Audio plays a critical role in so many experiences today. From listening to an MP3 player, computer gaming, or watching the latest action movie on DVD, these tasks all demand high quality audio in order to be enjoyed. The included speakers on many computers could definitely benefit from some serious upgrades. This is even truer on almost all notebooks out there, even so called multimedia models.
A good set of headphones has become an essential accessory and a great solution when the audio is a personal experience. While a good set of speakers can really crank up the soundtrack; when the rest of the house is asleep, headphones can be a great answer to quality sound.
In my situation, my Shuttle Desktop is on the floor by a desk. The case has a headphone jack on the front of the unit, but after trying several headphone units, I was starting to feel like a dog on a real short leash! None of the headphones have a cord long enough to allow me to sit up straight without removing my headphones. Most headphones I checked out have a just over 3 feet cord; it would take another foot to do it. I quickly realized that a Wireless Headphone unit would be the ideal solution to this problem. Due to space confinements, I rely on headphones for all my audio needs on this system, as I don’t have room for a full speaker system.
This review is looking at the Logitech Wireless Headphones for MP3. They are designed to be used with any standard audio mini jack. Users of the iPod (I still don’t have one) looking for wireless headphones would probably be better off with the Wireless Headphones for iPod which provides some additional functionality for the iPod player. While the Wireless Headphones tested get named “for MP3,” they are suitable for any audio source with a headphone mini jack (3.5 mm) which includes all MP3 players, as well as any computer or even a portable CD or DVD player.
What’s In The Box?
Included in the Logitech Wireless Headphones for MP3 are the following items:
- Logitech Wireless Headphones for MP3 (weight=3.2 oz.)
- Extra foam ear pads
- Wireless adapter for MP3
- Power adapter/charger
- RCA mini jack extender, straight
- RCA mini jack extender, right angle
- Quick start guide
Hooking it up
I started by charging up the two components of the system: the headphones, and the adapter. The power adapter/charger can charge both simultaneously. They each have a receptacle for charging purposes. It took about three hours to have each of their lithium ion’s cells charged up and ready for action. During the charging process, the plug, wireless adapter, and headphone each had an illuminated LED to signify flow of the power.
One of the keys of the design of Logitech’s Wireless Headphones for MP3 is that it connects directly to the headphone jack of the music player or computer. This means that there should be no compatibility problems, nor software to install. This is simplicity at its best.
The Wireless Adapter is plugged directly into the headphone port of the audio source. By moving a piece of plastic on the bottom, the location of the mini jack plug can be moved from the center, to one side. This increases the flexibility of the device, and makes it easier to have it fit a wide variety of devices. It is as easy to plug in as a wired set of headphones, so this is as easy as it gets.
For the rare situation that the Wireless Adapter may have trouble in interfacing with the mini jack, not one, but two short extension cables are provided. One is straight; the other has a right angle. Logitech’s attention to detail definitely shows through here. I could envision this extension cable being used for a headphone jack on a sound card on the back of a desktop case crowded with other cables.
After the Wireless Adaptor is placed, it is turned on by pressing the button, and it illuminates blue. If it illuminates red, it means it needs to be charged.
The Wireless headphones are designed with a spring type mechanism that sits behind the neck. They are appropriately snug and stay in place during moderately strenuous exercise such as jogging. Due to where they rest behind the head, they are not designed for use in bed when lying down.
The controls for the headphones are on the right earpiece. In the center is the connect button. Depressing it powers up the headphones which is indicated by the LED glowing blue. If it glows red, it once again means that the headphones need to be charged. In a few seconds, it detects the Wireless Adaptor, and the two of them are linked wirelessly. The silver buttons with the plus and minus signs are the volume controls for the headphones. This is useful, as the volume can be controlled directly from the Wireless Headphones. This is great when you don’t want to have to dig your player out of your pocket just to crank up the audio. The volume controls are indented, and easy to identify with only your fingers so you can adjust the volume with the headphones in place.
The wireless link between the two headphones and transmitter is based on the Bluetooth protocol (version 1.2). This is on the same crowded 2.4 GHz part of the spectrum that WiFi uses (as well as 2.4 GHz phones, and microwaves). After the promise of “personal wireless networks” for a few years, it’s great to see more computer peripherals using this than just desktop mice. The Wireless Headphones use the Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) part of the Bluetooth protocol. It appears that only the latest Bluetooth transmitters support this protocol. As time goes on, the latest Bluetooth hardware should support this, so down the road you will be able to directly link your Wireless Headphones for MP3 with your computer, and bypass the Wireless Transmitter and sound card altogether.
In summary, the setup was simple and intuitive. I was able to complete the whole process in a few minutes without even looking at any directions. Everything should be this easy. Once you plug the Wireless Adapter into the headphone mini jack, and turn the adapter and the Wireless Headphones on, you are ready to rock and roll.
We’ve established, ad nauseum, that these headphones are a breeze to setup. More importantly, how do they sound? I listened to the Wireless Headphones for MP3 in several different situations to draw some conclusions. To elaborate, I had them connected to my Shuttle desktop (nForce2 on board audio), my Averatec notebook, a CD player, and SanDisk’s Sansa 130e MP3 player. I listened to a variety of audio including CD’s, MP3’s, DVD’s, and games. The music was a mix of classical, classic rock, and soundtracks.
I would characterize the audio as equivalent to other midrange headphone setups. There was no audible penalty for the wireless connection as the audio is sent digitally. That’s right, no annoying hiss like from a cassette tape. The sound was appropriately detailed across the entire range, with a warm and full tone. Nothing artificial is heard here, just a robust sound. The bass is present, but certainly not earth shaking like a good subwoofer is capable of. You can definitely hear the benefit of larger headphone drivers at work compared to the earphones included with most MP3 players. These Wireless Headphones are clearly a step up to any standard issue ear buds I’ve listened to. They can go quite loud when pushed to the limit, but sound best in the mid volumes where you should be listening anyway (headphones may be safer than earbuds so this is a worthwhile upgrade). These headphones are clearly an improvement to the tiny speakers that are integrated into your notebook. After you listen to the Wireless Headphones, your notebook speakers will always sound tiny and small!
The Wireless Headphones claim a 30 foot range, and this is believable. When tested, the signal started to drop out around 30 feet, and this was with two interior walls intervening! When the signal drops out in the digital world, you hear the audio start to get garbled. One quirk, if you are out of range for more than a few seconds, the headphones turn themselves off to save battery power. When you are in range again, you manually have to repower up the headphones again.
In testing the battery life was a little short of the claimed eight hours. With a full charge, I only got just over seven hours. Both the headphones and the adapter have a lithium ion battery integrated in. Unfortunately, the battery is nonreplaceable. This means that only Logitech can put a new battery in. Then again, in a few years when the battery goes, there will be something newer and better to upgrade to anyway.
Strengths & Weaknesses
- High quality audio
- Easy to use
- Standard RCA mini jack
- Love losing those wires!
- No interference with WiFi networking
- 30 feet range
- LED’s provide useful info
- Headset volume controls
- Two year warranty
- Wireless not ideal for airplanes
- Do I need another thing to charge?
- No battery level indicator
- Needs latest Bluetooth hardware to interface directly without transmitter
Who should buy this?
The Logitech Wireless Headphones are best suited to the following users:
- The MP3 Player Headphone Upgrader
- Movie Watching Notebook User
- Desktop On the Floor with No Speakers (me)
- Night Time Gamer
In summary, I liked these headphones very much. They definitely are a great solution to my specific problem of the desktop on the floor. However, I also found them useful for faithfully listening to audio both on my notebook, and on my MP3 player. It’s really liberating to be able to get up from your desk with your headphones and walk across the room, without a concern for wires. It is also quite sleek to be able to go around with your music player in your pocket, and only the headphones. The Logitech Wireless Headphones for MP3 are “LD Approved.”
Special thanks to Logitech for supporting this review.