May 12, 2014
In the sound/music accessory department, it is war.
Specific to headphones, there are almost too many options to count, with offerings from different types of vendors within different price ranges; OEMs understand that people are becoming completely dependent on mobile devices for sound output. The 3.55 mm jack rules, and after that, design, functionality and value are big considerations. With V-MODA’s XS Wired Headphones, we get to see whether quality can translate from looks to actual output.
First, the White and Silver review unit V-MODA sent us reflects the laudable design elements. The package itself contains an orange felt-lined hard case, documentation, the headphones and detachable coaxial cable. The entire structure is defined by the cans, which are attached to the greyish band via subtle, jointed metal pieces. The earpieces themselves are solidly constructed, with soft gray cushioning and a stylish plaque bookending the mostly white piece. The cable is kevlar-reinforced, and shares design concepts with the main section. Visually, it leans towards the stunning, and it feels quite well-constructed and sturdy. On the ear, they feel remarkably comfortable, and one quickly sees that V-MODA’s stated desire to make a band that aesthetically aligns closer to the head actually comes to fruition. It boasts military testing, and one walks away believing it.
Yes, it’s cute, but headphones are not meant to be housed in museums; they have to do what they are supposed to do well. In testing, it was a relief that the XS actually does it right sound-wise. The on-ear design creates a nice (if not complete noise-canceling) experience. With different types of music and podcasts, the sound is robust, reflecting distinct instrumentation; calls were a bit muffled, but usable.
The little things are what set it apart… the ports on each earpiece, the plastic pieces to seal them when not in use, the angling on the end of the cord, the caribiner on the hard case and such. The combination of style and functionality is underscored by the attention to detail. They are not the cheapest on the market, but they I suspect they’ll be somewhat easy to justify.
The XS Headphones are available on Amazon for $199.