by Norman C. Berns
I’m long past being overjoyed by the coolness of things, though I have to admit, the ReF “fashionology” headset from iLuv is pretty cool. While I doubt I’m the target audience for a canvas-covered lime-green headset, I’ve come away impressed by the comfort and the sound.
The 40mm headset with sealed “deep bass” titanium speakers and neodymium iron boron (NdFeB) magnets delivers music that is exceptionally bright and forward sounding, with good aural separation from right to left and a strong (but not overwhelming) bass. Frequency response is rated at 20Hz-20KHz at 32ohm impedance. Overall, the audio seemed well balanced in informal tests.
The sound quality was a surprise and bonus for me. I only wanted a headset for my phone, hoping for a bit of separation from a noisy world without constantly losing my earbuds every time I moved my head.
Listening to music when the first call came in, the audio cut out as expected on the first ring of my phone. The caller was clear and strong. And apparently so was I.
“Ah, you finally got rid of your lousy headset,” he said.
“No, I’m on a headset now.”
“Really? Sounds like you’re just talking into the phone….”
To my surprise, the only problem was the quality of the isolation, the very thing I’d hoped to get. Instead of normal audio feedback as I spoke, the headset blocked my voice (as well as the rest of the outside world). Without feedback or much bleed into the headset, I was left wondering if my voice was really getting through.
“You don’t have to shout, I can hear you,” he said.
“I’m not shouting,” I shouted back….
Fortunately, it only took a few calls and not many minutes before everything sounded natural, if a bit odd, and I learned to modulate my voice. Now I wonder if it was all too much of a good thing, or a flaw in the Android audio system.
The folding headset makes a flashy statement, covered in bright canvas cloth with bold contrasting stitches and fat comfortable ear cups (mine were white, others are black). The well-wrapped steel headband takes endless abuse and springs back into place. The 1.2 meter braided fabric cord is just long enough to keep the phone in my pocket yet seems fairly immune to rubbing noise.
In addition to lime-green, the ReF comes in a host of something-for-everyone colors like red, yellow, sky blue, orange and white as well as the markedly more sedate black and a pleasantly deep blue.
Whatever the color, the ReF headset from iLuv is all about sound. In a crowded market, it delivers loud and clear. Especially well-priced, this looks like a winner.
iLuv Creative Technology
ReF Deep Base On-Ear Headphones – MSRP $99