Practicality in the form of functionality just doesn't cut it anymore when it comes to marketing consumer electronics, especially current generation of portable audio players that have a growing disposition as fashion accessories. Along with the influx of tastefully designed portable audio and video players came a growing demand for equally eye pleasing earphone companions. No doubt there already exists many beautifully styled earphones, most are average at best in audio quality. Among the few exceptions however is the Panasonic RP-HJE70 stereo ear-bud headphones.
Build quality is probably the first thing you'll notice about the RP-HJE70. Complementing it is the finely machined aluminum housing, which also suggests that it would stand up well to careless handling and will likely last the cause. Due to the headphones' brushed finishing, the RP-HJE70 has a discreet appearance that should go well with any audio player you own, as well as any attire you have on.
Despite its subtle design attributes, Panasonic wants you to know that the RP-HJE70 is every bit a wearable item of fashion as other accessories in your possession. This is achieved through a simple yet imaginative design of using rubber strips and grooves located on the aluminum housing of both headphones. When gently squeezed together in the correct orientation, the rubber strip and groove on either side of the headphones will connect the two headphones together, allowing users to wear the RP-HJE70 as a necklace without the headphones dangling around in an unsightly fashion.
Since the RP-HJE70 is a stereo ear-bud headphone set, audio sounded expectedly much more isolated than traditional earphones.
And just to let you know that Panasonic has really given much thought to the RP-HJE70, two additional ear-bud pairs of different sizes have been bundled together just so the headphones would comfortably fit any user. Yet, even with its metal body and additional rubber strips, the RP-HJE70 is not in any way as heavy as its external form may suggest. On the contrary, it is light, weighing just 14 grams.
The soft rubbery ear-buds do a commendable job in shutting out ambient noise for maximum audio enjoyment. While obviously not in the same league as in-ear headphones in this aspect, the RP-HJE70 will be impressive enough to convince you to permanently dump regular earphones that are much less effective in reducing ambient noise to return a more immersive experience from your favorite tracks.
On The Practical Side
It's also practical too, particularly for those with players that come with a wired remote control that permits use of third party earphones or headphones. Instead of having a lengthy cord running continuously from end to end, the RP-HJE70 was designed such that it can be conveniently shortened or lengthened to suit your specific needs, which is made possible via a detachable-cord design.
Most impressive about the RP-HJE70 is the clean audio reproduction. There was no trace of piercing timbre as previously experienced on a number of Panasonic earphones, and while overall quality tended to veer towards the warm side, there was ample tonal definition and punchy bass for decent acoustic response. For its decent audio quality, superb build quality and an aluminum protective case, the asking price of US$120 is not unreasonable at all. Put it this way, if you care about audio quality as much as how a product complements your image, the Panasonic RP-HJE70 has all the right boxes checked.