Not a fan of the stock headphones bundled with your iPhone? Me neither. Sadly, the quality of the headphones packaged with the iPhone and most other devices emitting sound are a fair representation of the profit-by-any-means-possible culture. I think Apple figured they had such a hot product with the iPhone that they could bundle it with two cups connected by a string and it would still sell (and I suspect they're right!).
Fortunately, other enterprising companies have stepped up to the plate and given unto us some worthy replacements for the stock headphones: enter Maximo, the makers of the iP-HS1 iMetal Stereo Headset for the iPhone, available at our Phone different store for $69.99. Continue after the break for a full review!
Out Of The Box
The Maximo iP-HS1 iMetal Stereo Headset for iPhone includes some extras out of the box. In addition to the earbud headphones, you also get a pair of earphone foam covers, a 2-ft extension cable, and a carrying pouch. It's nice to get a little more bang for the buck!
Form And Function
Having converted to the isolation ear-tip style of headphones many moons ago, I thought it would be a huge step backward in sound quality to use earbud headphones again. The Maximo iMetal earbuds are surprisingly good, however.
The first thing I noticed is the build quality. The earbud and driver housings are made of aluminum alloy, not plastic; thus, the name "iMetal". A high-definition condenser mic is located partway down one of the earbud cables, in just the right position to answer a phone call. The overall length of the earphone cable is 4 ft. If that's not enough, a 2-ft extension cable is included.
Speaking of phone calls -- if you are in the middle of a YouTube video, podcast, or jamming to some tunes on your iPod, everything pauses when a phone call comes in and resumes when the call is completed. This is a normal feature for the iPhone, but there's more. Further down the headphone cable is a rubber button that can pause/skip the audio and answer/end a call.
To prevent annoying tangles and protect your headphones, a silver carrying pouch is included. Just put the headphones inside and pull the drawstrings.
With the foam covers on, the earphones are a fairly snug fit, which enhances the overall sound experience. One advantage of the earbud style is that, unlike the isolator earphones, you can hear outside sound much better. This is handy if someone is trying to get your attention, a city bus is bearing down on you, etc. Of course, the disadvantage is you can hear outside sound much better -- if you want to be completely immersed in your music with as little distraction as possible, then you will want to look at the isolator iMetal headphones instead (to be reviewed at a later date).
More about the actual sound -- good high, mid, and low-range sound with a sufficient amount of bass. With some headphones, particularly the earbud style, I have been disappointed in the upper-end volume level. The Maximo iMetal earbuds have an impressive volume range. If you like your music loud and clear, you won't be disappointed.
When on a call with my iPhone, this headset performs well. My callers could be heard with good clarity and volume, much like the quality of a land-line, and they could hear me just fine when using the iMetal's high-definition condenser mic.
It's nice to have a high-quality choice between the earbud style of headphones and the isolator rubber-tipped variety. Maximo has a nice, quality product here with the iP-HS1 iMetal Stereo Headset. Many people like the fit and comfort of the foam-covered earbud, and Maximo delivers without compromising sound volume and quality.
The features and extras in the box, at $69.99, is a pretty good value: overall 4-ft length, 2-ft extension cable, carrying pouch, foam covers for the earbuds, microphone, and soft-touch button for call answer/end and song pause/skip. These headphones are a great upgrade to the iPhone's stock earbuds and it would have been nice if they were included in the first place. Maybe Apple can strike a deal with Maximo. Until that time, it's nice to know that companies like Maximo make a nice product available at a reasonable price with lots of extras.