I saw these headphones from miniinthebox.com come up a while back. They caught my eye, so I had them send me a set to see if they were as good of an idea as I thought they were. Let’s take a look and see what I thought was so compelling about them.
What makes these semi-cool is that they are regular wired headphones as well as a wireless mp3 player once you detach the cable and insert a MicroSD card. Think Apple Shuffle but without a wire. They also have a FM radio built into them and when you have the cables plugged in to your computer, you can use it with Skype because it has a microphone in it as well. Sounds like an almost ideal device if you are into music and using Skype.
So can it do any one of these things well? In a word, no.
To use this as a MP3 player, you just attach the USB/Charge cable, plug it into your computer and it mounts as USB mass storage. Then you just drag and drop some MP3′s onto the card. Once you are done, safely remove or eject the USB disk and turn it on and press play and music will start playing. What order does it play in? I am not sure, as it does not seem to follow the order on the card. I do know there is one since when I press the button that skips back a track, it plays the previous song. It sounds ok, but not great. There doesn’t seem to be a way to give it a specific play order so this can be a bit frustrating especially if you use it for listening to podcasts.
The FM receiver is of a poor quality. It has a rough time pulling in anything but the strongest of stations. Plus the lack of any screen makes it difficult to tune to the frequency you want. This is probably the worse function of these headphones.
This pretty much works as expected, while the sound is ok, it’s nowhere near the quality of other standalone headphones I have reviewed. I would use ANY pair of headphones over these.
Build quality is the issue.
The biggest problem with these is that the build quality is bad. Really bad. I haven’t had them that long, but already an ear pad has fallen off and a crack that developed in the headband by just putting them on my head. It also took two tries before I received a functioning set. Finally, they must use two different suppliers because they both look different so what you get is a crap shoot.
In the end, I think the build quality and trying to do too much has done these headphones in. It doesn’t excel in any of the functions and they are really fragile. Much too fragile for something you’d want to just stuff in your bag. Plus at about $45, you expect these to not fall apart in the first week of use, but these barely survived. I may try to fix them so I can get some use out of them but it may end up not being worth fixing. They are available now at miniinthebox.com.
What I liked: No wires for mp3 mode. Multi uses.
What needs improvement: Bad build quality, poor implementation of the FM radio