Graphic Wireless Headphones for iPodWireless Headphones for iPod

Wireless Headphones for iPod
Manufacturer: Logitech
Retail Price: List $119.99

Pros: no wire to hassle; easy access controls; comfortable; better perhaps safer sound than “earbuds”; two-prong power adapter simultaneously recharges lithium-ion batteries in headphones and transmitter; compatible in part with other audio devices and certain iPods “not supported.”

Cons: brittle head loop material; batteries not user replaceable; full battery charge provides less than eight hours use; poor user guide; non-adjustable head loop; transmitter connectivity intermittent with excessive jostling (rubber band remedied).

The Bad, The Good, The Intermittent
The inherent peeve with portable media players and standard headphones is the cursed wire. Inevitable hang-ups jerk out the mini-plug and too often damage the plug, the wire or, worse, the mini-plug socket. The mini-plug socket in my multi-band portable radio was so mangled, for instance. However, listening to my music collection, audio book selections, podcasts, radio, even television simulcasts at the gym, has been mostly carefree since discovering the Logitech “Wireless Headphones for iPod,” at Macworld Expo 2006.

Describing typical use, I leave home for a jaunt to the gym wearing the behind-the-neck Logitech headphones with domino-sized transmitter plugged atop an iPod 60G stashed in a pocket or sport bag. Pressing the center of the right-side earphone, an electronic beep indicates power on. Fishing out the iPod, I press the sole button on the Bluetooth-enabled transmitter and, voilà, I am wirelessly connected to all things audio in the iPod.

Playlist replay, advance, pause and volume are all easily manipulated on the right-side earpiece, with feel-and-press controls configured much like the iPod Click Wheel interface. At the gym, the iPod and transmitter are placed in the sport bag and I listen from a nearby workout area; though care must be taken to stay within reach of the transmitter signal. Like a dog fitted with a shock collar, I have adapted and play as directed, “Range: up to 30 feet.”

Supported iPods, Plus Others
Per Logitech.com: “For use with any Apple iPod with Stereo Minijack and Remote Connector plugs… iPod video is not supported.” In other words, full connectivity and playlist control rely on the small twin-pin “nub” that plugs into the remote socket adjacent to the stereo mini-plug socket atop several iPod models. Not referenced, though, models without the remote socket (e.g., iPod Video, Nano and Shuffle) may be connected with the included mini-plug extension cord plugged into the stereo mini-plug socket, thereby isolating the remote twin-pin nub beneath the transmitter.

Note that headset playlist replay and advance controls will not function without remote socket connectivity. However, headset volume controls will function if the transmitter is connected to the mini-plug socket with the mentioned seven-inch extension cord. Playlist replay and advance would thus be controlled with the iPod interface.

Overall, the Logitech headphones provide expanded alternatives to wired ‘phones. However, there are a couple of issues in need of Logitech attention. Specifically, the laterally stiff, mold-injected headset loop is made from brittle material susceptible to cracking.

And the multilingual user guide is a six-fold, roadmap-sized mess that barely addresses basics, and does not even acknowledge existence of the included mini-plug extension cord. Or that with the cord the headphones can be used with iPods “not supported” and other mini-plug equipped devices; like CD and DVD players, iTune-loaded computers, radio, television, et al. For example, I occasionally connect a thumb-sized Griffin iFM radio receiver between the iPod and Logitech transmitter.

Headphone Loop Fracture, Well-Served
I purchased the Logitech headphones and two-year warranty ($17.99) from CompUSA in Santa Rosa a day after testing at Macworld. A few days later, the left-side earphone failed due to a hairline crack discovered inside the headphone loop. Subsequent product return provided Snickers-snack service at CompUSA: staff simply presented new headphones and, because return was within 21 days of purchase, the two-year, one-time replacement, renewable warranty remains intact.

I may be a bit rougher on stuff than average users and, perhaps contributing to the headphone fracture, my head fits too snugly in seven and five-eighths sized headwear, the largest “fitted size” usually available. That unassumingly shared, weeks later I remain a contented wireless listener and satisfied CompUSA customer.


Review by NCMUG member William Hackett