I had the opportunity to look at a number of different headphones from Phiaton in recent months.
The first pair of Phiaton headphones I reviewed were the Phiaton’s PS 20 BT Stereo Headset. (Read the review.) These wireless bluetooth headphones were incredibly comfortable and sounded great. I found the control module to be a bit awkward. It’s round and the buttons were rather difficult to access times. I also didn’t love the fact that you couldn’t use your own earbuds but, thankfully, the earbuds that came with the PS 20 BT Stereo Headset were comfortable and sounded great. Here’s what I had to say-
What I Like: Headphones feel great and sound good; Controls easy to use; Looks cool; Can clip or hang with the lanyard
What Needs Improvement: Cannot use different headphones since they are permanently attached; I worry the control button will eventually break
I then reviewed Phiaton’s MODERNA MS 200. (Read the review.) These are a simple in-ear wired offering with a half in, half out design that I had enjoyed in the PS 20 BT Stereo Headset. The MODERNA MS200 come in a bright red color. The leather carrying case is a nice touch that goes along with headphones that sound good and are surprisingly comfortable when wearing them an extended period of time. Some reviewers commented that they don’t block enough sound and you can, as a result, end up disturbing the people next to you. I didn’t run into that issue but it’s worth noting. My review summary:
What I Like: Great unboxing experience; Comfortable; Look terrific; In-Line microphone and remote doesn’t stand out but works well; Tangle free cord; Sound great
What Needs Improvement: Nothing but at a price of $150 you had better LOVE the red color and unusual earbud design
Most recently I reviewed the Phiaton PS 300 NC Premium Noise Canceling Headphones. (Read the review.) These on-ear noise canceling headphones sound quite good and do a decent to good job of canceling out noise. Because they sit on rather than around your ears however they can get a little bit uncomfortable after a period of time. That, however, wasn’t my biggest issue with them. No, my biggest issue with the Phiaton PS 300 NC Premium Noise Canceling Headphones was the build quality. The headphones are made of plastic and, quite frankly, I’m not sure how much use and abuse they would endure over an extended period of time. When dealing with relatively expensive headphones- they have an MSRP of just under $300- that is something that is worthy of concern. My summary of the headphones:
What I Like: Complete package with lots of extras; Quite comfortable, especially for the first few hours; A number of special technologies that allow for both passive and active noise cancellation; Work as regular wired headphones even when there is no more power
What Needs Improvement: After a few hours the on-ear design introduced some fatigue; They are made of plastic, and while I have had no issues I have read of some parts failures
This time out we are taking a look at Phiaton’s PS 210 BTNC. This pair of headphones are not only wireless bluetooth headphones but include noise cancellation as well. In other words, the PS 210 BTNC headphones seek to combined the features of the first three Phiaton headphones we reviewed. First up, here’s our video review.
Let’s look a bit more closely at the Phiaton PS 210 BTNC Noise Canceling Headphones.
What’s in the Box:
PS 210 BTNC Earphones
Protective Soft Pouch
1x Set of Comply Memory Foam Ear Tips
4x Sets of silicon Ear Tips (XS, S, M, L)
2.5mm to 3.5mm Audio Cable
Owner’s Guide (Including 1-year warranty)
Product Registration Card
From the pictures I expected the PS 210 BTNC headphones to be made from metal. They aren’t. Instead the main portion of the headphones is made from silver-colored plastic. That’s not a huge deal but it was a bit shocked when I first pulled the headphones out of the box.
These headphones are, like the other in-ear offerings from Phiaton, half in/half out. I’ve loved that design on the previous models we’ve reviewed and expected to have the same experience. Much to my surprise that has not been the case. Even after I tried all of the different included inserts that ship with the headphones I could not get them to sit perfectly in my ear. They go in but they don’t completely seal out the ambient noise. Moreover, because they don’t sit nicely in my ear the headphones often feel as if they are going to fall out. It is surprising to me since a cursory examination of these headphones suggest the exact same design as the previous in-ear offerings from Phiaton. Sadly these headphones offer a slightly different angle and, as a result, don’t offer as good a fit.
The build-quality of the noise canceling module is another area worthy of criticism if you only look at the plastic used for it. Upon closer examination however this criticism is misplaced. Yes, it is plastic but it works perfectly well and the button layout is excellent. The rectangular shape is far superior to the oval one on Phiaton’s first Bluetooth headphones we reviewed.
Along the side there are two slide toggles. One turns the noise cancellation on and off. The second turns the bluetooth functionality on and off. When you slide it up and hold it in position for a few seconds the headset enters into pairing mode. It’s great to have different controls since you can turn on the noise cancellation and use the headphones to block out sound without actually listening to any music. Similarly, it means you can use the noise cancellation when using the headphones in wired mode. Finally, the separate controls means you can use the PS 210 BTNC headphones simply as Bluetooth headphones without having to turn on the noise cancellation. And that’s where we come upon the best news when it comes to the PS 210 BTNC headphones.
Before we get to that news though lets look at the specs.
High quality dynamic speakers
Frequency range: 15 Hz ~ 25,000 Hz
Impedance: 32 Ohm
THD: Less than 1% at 1 kHz
Sensitivity: 110dB at 1 kHz
Communication Network Bluetooth Standard Ver. 3.0
Operating Range: Within 10 m
Calling time: 12 hrs / Music play time: 14 hrs
Standby Time: 500 hrs (Noise-Blocker off)
So what’s the good news when it comes to the PS 210 BTNC headphones. The PS 210 BTNC headphones sound great. Seriously, the PS 210 BTNC headphones sound fantastic and that holds true not only when the noise cancellation is turned on but when the noise cancellation is off and you are simply using the headphones as a wireless device. Yes, when the noise cancellation is active you will get some additional bass but even without it on the PS 210 BTNC headphones sound somewhere between good to great. I have to admit the quality of the audio took me by surprise when I first began using the PS 210 BTNC headphones. At the time the noise cancellation was on. I expected the sound quality to drop precipitously when I turned off the noise cancellation. After all that tends to be the case with most all noise canceling headphones- the sound pays the price when the NC is turned off. That wasn’t the case here… at all. I was surprised… and impressed.
There’s one other aspect of the PS 210 BTNC headphones that deserves special focus. I mentioned previously that having separate toggles for the Bluetooth and the Noise Cancellation meant you can use the PS 210 BTNC headphones in a variety of different ways. One way is to simply use the headphones to cut out noise while not listening to music in order to give you a bit of peace and quiet. That’s the ultimate test of noise canceling headphones and the PS 210 BTNC headphones stand out here as well. They don’t block all noise. That’s a good thing since it would be rather disorientation. Instead they block out just enough of the noise to create a cocoon of silence that is peaceful but not jarring. For example, as i write this my laptop is processing some video. It is working hard and the fans are going. It isn’t loud but it is quite noticeable. Upon putting on the PS 210 BTNC headphones and switching the noise cancellation to “active” the sound of the computer disappeared. At the same time, when I ran the faucet I could hear the water striking the metal sink but it didn’t have nearly the same volume or sharpness. Said more succinctly, the noise cancellation is quite good.
Where the build quality may become an issue is in the cover of the bottom portion of the unit. The covering that closes over the microUSB charging port and the mini jack connector (for using your audio device in a wired mode) is flimsy and feels cheap. Each time I open it I feel as if I might rip off the cover were I not careful.
So the PS 210 BTNC headphones get a demerit for plastic construction and an additional demerit because of the flimsy door at the bottom of the main module. And they get half a demerit because the earpieces are okay but not as amazing as the MODERNA MS200 or the PS 20 BTs. Everything else is a positive. The controls are simple and easy to use. The sound is good to excellent. The noise cancellation is quite good. And you can even use the headphones in wired mode if you are flying or the battery runs out. All of that translates to a pair of wireless Bluetooth noise canceling headphones that offer maximum flexibility and great sound. Oh, and through our Amazon portal you can get them for just $129. Check them out here.
MSRP: $159 (Get them through Amazon here.)
What I Like: Very good sound with or without the noise cancellation on; Good noise cancellation: You can use as Bluetooth headphones, Bluetooth headphones with noise cancellation, Wired headphones, Wired headphones with noise cancellation or simply as noise blocking headphones
What Needs Improvement: Plastic body; Cheap door over the microUSB area on the bottom; Earbuds not as comfortable as other Phiaton models
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample