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These Devices Bring Music to our Ears

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Category: Hardware Published on Friday, 16 September 2016

There is only one thing we require to make an ordinary day extraordinary: Great tunes embracing our ears in clear, vibrant beauty, no matter what device we are using to listen to them. With that in mind, we continue our quest for perfection in transmitting music to our aural canals.

Enter, stage left, the MIFA M1 Portable Bluetooth Speaker (Pocket Max Boom), Jabra’s Halo Smart Bluetooth Earbuds and Sennheiser’s PXC 550 Wireless Headphones.

 

The Pocket Max Boom ($59.90) is a great concept, but falls short on sound quality.

This small Bluetooth speaker could have been at the top of our list, but constant static from the lower ranges of the audio spectrum had us shaking our heads. We tried three different speakers, but the result was the same. Too bad, because this small speaker is packed with cool features including:

  • A micro SD card reader
  • Bluetooth 4.0 compatibility
  • Two 1.5-inch speakers and a bass radiator
  • A micro USB port
  • You can connect two devices at the same time
  • An alarm

The Jabra Halo earbuds ($79.99), on the other hand, deliver all of the quality and features we’ve come to expect from this company.

These little beauties wrap around the back of the neck and will fit almost any ear comfortably.

The wrap-around aspect takes a bit of time to get used to. We found ourselves constantly reaching for a wire dangling between the two earbuds to control audio and answer phone calls. But, once we got used to the idea that all of the controls were built into the neckband, we became very proficient at playing with all of its features including:

  • Answering phone calls
  • Listening to music
  • Asking Siri or Google to order pizza

The microphone is built into the neckband and is extremely sensitive. Also, the earbuds are magnetic, which allows for easy storage. You can also pause your music or end calls by sticking them together. This also works in reverse. Simply separate the earbuds to answer calls and resume listening to your tunes.

Other features include:

  • Seventeen hours of talk time on a single charge
  • Fifteen hours of music playback
  • Large, medium, small and extra-small eartips
  • A Smart Button to control Siri and Google Now
  • The neckband vibrates when you get a call
  • The neckband can be adjusted to fit your neck size
  • You can pause, skip and replay audio tracks
  • A built-in volume control
  • It’s dust and water resistant

The PXC 550 wireless headphones from Sennheiser ($399.95) is billed as a travel headset, but the quality of the audio rivals most wired headsets we’ve used. 

You have the option of using Bluetooth, NFC (near field communication) or the included stereo audio cable, giving you the option of plugging in or going wireless. Of course the quality of the audio is superior when using the cable, but we were surprised by the quality of the sound when we connected to our mobile devices wirelessly. No dropouts. No hisses. Just pure sound.

Also the wireless range was a bit better than we’ve experienced using other wireless headsets.

Now we come to the mobility functions.

You can answer calls and control the audio using trackpads on the earcups.

Other key features include:

  • NoiseGuard Hybrid noise canceling that adjusts to and effectively removes most ambient sounds
  • Bluetooth 4.2 compatibility
  • The headphones fold flat for easy storage
  • Thirty hours of battery life on a single charge

 

 

 

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