Back in November, the AirDrives people were kind enough to send me a set of these newfangled headphones to review. I'm sure they're convinced that was money out the window, but I can assure them it wasn't!
I've been wearing those for about three months now (when I test, I really really test)
and there are good things and bad things about them.
According to the press release,
...have been selected as the officially-recommended earphones for 2008 Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon and the Emerald Across the Bay 12K in San Francisco. As you probably know, the USATF does not allow the use of headphones at its official races, and many other marathons are following suit.
...AirDrives earphones are audiologist approved for all-day listening based on the House Ear Institute and Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) standards for sound pressure levels detected at the inner ear.
Their main selling point is that they do not block out noise. In fact, the earbuds sit just in front of your ears, so allow you to hear music or books or podcasts, along with ambient noise.
I can attest that this is precisely what they do. I can hear nature all around me, cars, bikes, other runners coming up behind (right before they pass me, sigh), while wearing these. If you can't hear what's going on around you while wearing these, you're going deaf.
Another selling point is that they are flexible, and are marketed as having "grips that adjust for precise fit and retention." In other words, they bend, so theoretically should give you the exact fit you need.
In actuality, I find myself endlessly adjusting them. Maybe I have weird ears (I do NOT!). Or maybe it's because I wear glasses. I don't know. It is a pain though. You'd think you'd mold them once to fit your ears and well, they'd stay fit. It's not like my ears change daily. But I find myself endlessly fiddling with them and they occasionally fall off.
The earpieces look like giant hooks, and well, they act like giant hooks too. Which means they're constantly getting tied up with the cord, getting stuck on stuff in your pocket or purse. (I know, I know, I'm so high maintenance!) They do come with a cute little carrying case, like anyone on earth is going to actually detach these after every use and carefully pack them away.
Despite these complaints, I'm sticking with these things because a) I really don't want to lose my hearing (there are enough things other things that I'm losing...er, what were we talking about again?) and 2) I forget what 2 was.
These puppies work. Thumbs up AirDrives!
Here's the stats:
• Frequency Range:
95 dB at source
80 dB SPL at inner ear
• Maximum Power Input:
• Cable Length:
3.5mm gold plated
stereo, 70 degree
Neodymium rare earth magnets
• Acoustic Housing:
$99.95 (US) at Hammacher Schlemmer.
Read more reviews:
CNET: AirDrives Interactive Earphones
CompleteRunning.com: Product Review: AirDrive Headphones
Plus, a little widget:
Now, let the headphone v. no headphone debate resume!