Phiaton PS 210 BTNC Use
Obviously, there is a lot of technology that Phiaton included with the PS 210 BTNC. Physically, they've included three different sizes of silicone tips and a set of memory foam tips for maximum sound isolation. The headphones are meant to be both inserted into the ear canal as well as wedged in their ear cup. The control unit includes both an integrated clip as well as a leather strap that can be worn around the neck. Most of the press pictures provided by Phiaton show models wearing the leather strap while using the clip.
The clip is oversized but not all that strong. The control unit is a bit heavy for clipping on my t-shirt collar and I often found that it would pull forward uncomfortably. With a tighter t-shirt collar, it would stay in place but I would definitely recommend using the leather strap as well if you are going to be doing any vigorous exercise. I often used the clip to hold one of the headphones in place when I didn't have both inserted. That worked okay but it would be nice if in future versions they integrated some sort of mechanism for holding the headphones.
The most important aspect of any in-ear (half or full) headphone is fit. As I've stated in previous reviews, I believe I have oddly shaped ears. With the Phiaton PS 210 BTNC, I found that the in-ear posts were just a little too large. I compared them to in-ear headphones that I knew fit, the Moshi Vortex Pro, and found they were just a tad larger in diameter. It is hard to tell from the picture but it was enough that, push as I might, I couldn't get them to seat correctly in my ear canal. Of course, I tried all the sizes of tips but it didn't help. With any sort of exercise (including walking much less climbing) they fell out constantly.
The earphones themselves are interestingly shaped with the in-ear part angled off the main body. This facilitates inserting into the ear but also helps in identifying the correct ear. While each earphone is labeled, the labels are small and nearly impossible to make out in anything other than a well-lit room. The physical orientation of the in-ear sections makes it very easy to identify the correct ear.
Lastly, there are small holes on the back of the earbuds. These are for the microphones for use with the Noise Cancelling feature. Having one on each side means that the PS 210 BTNC has the information it needs to eliminate the ambient noise. The sunrise design serves double duty to differentiate the PS 210 BTNC from other headphones and to mask the microphones.
The Phiaton PS 210 BTNC headphones have two switches on the side and two buttons on the front. The top-most side switch controls power. Holding it up for a few seconds turns it on or off. You can also click it down to place the PS 210 BTNC in "hold" mode. Hold mode locks the headphones in what they are doing (as far as music playback) though you can still answer, hang up, and control in-call volume. The bottom switch turns on and off the Noise Cancelling feature.
The lower front button can initiate, answer, or end a call. The microphone that picks up your voice in located on the end next to the cable. The PS 210 BTNC is Bluetooth-capable so it will work with most modern phones and may MP3 players and some computers. The top button can be clicked to start or stop your music, left and right skips forward or back, and up and down controls volume. These are all standard controls and, aside from remembering the orientation based on where you clipped the control unit, work as promised.
Battery and Charging
A concern with all wireless products is battery life. Rather than including a wall charger, Phiaton has included a standard USB cable. On the bottom end of the control unit is a small panel which can be pulled open to access a micro-USB port and a micro 2.5mm jack (yes, 2.5mm, not 3.5mm). The USB cable can be used with a USB to wall socket converter (you've probably got one lying around) or plugged into any USB port on your computer. The integrated battery charges relatively quickly (a few hours) and holds a charge for many hours. In my tests, I placed the Phiaton in my car, used it when out and about, and charged it about once or twice a week.
If your battery dies, the PS 210 BTNC headphones can still be used by way of the 2.5mm jack. Using the included cable, you can connect the Phiaton PS 210 BTNC directly to your source. Bluetooth and Noise Cancelling features will not work but you can still use the PS 210 BTNC headphones with a dead battery, a nice feature. I tested the PS 210 BTNC headphones with the power off and they function just as if they battery were dead. The controls and phone answering do not work as well as the noise cancelling. But you can power off the PS 210 BTNC if you want to save the battery for an upcoming flight.
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