Wolfson WM182 earphones review

News Maggie Holland 16:28, 9 Mar 2010

We review Wolfson’s WM182 earphones to see if the myZone noise-cancelling technology delivers thumping baselines or just proves to be a headache

Our review pair of WM182 headphones (an engineering sample) came in a small transparent treasure chest-like casket.

We were both intrigued and then impressed.

The in-ear headphones looked not unlike hooker pipers and we had to select the right sized bud from the case before we could try them out.

At the end of the cabling is a 3.5mm headphone jack, meaning these headphones will work with most MP3 players and phones.

The left and right ears boast their own separate cable, which then becomes conjoined towards the middle of the wiring thanks to a phone control and a clip.

While this latter aspect looks nice we found it a bit problematic. Its weight had the in-ear buds pressing down on our ears with the kind of force we imagine Pat Butcher experiences every time she puts a pair of earrings on.

Secondly, when we tried the hands-free aspect out using our iPhone, we discovered through error that the button emblazoned with the telephone handset symbol serves as both the call answer and end function.

The caller at the other end also came across very loud and shrill meaning we had to end the call prematurely. We’re confident this is the headphones at fault rather than our bad choice in company.

But it’s the tech behind – or inside – the WM182s that’s the real innovation, rather than the design.

They feature Wolfson technology called myZone, which offers 99 per cent ambient noise cancellation (ANC) to ensure you can block out the outside world and create your own world of audio. 

What’s more, the product is more than just a dumb pair of headphones that just channel sound from one device into your ears. Indeed, the WM182s also offer up to 30 hours of ANC playback.

You charge them up using mini USB and then away you go. Once the power wears off, they become ‘normal’ headphones again. It’s a bit like Clark Kent and Superman but without the pants.

Given that the subject of headphone volume and its effect on our health is a topic of key debate at present, it’s encouraging to see a set of headphones that do what they say on the tin and discourage you from pumping up the jam by ensuring you can hear your music in high definition without background noise from the start.

There’s no official price for the WM182s at the moment and the likelihood is if you end up owning a pair you might not actually even know it.

Wolfson is striking deals with key players so these dual-purpose headphones could well come bundled with the handset you buy six months from now.

Wolfson WM182 info

Typical price: TBC

Pros:
Quality noise cancelling tech
Will be marketed with range of devices and standalone
Hands-free calling thanks to built-in microphone

Cons:
Quirky design
Call answer/end button is one and same
No idea of price or availability as yet

Verdict: The design is a little quirky, but that’s no bad thing and when the WM182s come to market they may well be customised and tweaked according to manufacturers’ specifications. We’re also not sure what sort of price point the headphones will be marketed at, so it’s quite hard to judge whether they offer value for money or not. What they do do, however, is offer solid sound delivery and excellent noise cancellation.

Rating:

More info: Wolfson website

Disqus - noscript

The review sounds great however after purchasing a pair a fault quickly occurred - the would not charge. A replacement was sent and within one week the same fault occurred. Would not recommend them to anyone - clearly a dud design!

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