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Philips and O'Neill joined forces some time ago to create tough audio products that can withstand the rigours of extreme sport, and the latest addition is The Crash. This set of headphones cost a whopping £499 but they do combine high-end listening with a build that's tough enough to withstand 1.5 tonnes of crushing power!
The build quality of these phones is immediately obvious, with thick slabs of tough plastic used to construct the headband and cover the earpieces. Sitting at the heart of each earpiece is a 40mm neodymium driver which is protected by a solid aluminium section, which in turn pivots within each earpiece mount.
Other tough features include a large remote on the cable which is waterproofed and has large buttons that should be easier to operate when wearing gloves. The cable also splits about four inches down from the left earpiece, so if it gets snagged it won't snap but instead just pull out. The short section of cable is also coiled to provide a bit of give - all nice features, but we can still see cable wear being an issue over time, and we'd prefer the whole thing to be completely modular.
Another, non-tough-focussed feature is that you can unclip the headband slightly to make the headphones hang looser, the idea being that this makes them more comfortable to wear hanging round your neck.
Popping the headphones on, it's immediately obvious these are a step up from any other sports-oriented headphones we've ever heard, something that's unsurprising as they use similar drivers to those in Philips' impressive-sounding high-end conventional headphones the Fidelio L1, which cost around £230.
We're not entirely convinced from this first look that there's enough here to justify the high price, but we do like where Philips is going with the idea - tough shouldn't mean sacrificing audio quality.
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