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Monday, October 20, 2014

Gadget Review: iHome iB18 Noise Isolating Earphones

Review by Nick H.

We cover a lot of different headsets here, but very few of these massive pieces of quality headgear lend themselves to portability. The thing is, great audio on the go is still very important - perhaps more so than ever. Between our various mobile devices that we always have with us, we want to be able to enjoy our music or games on the go. And, unless you are the kind of bleep that thinks it's appropriate to use the device's speakers in public, you're going to want a decent pair of in-ear earbuds. The iHome iB18 Noise Isolating Earphones fill that need nicely.

I don't find in-ear earphones to be comfortable typically, but the small profile makes them much more portable. I actually keep these tucked in either my Vita or 3DS case (depending on which one I have with me that day), and I have found that these fit neatly and sound far better than any of my other earbuds or the built-in speakers. 

Using a 3.5mm headphone jack as a connection, these earphones are certainly versatile. They have a metal housing and a nice flat cable that promises the kind of durability that you'll want for something you'll be using in public spaces. Rounded audio cables have a tendency to break when they get shoved into pockets, degrading or completely ruining the sound to one or both ears over time with frequent use. That these earphones come with a carry case as well is a nice convenience for those who want more protection for them.

My son has a large set of headphones he takes... well, everywhere. Thankfully it has a replaceable audio cable, because he winds it around his MP3 player or 3DS to cut down on the length on his way to and from school every day. He has had them since last Christmas and we have replaced those cables four times already. These iHome earphones do not have a replaceable cable, but the smart design gives me the impression that they will better suffer similar wear and tear. As a test I had my son use them every day to, from and during school and he said they never gave him any trouble and sounded great.



I too found the audio quality to be quite nice. One of the key reasons is the noise isolation, which may not be quite as thorough as a true set of noise cancelling headphones, but still do an excellent job of keeping outside noises out of my audio. These did not have the best audio range I have ever heard, with bass that had some thump without really getting too deep and gravelly during heavy action scenes featuring explosions or buildings rumbling. The higher tones fared a bit better in terms of quality.

The cable itself is not terribly long - 1.2 meters - but for what it will be used for it is certainly long enough. There is a degree of nice design in the hangtag which provides a level of cable management. Another nice feature is the in-line microphone and remote that plays well with most devices. If the device is in fact compatible, things like pausing, playing and changing tracks is quite easy, and the microphone sounds decent for how small and no-frills it is.

I noted earlier that I am not usually an in-the-ear person with my audio peripherals, but I can appreciate the detachable ear cushions that provide some flexibility for a variety of ear shapes and sizes. I was able to wear these for an hour or so at a time without the earphones bothering me much. And so, the iHome iB18 Noise Isolating Earphones is a very solid option for audio on the go. They are lightweight, convenient and flexible - exactly what someone who listens to a lot of music or games on the go regularly needs.


- Nick H.
US Editor



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Gadget Review: iHome iB18 Noise Isolating Earphones
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