Headphones can be a tricky thing to find. They have to be comfortable, sound good, have certain features like inline mic control, and maybe even be stylish. Well today we will take a look at the Helium Digital BoomBuds HD-440 and see how they do against some of these criteria.
The BoomBuds HD-440 are a new product to Helium Digital that are in-ear headphones that can be used for essentially any mobile phone with a 3.5mm headphone jack. In our case, the iPhone 2G/3G/3GS.
The BoomBuds come with a list of welcomed features for headphones, some of which I will list below:
- Noise isolating design
- Inline microphone/answering module
- Bass enhancement
- 3 sizes of silicone tips
Let’s start with the Noise Isolating Design. Since the BoomBuds are in-ear headphones, they definitely provide a fantastic barrier to outside ambient noise as well as any real loud noise. I ran the BoomBuds through a SkyTrain tunnel that we have here in Vancouver and I must say I am impressed. I could just barely here the noise of the tunnel through the BoomBuds when used with my iPhone 3G. When compared with the stock Apple Headphones, the BoomBuds blow them right out of the water. 5/5 for noise isolation.
The BoomBuds include an inline microphone/answering module, which is something I have always liked since first using my iPhone. It is a great convenience to be able to just talk with the headphones on and then have music come back into play after the call. The inline microphone on the BoomBuds provides accept/end call functions for phone calls and play/pause/next track functions when listening to the iPod.
The only problem I had with the inline microphone is callers on the other end were reporting to me of hearing crackling or static. I made 12 different phone calls with two different iPhones and had the same report each time. Maybe I had a bad signal, but in terms of the inline microphone, when compared to the Apple headphones (in the same location making the calls) where I did not get crackling/static, the BoomBuds get a 3/5.
The BoomBuds include 3 different size silicone tips which are applied to the headphones. I would have preferred more tips as 3 is more of standard these days for in-ear headphones. In any case, 3 tips should be sufficient to fit most peoples varying ear sizes. In terms of comfort however, excellent! The BoomBuds provide a very comfortable and tight fit.
What I particularly enjoy is the way in which the headphones are angled. The tips are somewhat angled to the side which fit perfectly and nicely into your ear. So in terms of comfort, 5/5 when compared to the Apple headphones, that for me, just don’t stay in. I just don’t get it sometimes…
Last but not least comes the main feature of the BoomBuds, the Bass Enhancement and sound quality. I hate to say it, but where the BoomBuds gain on good bass, they lose on great sound. When compared to the Apple headphones, the BoomBuds bass is significantly better. However, the audio sounds empty. While the bass may be good, the audio to me just sounded very empty and muffled (the best way I can explain it is the BoomBuds sounded like the audio was playing underwater).
I tested this with the iPhone 3G and both times the Apple headphones came out with better audio, even though the bass may not have been as good, the overall audio was better. Since the bass is a primary feature of the BoomBuds, it is a shame to see that the audio had to suffer at the expense of better bass. Bass and sound get a 2/5.
Overall, the BoomBuds get a 3.75/5. The noise isolating design and the comfort are fantastic and while the inline microphone isn’t great, it is pretty good. But the sound quality just suffers for me and in the end, it is the sound that really matters for headphones, especially in-ear headphones.
The BoomBuds HD-440 are available for $24.99 from the Helium Digital Online Store. You can check them out and try them for yourself or if you have already tried them, let me know of your experience below in the comments.
On a side note, I have a coupon code that will give you $20 off the Helium Digital Bluetooth HDBT-700 Headphones, which will work with the iPhone 3.0 A2DP support and allow you to connect to the headphones for both stereo audio and phone functionality. During checkout, use promo code ‘iphonea2dp‘.
What brands or other headphones do you use instead of the Apple headphones? Why do you like them?