There’s something so right about wireless technology. After all, who wants to be tethered to an Ethernet cable to browse the Internet or get up from the sofa to change channel on the TV? The same should apply to headphones and MP3 players, but in practice it’s taken time for wire-free headphones such as these Cerulean F1s from iSkin to take off.
In theory I’m all for cable liberation in portable media. The one thing that occasionally stops me from donning headphones on the way out to catch a train is the thought of being festooned with cables, tugging at my lugs every time I make an unexpected move. There’s nothing wrong with the technology, either: Bluetooth 2.0-equipped devices that are A2DP compatible can reach speeds of up to 3Mbits/sec – easily enough for a high quality audio stream.
And there’s another bonus: listen to music files via a mobile phone or similar device and you don’t have to rely on the (usually rubbish) amplification circuits in the phone itself, since all the amplification – and the final digital-to-analogue conversion – takes place in the headset itself.
It all sounds rosy but we haven’t yet found wireless Bluetooth headphones that can match the best wired offerings on the market for sound quality. And those that get close – I’m thinking of Etymotic’s wonderful-sounding, weird-looking ety8s – tend to be very expensive. Can the cheaper Cerulean F1s change all that?
Well, they’re certainly a big improvement over the ety8s in the looks department. Instead of that Eighties earring appearance, the F1s look more like a pair of standard Bluetooth hands-free headsets. Each earpiece has a hook that wraps around the back of the ear and a stubby, pivoting boom that points towards your mouth. They’re still not catwalk material but you’ll certainly feel less self conscious wearing these out on the street or on the train.