Gift Guide: Wireless audio gizmos under $500
This photo provided by Monster, Inc. shows the Monster iSport Freedom headphones. Meant for a workout, these on-ear headphones are made of sweat-resistant plastic and rubbery material and will give you a tight-fitting hug. (AP Photo/Monster, Inc., Stephen Gutierrez)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — If "unplugged" acoustic music was a hallmark of the '90s, surely "wireless" listening is the big trend of the '10s.
Sure, we've been essentially wireless since the radio came out a century ago. But today's Internet-connected mobile devices often require cords to hook up to accessories like speakers and headphones. And these cords can result in a knotty nightmare in your bag.
Several wireless gadgets I tried out recently should keep music lovers a bit more tangle-free this holiday season.
— Beats Studio Wireless ($380):
This plush set of over-ear headphones almost mirrors Beats' popular Studio line, but comes with wireless ability for an $80 increase in price. Like the wired-only model, this puts you in a cocoon with its noise-canceling technology, which works even if you just want padded silence. The sound is crisp, and the bass is deep.
A button on the outside of the left ear cup operates like the button on standard iPhone earbuds: one click to pause, two to skip forward and so on. A disc-shaped button turns the volume up and down.
The headphones promise 12 hours of wireless listening and 20 hours if you connect the cord, which is included.
Nearly $400 for headphones is pricey, but whoever gets this as a holiday gift will be mightily pleased. It's an outstanding way to bliss out during a noisy commute. It works as a headset for phone calls, too.
This photo provided by Beats by Dr. Dre shows Beats Studio Wireless plush set of over-ear headphones that almost exactly mirror Beats' popular Studio line, updated this summer, but comes with wireless ability. It's an outstanding way to bliss out during a noisy commute or wander around your home with music in your head. (AP Photo/Beats by Dr. Dre)
— Monster iSport Freedom ($250):
Meant for a workout, these on-ear headphones are made of sweat-resistant plastic and rubbery material and will give you a tight-fitting hug.
Although the headphones didn't jostle while jogging, there's something about completely covering your ears that creates a kind of bone-conducing sound. Every foot strike resulted in a thud inside my head, something that doesn't happen with $29 iPhone EarPods. In addition, on-ear headphones squish your ears against your frames if you are wearing glasses.
Separate buttons for volume up, down and skipping forward and back were difficult to use, partly because I often hit a much larger button for pause and play instead.
That said, the sound is excellent, and I appreciate not having to worry about yanking my headphones off accidentally by snagging the cord.