The first thing that has to be said about these new headphones is that they look hot. And if you decide to wear them, they are probably going to be the first thing people notice about you – so you had better be able to pull them off. That said, they are no over-ear Beats by Dr Dre (or similar) in terms of conspicuousness, so you don't have to worry too much.
Designed by British brand Atomic Floyd, the headphones come in an aesthetically pleasing red, silver and black box and sit beneath a clear bubble of plastic. A round rubber pouch, three sets of silicone ear buds in differing sizes, an adaptor mini-jack and a two-prong flight adaptor are also included. Although the headphones work with any device, they are made for the iPods, iPhones and iPads primarily and are stocked in Apple stores.
The first thing that impressed me on getting them out of the box was the tangle-free red Kevlar (synthentic fibre) cord that connected up to the Y-split (above, it splits into two red plastic cables), and the steel casings around the Mini Darts that are inserted into your ears. It took quite some fiddling to put the smallest ear buds on but once I got there and jammed them in, I found them to be very comfortable – however, they have a tendency to come a little loose when running. Something that the Mini Darts are missing is also a shirt clip – especially as the cord is fairly long so can get caught up as it hangs down (the solution is to run it beneath your clothes).
For travel, these are an excellent option as they are small and light, and offer very effective noise cancelling. The sound is very balanced, clear and vivid, and revealed previously unnoticed elements in music I was already familiar with. The stainless steel remote is essential, allowing you to play and pause (one click), skip tracks (two clicks to go forward, three to go back) and control the volume (one click) without touching your device, and the added in-built mic is handy if you like to take hands-free calls when on the go.
PROS Effective noise cancellation, cable doesn’t tangle, comfortable to wear and rich, balanced sound. Plus they look really cool.
CONS If you choose to wear red, remember you are making a statement. Make sure you can pull it off. Switching ear tips is very fiddly and you have to wind the cable tight to fit them in the circular rubber pouch.