By Wong Casandra
Gone are the days where purchasing bulky and big headphones is the only option; in a world obsessed with shrinkage in almost every sense, even headphones are getting thinner and smaller. With Audio Technica's new ATH-ON300, headphones are drastically reduced: the ear-pads are the size of a small cookie and the headband, the diameter of a wire. Blame it on the rush to incorporate fashion into tech, but we sure aren't complaining here as the ATH-ON300 looks pretty pleasing to the eye.
Thin is in
Audio Technica wasn't kidding when they dubbed the ATH-ON300 as headphones with "seamless" headbands. It is extremely thin and hence, initially a source of concern for us before we got down and dirty with it. Headbands are thick for good reason - sturdiness and durability. However, despite our initial impression of the headband as thin and flimsy, it turns out to be very sturdy. It allows for a natural and tight fit that is comfortable, and additionally, doesn't mess up your hair.
While the ear-pads are smaller than what we were accustomed to, it is also less conspicuous for those who prefer to use headphones but dislike the unnecessary attention. The housings fold flat for compact storage and allows for the product to take less space than it already does. The cord is also made of a flexible, non-sticky material that prevents tangles.
Not Everything's Fine
However, we do have some minor complaints. Firstly, the housing is made of plastic that is rather prone to scratches. So, don't dump them into a bag full of keys and knick-knacks but into a pouch. Secondly, extending the length of your headband requires the ear-pads to be facing inwards and same goes for the other way round (i.e., when the length is extended, the ear-pads cannot be twisted flat directly).
Having to constantly go through the hassle of sliding the wire back, and then twisting the ear-pads just to be able to fold them flat for storage can be annoying, and perhaps, these kinks can be further addressed in future models.
While we prefer a safety 'lock' for keeping our desired length for the headband in place, the contraption moves stiffly enough for the wire to stay put without running amok. We do wonder whether it will gradually get too loose from the constant adjusting.
Audio-wise, the headphone lacks in bass performance, but vocals sound rich and detailed. It even does a passable job of canceling noise, sufficient to drown out the typing noise on a rickety keyboard.
This pair of Audio Technica headphones looks impossibly fashionable and funky. They even come in retro vibrant colors with matching colored cords, in which we suspect, is a deliberate move to draw in the fairer sex. While you might steer clear of the ATH-ON300 at first because of the super-thin headband, do give it a try.
At S$38, you are paying for a sweet piece of fashion accessory that also does a justifiable job of satisfying your auditory needs. Why not?