phone: 814.881.5882  |  email: kristin@kristinlynch.com

technotes

My old Linksys headphones were seeing much less use, mostly because they couldn't hold a charge very long, and less so because the ear thingies kept falling off. The sound quality was OK, but nothing to tweet about.

Not having a good set of headphones wasn't a big deal - until I realized it was causing me to work away from home less often. I always use my headphones when I'm working on my laptop in public. And I get some of my best work done when I'm working somewhere other than home - such as Panera Bread.

Don't get me wrong. I love working from home. But sometimes I need to really concentrate on nothing but work and working at home can have its own challenges and distractions. I will often work at home with the TV off, no music, sleeping cats - all I should need for a conducive work environment. But other distractions can arise - noisy neighbors, phone calls, cats flying across the room playing and running around the house, a thousand and one other things that need to be done around here. When I work away from home, in spite of the other obvious distractions of working in public, there's nothing else to do BUT work, and sometimes that's exactly what I need in order to get things done.

So I needed a new pair of headphones.

I was primarily looking for something with great sound and battery life, with features like wireless and comfort also being very important. I'm not a big fan of the ear buds. I used to think I must just be an oddball because buds hurt my little ear holes¹, but then noticed a lot of similar complaints on the Internet and a larger selection of non-bud earphone products. I'm obviously not alone. I've had several pairs of headphones over the years from a variety of different brands (Sony, Linksys, Motorola, etc.) so I think I know what to expect in terms of quality and price.

I found a great set at Best Buy - Rocketfish Bluetooth HD stereo headphones. I like the Rocketfish brand and when presented with the opportunity to buy one of their products, I'll willingly spend the extra cash. I have yet to be disappointed in the quality of their products - from HDMI and Ethernet cables, to media readers and other small computer-related peripherals. Surprisingly, these headphones were only $60 - much less than you'll find with other similar quality headphones. AND, you can answer phone calls with them too. This feature alone makes this product even more impressive at this price.

Here are the specs for the Rocketfish™ Mobile - RF-MAB2 High-Definition Stereo Bluetooth Headphones (borrowed from Best Buy's web site):

What's Included

•    Rocketfish™ Mobile Bluetooth High-Definition Stereo Headphones
•    USB charging cable
•    AC adapter
•    Owner's manual

Product Features

•    Compatible with most Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones, MP3 players and other audio devices - with a stereo A2DP Bluetooth profile for wide-ranging compatibility.
•    Comfortable behind-the-head design
 - with foam ear pads for a comfortable fit.
•    4 high-definition audio settings
 - deliver enhanced audio quality for customizable listening.
•    Up to 14 hours of use per charge - along with up to 340 hours of standby time for extended use.

What I like most so far:

1. The product feels comfortable. The molded ear thingies¹ fit well and don't get lost since they're not separate attachments. You wear them behind your head so they're out of your way².

2. The sound quality is phenomenal. When I test sound quality, I generally use songs by The Beatles since I'm very familiar with every nuance of most songs. I tested the headphones first using the intro to 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' since it starts with crowd noise and then blends into the music. 'A Day in the Life' is another song I like to use for testing - lots of different sounds at different ranges and levels. These headphones picked up everything I expected to hear very clearly. Even better? You can choose between 4 HD settings. I tried them all and can see where I might switch from one to another based on what I'm listening to, but they all sound great. I'm sorry, but I'm not a sound expert so I can't speak the lingo and give you anything more scientific other than 'they sound great'.

3. The device holds a charge for days, not minutes. I don't have enough field test time yet to be able to tell you specifically how much time a charge will run - just that I've been impressed so far.

4. The controls are easy to use.  One set of rocker buttons handle play/pause and call answer, another set of rocker buttons handle fast forward or reverse (tap to skip, hold pressed to scan). Yet another set of rocker buttons handle volume up/down. 5. Easy setup. Sure, Bluetooth is supposed to be easy to set up. But with some products it can be a little frustrating. I paired this device with my iPhone and my MacBook Pro - total time less than 20 seconds.

What I don't like so far:

Nothing. These are a great set, and actually less expensive than I've seen in inferior products.

¹Yeah, OK so I can't remember what the actual term is for 'ear holes' and I'm too lazy to look it up.

²I laughed when I read the reviews for this product on Best Buy's web site. A few customers were ticked off because the headphones 'don't fit over their head very well and barely touch their ears', obviously not realizing that these are a behind-the-head design. Otherwise, the reviews are all very complimentary about the product.
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