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Wrap These Around Your Head

Published On: Dec 24 2013 05:30:12 AM CST
Updated On: Sep 11 2013 11:35:36 AM CDT

Imagine you’re rocking out to one of your favorite songs on your smartphone, tablet or computer and all of a sudden there is nothing but stone cold silence. You look down to find that you’ve pulled the plug to your headphones right out of the audio jack and there they are, dangling down at your side or laying on the floor. Then you realize; I could still be enjoying that track if I only had a pair of wireless headphones. Well, look no further! Here are some headsets to help relieve you of your cumbersome cord woes.

Motorola S11-Flex

The S11’s are a great improvement over the S10’s that Motorola released last year. One of the greatest upgrades is the sound quality. I attribute this to Motorola deciding to include a much more standardized set of ear bud shapes and sizes with the headset. I believe that this, and the fact that the earpieces can be rotated, are some of the key improvements to the S series. Another change that made for a better overall fit is the change in the headband. I wear a size 8 fitted hat and the S11’s were able to accommodate my large head without an issue. The battery life is on the lower end compared to other headsets in my review. The Rapid+ charging feature is great; it only takes the unit about 15 minutes to fully charge. The draw back is that the headset only lasts about 2½ to 3 hours on a charge. This is fine if you are planning on using them for a brisk morning jog or an intense workout at the gym. Unfortunately, you’ll want to have your charger handy if you plan on using these to watch a movie on your laptop or tablet. The S11’s will set you back about $100 direct from Motorola. Ultimately, these are a VERY good step up over their older designs.

MEElectronics Air-Fi Runaway

The first thought that crossed my mind when I saw this headset selling for about $65 on Amazon.com was that they probably aren’t going to be all that comfortable for a long period of use. I am SO glad I was completely wrong! This headset is one of the most enjoyable I have ever laid on my ears. I listened to Pandora, watched a couple of hour long television shows, and even made a couple of test calls all in the same sitting without any discomfort! The ear pad design creates a very cozy listening space even though the headset doesn’t utilize any kind of active noise cancelling technology. With a full charge, the battery life on a pair of Runaways is between 10 and 11 hours depending on how you use them. Giving the Runaways the ability to connect to a device via wire is a nice little add-in for those who might run across a device that may not have any Bluetooth capability. The audio jack on the right earphone oddly enough is also the connection used to charge the headset via a proprietary 3.5mm to USB cable. This proprietary charging cable is one of the few drawbacks that I’ve found with this headset. In the end, I can say that the Runaways will definitely be on my everyday use list.

Sennheiser MM 100

These are very close to what I would expect from Sennheiser as far as sound quality goes. Unfortunately, these aren't for the bass enthusiast. While listening to Outkast’s The Way You Move, I was able to hear some irregular distortion on the very low bass runs. They’re just not as capable of producing the VERY rich and deep bass you find in some music. The build quality isn't the best I've seen, but it’s far from the worst I’ve experienced. Again, I have a very large head and have had no issue with the fit of the neckband. I had no problem pairing these with my MacBook Air, iPhone 4 and Galaxy S4. Everything synced up perfectly and worked straight out of the box. The only thing that doesn't work with Apple products is the track forward/track backward buttons. This isn't an issue with the headphones themselves, but is an Apple software incompatibility. You can use an external Bluetooth adapter that attaches to the dock connector to gain full functionality, but that defeats the purpose of having onboard Bluetooth. The other issue that I found is the fact that the headset uses a not-so-standard micro USB A connection for charging. I truly like this headset and it would definitely be a 4 star headset if they were under $100. The irregular charging connection and the inconsistent bass response regrettably kept them at 3 stars in my book. Again, the bass response is definitely not terrible and a LOT more pronounced than that of other headsets, but it's just not going to please everyone out there looking for a Bluetooth headset.

Sennheiser MM 400-X

While listening to a large range of music and video, I was able to experience all of the highs and the lows without any kind of distortion unlike the 400’s little brother. I have always been a fan of Sennheiser products and have used their wired headphones since starting with WSBT. They are VERY comfortable, look great, and sound fantastic, as I would expect from Sennheiser. I paired them with my PC without issue and had no loss of connection to my PC once it was setup. They fold up nicely and come with a great soft case. The phone functionality works well and people said they could hear me clearly. Also, I had no problems switching back and forth from music to calls and back again. I LOVE the rich sound, the quality of telephone conversations, and the additional option to plug into a standard headphone jack if needed. The battery life is surprisingly long for any headset of this size and the very user-friendly on-ear button panel makes for an even easier listening experience. At roughly $190, the price is much easier to swallow compared to some of the more popular high-end headphones on the market. All and all, I give the MM 400-X headset 4 out of 5 stars.

JayBird BlueBuds X Sport

JayBird has done an excellent job in creating a pretty well refined set of wireless ear buds. The BlueBuds design has given them the ability to create loud and yet very clean sound compared to competitor’s ear buds. The battery life is absolutely WONDERFUL! While working in the yard, I’ve been able to get 8+ hours out of my BlueBuds on a single charge. When the ear buds are connected to an iOS device, a battery indicator for the ear buds is placed on the screen. Also, when your battery does need a recharge, you’re notified by a pleasant female voice saying that your battery is low. She will also assist you in determining when the ear buds have been powered on or off. Another nice feature is the ability to easily feel the location of the buttons on the remote control. I also found that having a tactical response when the buttons are pushed lets me know whether the BlueBuds will increase the volume or advance to the next song. The BlueBuds fit great and have the wonderful ability to stay in your ear even when wet. The only cons I have been able to find with JayBird’s latest ear buds is the price at $170 and the length of the micro USB charging cable. Other than these two factors, I would have no problem recommending these to any friend or family member that works out in the yard or the gym.

So, the next time you’re listening to Free Fallin’ by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, make sure you’re doing it wirelessly or your laptop may be the next thing free fallin’.