Along the cable cord is a rather overlarge in-line controller for volume, Play/Pause. There’s also a mode button that switches between three gamma levels for different environments, and if you hold it down and press the arrows you can adjust contrast and brightness too.
So what’s it actually like to use? I was expecting it to be very uncomfortable and for the display to be fairly pants, but I was quite surprised to find that it was not as bad as I feared. MicroOptical claim that this is equivalent to a 27in TV at two metres, so effectively you’re watching 320 x 240 on a large TV, and quite frankly that’s what it looks like – it’s grainy and not that sharp – it’s not exactly HD.
Even worse are the headphones, which are almost painful to wear. The sound quality is also very harsh – I longed for the warmth and depth of my not expensive Koss Porta Pro’s. No luck here, you’re stuck with these ill-fitting, poor sounding, uncomfortable nibs.
I will admit that once I had jammed them in my ears and sat down on the sofa to watch the movie 300 I was quickly drawn into the movie and became less conscious I was wearing them. I’m not certain though I could have the guts to pull them out on a crowded train – you might not be able to see the odd stares you’d get but you’d probably be able to feel them. The only situation I might use them is sitting in the garden, or on a (private) beach where I might appreciate not having to hold the iPod. Or on that business class seat, where everyone’s a bit wacky.
The concept either appeals to you or it doesn’t. Have we gone so far that we even need personalised video? The box also shows two people, presumably siblings, sitting in a car wearing them. So not only do you not have to sit and listen to each other anymore, you don’t even have to look at each other.
In the end I enjoyed these as a wacky, out there gadget, but to be brutal, the picture’s not quite good enough, the headphones are uncomfortable and sound poor, and there’s just no getting away from the fact that you’ll look like a nutter. And you’ll have to pay £230 for the privilege.
If you really feel the need to watch video from your iPod in this manner, this will do the job, but I’m not convinced that this is a concept that many people will be brave enough to go for, at least at this price.
Score in detail