Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Yesterday I mentioned some of the offers that have come my way since I started blogging. I figure if people want to send me their stuff for free, I’ll take it. My expectations are usually quite low, that way I won’t be disappointed. I mentioned that I was waiting to receive some headphones. I wasn’t expecting to get them last night and I definitely wasn’t expecting to write a review today. But with the holidays right around the corner, what the heck. It’s either write a review or write about base training, which I’ve already beaten into the ground – and we’re not even into December yet.

Keep in mind, this review is written by a guy who if he wears his iPod twice a week it’s a lot. With that said, and given that my current pair of headphones were the cheapest I could find, I wasn’t too concerned with whether or not I liked the new pair of Air Drives.

Well I’m happy to report that I liked them a lot. The basically have two features the I’ve seen before (but have never owned), along with a key selling point that I’ve never seen.

The first feature is a loop that actually sits over your ear. The last time I listened to my iPod I was frustrated because the cable ran directly from my ear piece into my iPod. Due to the tension there was an annoying crackling that I “only” heard on every stride. I’m no engineer, but it seemed like the loop on the Air Drive helped dissipate the tension, so all I heard was the music.

The second feature is a volume control right on the cord. Since my runs usually start out on the roads before hitting the trails, I like to have my music a little louder to begin with. Rather than fumbling around in my pocket to adjust the volume, which usually results in changing songs instead of volume, I was able to simply adjust the volume on the cord once I got on the trails.

Finally, the main selling point of these headphones is that the speaker sits outside your ear canal, rather than inside it. This means you’re able to hear what’s going on around you better. Since most of my run was on the trails this morning, which are relatively quiet, I probably need more data points regarding the ability to hear what’s going on around me. However, it sure seemed like I could hear things like my footstrike, branches cracking and birds a lot more clearly. Also, I’m curious to see how these would work when I'm not wearing a winter hat.

I will say these headphones are super comfortable. For me, the true test for running gear is not noticing it. I don’t want to spend the entire run fumbling with controls, adjusting the fit or even thinking about the product. I prefer to put it on and forget about it. That’s exactly how these headphones performed. They definitely beat having an ear bud wedged in your ear canal for 90 minutes.

Does that mean they’re worth their suggested $100 retail price? That’s something you’ll have to decide based on your disposable income and how much you enjoy listening to music while you workout. But with the holidays right around the corner, they could be a great gift idea. If you’re interested, you can purchase them here and they’re supposed to be available at bestbuy.com soon.


Rocco said...

$100 for headphones? There's one feature that would make me pay for $100 for headphones. The headphones need to find my iPod everytime I misplace it.

Jim from MN said...

I would pay $100 for a decent set of headphones that fit snugly in-ear, but DON"T stretch my ear to the point of pain (like the iPod ear buds do). After 30 years of not using a cassette, cd, or iPod during runs, I started using a Shuffle this summer and I love it. I would appreciate any recomendations and reviews for decent earphones OR anyone who has purchased the "custom," personalized earbuds.

Eric said...

The in-ear, monitor style headphones are a no-no for running. They're fantastic for airplanes, public transportation, etc., but I would never wear mine (Shure E2c) for a run, unless I didn't want to hear fate coming.

Cool that you're getting some product testing offers. I'm trying to get a deal testing some high-end cold running gear...so far, no takers!

Chad said...

Rocco, I have you down for two.

Jim, for $50 they're yours.

Eric, since I'm usually on the trails, I don't mind the in-ear types.

If you figure out how to get some free cold weather gear, let me know. I can always use more of that.