The a-JAYS One Plus headphones are designed for Android smartphone users who want great sound quality as well as a built-in microphone with inline control. It's a set that's designed a little differently to the norm, using a flat, fettuccini-like cord instead of a rounded cord, and the headphones themselves are designed to be inserted in your ear canals to form a seal, but not too deeply so as to feel uncomfortable.
The plug on the a-JAYS One Plus is designed at a right angle, rather than being straight, and it's wide and can sometimes get in the way of buttons, depending on the way your phone is laid out. It's a 3.5mm plug with four contacts (TRRS, or tip, ring, ring, sleeve) rather than three contacts that a typical set of headphones has (TRS, or tip, ring, sleeve), which means that it won't work with any old MP3 player or audio device that doesn't support the fourth contact -- it will mainly only work with smartphones. The extra contact is what allows the headphones to send signals back to the smartphone.
A single-button control piece and microphone is mounted on the cord near the right headphone. If you're grooving along to some music and a call comes in, you can press this button to pause the music and answer it. Simply press it again to start the music when you're done. The quality of the microphone was really very good during our tests and we able to hear callers clearly on the other end. If you are out and about on a windy day though, you might have to turn mic away from the wind to get good results.
If you use the JAYS Headset app, you can use that single button to do more than just answer calls. With a range of single, double, triple and even quadruple clicks, as well as prolonged clicks, you can manipulate the volume or skip tracks. That's a lot of presses to have to remember, but you get used to its basic functionality in no time and it sure beats having a bulkier control piece with multiple buttons dangling from your ear. (Incidentally, this app doesn't allow you to skip tracks if you use the WinAmp app to listen to music, but it works fine with the built-in Android Music player.)
The single-button control piece, in addition to the relatively large, flat cable make the a-JAYS One Plus slightly heavy. The flat cable does have its advantages though; mainly, it didn't seem to get as tangled up as regular, rounded cables in our tests and it allowed us to wrap up the headphones a lot neater before putting them away. The cable is only slightly narrower than the earbuds that are attached to its ends.
To wear the headphones, you have to plug them in to your canals, but not very deeply. If you're the type who usually balks at plugging things into your ears because it feels uncomfortable, then you might want to give these a try because they are not all that intrusive. They ship with differently-sized sleeves that can match the size of your ear (from extra, extra small to large) and you don't have to make them fit tightly in order for them to work effectively. They are designed so that they will rest in place. However, they can get uncomfortable over time if the flat cable rubs against your skin.
Noise isolation is one of the benefits of this plug-in design and although this pair of headphones didn't block out as much sound as other headphones we've tested (such as JAYS' own t-JAYS One), we were still able to listen to music at a reasonable volume even while on noisy public transport. On the outside, there was no sound bleeding until we turned the volume way up on our HTC Rhyme test phone.
The sound quality of these headphones is excellent. Its 8.5mm speakers supply a deep bass response and are perfect for electronic and hip-hop music. In addition to booming bass, they also do a good job of highlighting intricate bass-lines, and you don't have to be listening at a loud volume to hear these. It's not just bass that's handled well though, as the headphones provide a vibrant overall sound that also reproduces mid- and high-range frequencies very well. If anything, they sound a little too bright at times and could use some more mid-range (something that an equaliser can fix). Overall though, we enjoyed listening through these headphones very much and found their quality to be comforting thanks to the good low-frequency response.
Our only quibble with these headphones is that the flat speaker cord tended to amplify vibrations from the cord itself. For example, when we bumped the cord while walking, that bump was clearly audible as the vibration travelled up through the cord. It wasn't annoying when the volume was loud, only when we listened at low volume. This is something that can happen with any headphones, but we noticed it a lot more with these.
For only £39.99, the a-JAYS One Plus headphones represent good value considering the sound quality and functionality they provide, and you can get more out of them if you use them with the free Android app.