones that you’ve spent so much on. And these do. At Arnotts, I was unable to test the apps but according to the U.S. App Store user reviews, the app is rated 3.5 out of 5 starts.
The leather headband of the headphones are comfortable. I wore them for 5 minutes but it may have been 2 hours for a film as I found a comfortable place on my head. A good thing about these headphones is that they fold up to make it more portable.
The sound quality is superb. It sounds rich and elegant, with the personalisation on the app I presume you can go full-bloodied for to make the most of the film or music your using them for. Noise-cancelling is good too. Even in the default setting on the headphones, they did a great job in quieting down the world around me. They are not they best noise cancelling headphones I’ve used but still they’re great.
Battery life is up to 22 hours – using a low end performing setting, not all of that will be wireless as there is no option to save life by turning off the noice cancelling.
Seven out of ten for these headphones. They look beautiful, sound great but because I can still hear noises around, I would expect more for the price I’ve paid (€400). The most expensive in this list. The design looks great but it isn’t outstanding. €400 for headphones is like a car for €150,000+, you will want to stand out, you will want the headphones to make you the public look at them. I don’t see that happening with these. Headphones for under €100 may not look too less impressive.
1. Parrot Zik 2.0 (€349)
Number one is for certain the Parrot Zik 2.0. After all they are “the most advanced headphones in the world”. And look at them too, unlike the other two high end headphones they are outstanding. The design is 14 out of 10. Not just the yellow, also the skeletal look reminds me of the interior of the Pagani Huayra.
These most advanced headphones in the world are not only expensive for their looks, they’re sound quality is second to none. I’ve watched football matches on them, I can hear each and every single clap individually, all 40,000 – 60,000 of them on the correct setting. In movies you can hear the piercing of them bullets, the emergency services sirens from afar, the explosions and car engines so distinctly. They truly are astonishing. Even Sky Sports Martin Tyler would be lost for words expressing them.
The noice cancellation too is as good as the rest. Not being able to here anything is truly an amazing experience. I’m not joking when I say this, when I first bought them I was walking down Grafton Street, at around 3pm in mid June. Busy the streets were as you could imagine. I turned them on and then off. Even in off, there is the noise cancellation working as it adapts to the surroundings. It was if I was deaf. I could not anything. At all.
They are so comfortable too. It’s so easy to forget your wearing them. The massive rims on the earpieces fold into your ears like cups. The headband is just as easy to fit into.
The app allows you to edit what you want, for where you or what you are listening. The outward noise cancellation is also amazing. Even at the highest setting, there is not noise coming out. When Leon (my godson) is wearing his dads or my pair or when I’m in the library watching a film we have it at full bass, full volume and no one comes over to me to ask me to turn it down. I can truly have them set at a cinematic level in a quite place.
They are a steal at €345. I’m surprised I haven’t been done for theft as of yet.