Neckbands on headphones are a bit of an opinion-divider: many people feel they look silly, or feel heavy, or bump against your neck. All three can be true. But the products in this feature that use this method are bringing us round to the concept. See also Pioneer SE-CL331-H review.
The rigid neckband here is perfectly constructed to maintain optimum pressure into the ears, and we would give these headphones maximum marks forsecurity of fit. We were able to completely forget they were in there and concentrate on the exercise. Comfort, too, is almost perfect – the only downer is that they dip down quite low at the back, and thus will sometimes bump against your shoulders when you look up.
Sound quality is excellent. The Philips’ handling of our disco sample reminded us why we got into that kind of music in the first place, with a fat, meaty snap on the bass drum and a kinetic energy that got us right in the stomach. And that sort of thing can make a real difference when you’re working out – the exhilaration of well-reproduced dance music is a great motivator.
Our pop sample sounded rich and satisfyingly broad, while classical was warm and realistic.
Down sides? Not many. Other than the occasional neck-bump, the volume controls are perhaps too close to the face for comfort – it’s hard to see what you’re doing. But the design of this unit is strong enough that it’s easy to operate blind.