About the middle of last year I bought Apple’s In-Ear Headphones with Remote and Mic despite my friend, Geoff’s caution.
See, Geoff warned me that I may have problems with the headsets, particularly with the silicone ear tips; they had a habit of staying in one’s ears when you take the headsets out. Another “feature” of these headsets is that the volume control won’t work with second gen iPhones. Geoff had others problems with the headsets as well and each time he took them back to the Apple store they gave him another set.
I figured that headphones with two drivers for US$79.00 was a good deal, even with contrary ear tips, so I bought a set. Sure enough, the ear tips seem to like my ears more than the headphones they came with. Six months later I managed to lose one of the ear tips that fit, the others don’t work so well and Apple won’t sell them. So, now I’m stuck with headsets I can’t use.
There I was with no decent headsets to listen to my music with. Worse, I’ve found that taking phone calls with headsets was the absolute best way I can actually hear what the other person was saying without training or guessing. I had to get something, but I just didn’t feel up to spending another eighty to one hundred bucks on headphones.
While in a Best Buy one recent afternoon I decided to see what they had available. The pickings of headsets with a mic were pretty slim, but I did find the V-Moda Faze headphones for a rather palatable US$50, so I bought a set.
I’ve had them for about a week now, and I’m convince it was the best fifty bucks I’ve ever spent on headsets.
The Faze headsets have an aggressive, industrial look about them. The shiny aluminum shell is covered with spiky ridges, and everything else is black plastic (you can get the darker and slightly cooler looking gun metal color at Radio Shack for the same price). According to the V-Moda documentation, the wires have Kevlar somewhere in the mix to add strength. The headsets look as they’d be all that's left if you happen to be on the wrong side of a nuke.
The control/mic module on is height of simplicity; one button controls music (one click to stop or start play, two clicks advance to the next song, three clicks gets the previous tune) and you phone call (one click to answer, hang up, or switch between calls, click and hold to decline a call). The mic hole on the back of the module is so small you need good light a magnifier to see it properly. Callers tell me my voice is clear and strong when using the Faze. In fact, one said I sound better with the Faze plugged in than I do on my iPhone without them.
On my end, music sounds good. The bass is a bit mushy, but not overly so. Caller’s voices were crisp and clear, and I found I had to turn down the volume on some calls because they came through so well.
In the package there are six (6!) sets of ear tips; three rubbery black and three slippery silicone. Choose what suits you. I got the large black ones; they fit perfectly and make the headsets sound really good. Also in the package is a nice cloth bag and an adapter for use with Blackberries.
Is there anything to complain about the Faze headsets? I honestly can’t think of one thing to ding them on. They work well, are reasonably priced, look good, and have the extras you’d expect and some you wouldn’t. If they controlled volume on my iPhone 3G then I’d be in Heaven.
If you’re in need of headset that sports a mic and simplistic phone and music controls, you’d be hard pressed for find a better headset from twice the price. I suggest you waste no time deciding on whether or not to buy the Faze headsets and GET THEM NOW*.
Street Price (Amazon)
All iPhones, 2nd gen iPod Touch, 4th Gen Nano, iPod Classic (120GB)
* Note: My rating system goes like this;
- Get it Now! - Highest rating and an absolute must-have
- Highly recommend - Minor flaws, but a great product
- Recommend - Flawed, but still a solid product
- So-so - Problem product that may find a niche market
- Avoid - Why did they bother making it? A money waster.