Sure, the iPod’s great for listening to music on the go or while jogging in the park or messing around doing any such activity that does not demand for you to engage your aural senses too. But it’s no use listening to music with a crappy pair of headphones attaching you to your player. So our search for the best earphones for iPod, iPhone and iPad continues with the Creative HS-660i2 we’re putting through a review today.
Unboxing and packaged contents –
We were shipped the white Creative HS-660i2 earbuds. The pair came in a nondescript, mostly gray box with written content all over it. The flaps you need to open in order to get to the peripheral are glued in place, which is probably a good thing if you want to be absolutely sure that no one else has tried it for size before you. Once you peel open the pack, the top flaps tear so that there’s no way you can stick them closed again. Inside, you’ll find the device and two spare sets of ear tips.
Apart from these there are also five different leaflets including the user manual and warranty. The last mentioned talks about a 12-month warranty period and also notes that this does not cover damage caused by theft or an Act of God. For customer care services, you will have to go online and check out the country-specific support lines. Though you are given the option to register the product, not registering it does not render the warranty void.
Basic specifications –
Getting the specifications out of the way, the accessory is driven by 9mm neodymium magnets. It is touted to deliver a frequency response rate of 6Hz to 23,000Hz and offer 16 ohms of impedance. The sensitivity is measured at 106dB/mW and the cable end connecting you to your iOS device is finished by a 3.5mm gold-plated plug. But it’s better not to go merely by the specifications if you’re fussy about the sort of in-ear headphones you wish to invest in, especially since the durability factor should always be on your checklist.
The device may be employed with iPod, iPod nano, iPhone and iPad. The remote and mic controls can be used if you have a 4th generation (or later) model of the iPod nano, 120GB/160GB iPod classic or 2nd generation/newer iPod touch. It will also get along with iPad, iPad 2, iPhone 4 or iPhone 3GS (though we suspect newer iPhone variants may also be compatible; do give us a shout if you’ve tried). The 3rd generation or higher iPod shuffle can only handle the remote. Merely listening to music is possible on all iPod models we haven’t mentioned in the list. The audio is said to be supported by smartphones with a 3.5mm headphone port too.
The Creative HS-660i2 trails along a very thin black cable of 1.2m, a length which may be considering insufficient by many. Say you had your player on your desk and had to get up for a second – you’d have to be careful not to step more than 1.5 to 2 feet away from it. In terms of looks, a white cable would have done better service to the appearance of the in-ear headphones in our hands. Overall, the white with chrome accents is a tried and tested combination and the design as a whole is not ambitious.
Performance and comfort factor –
Now here’s the most important bit of the review – how does this canary sing? It’s awesome for anyone on the hunt for music that has all its mids, highs and lows balanced optimally. You won’t find any note rise high above the others when it’s not supposed to and there’s very little cable noise even if you’re plugged in while jogging. It’s one of the best pair of noise isolating earbuds we’ve come across in a long time. Removing the ear tips is as simple as giving them a slight squeeze and pulling. Putting them on requires you to lightly press down on them, no sweat.
Although the Creative HS-660i2 is ‘Made for iPod/iPhone/iPad,’ the packaging clearly says that it also works with smartphones embedding 3.5mm jacks. But our tests show that it does not always play well with handsets. We plugged it into a few Android phones only to find the right earbud going silent intermittently and sometimes, the pair would simply stop being recognized by the device, causing the loudspeaker to be turned on unexpectedly. On the comfort factor front, with the optimal fit on, our ears started to hurt after an hour of listening to tracks.
The earbuds offer really great noise isolation once you find your perfect fit from the 3 ear tips sizes it’s sold with.
All the mids, lows and highs are balanced optimally. Do note that this pair is not for you if you like blowing your ears out on bass.
The remote and mic control is too close to the right earbud. No matter which ear tip size you’re wearing and how carefully you try to play/pause or tweak the volume, the action always manages to dislodge the housing, if not yank it right out of your ear.
The overall construct is not convincingly robust. Even the remote control is made of extremely frail plastic that is delicate to the touch.
The peripheral does not work consistently well with smartphones. We don’t know if it was merely a problem with the review unit we received, but the right earbud kept going mute when we attached the pair to Android handsets. Also, the device would stop acknowledging them now and again.
We’re giving the Creative HS-660i2 a 3.7 out of 5 rating. It delivers all the nuances of music very well, is big on ambient noise isolation and has a pretty decent design. But we’re not sure if the construct will let it last for long. It is available in shades of pink, blue, green, black and white. Amazon is vending it at $39.99 presently.