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Gadget Review Logitech Wireless Headphones for iPod

Kailas Narendran
STAFF COLUMNIST

Pros

• Enjoy iPod music without the wires

• Easy access to music controls on headphones

Cons

• One size doesn’t fit all

• Non-standard Bluetooth Protocol

The Lowdown

Hot out of the injection-molding machines in China come the Logitech Wireless headphones for the iPod series of music players. Just as the iPod liberated your music library, this headphone system liberates your ears and fingers from the iPain-in-the-ass of headphone wires. The system uses Bluetooth technology to transmit digital audio from the iPod to the headphones, while providing you with basic music controls (play/pause, skip forward/back and volume) at your fingertips, on the side of the earpiece. The transmitter is small and neatly mounts to the top of the iPod, matching the design and style of the Apple digital music phenomenon.

Wireless+Control+Music = Good

The iPod is an incredible piece of design and engineering that enables you to enjoy your music wherever you go. Until today, enjoying your music meant compromising either comfort or functionality. Apart from holding your MP3 player in your hand or strapping it to your arm, there was no straightforward method of skipping that German version of “Barbie Girl” that you’d always meant to remove from your play list (unfortunately, it doesn’t shed light on why you downloaded it in the first place).

Thanks to the Logitech Wireless headphones for the iPod, you can now enjoy your music without having to cleverly snake wires through jackets, without losing functionality, while protecting the iPod itself.

The transmitter fits snugly on top of the iPod with a plug into the headphone jack and a tab connector into the control jack (the small rectangular one). The plug actually slides to accommodate the different form factor of the iPod Mini. Both the transmitter and headphones are rechargeable, with one full charge giving you about eight hours of annoyance-free music. It’s amazing the difference no wires makes. Now my iPod sits on my desk as I scoot around the lab between my computers, the lab bench, and everywhere in between; all the while, I never miss a beat of crystal clear, digital audio. It’s a funny that it takes the headphones to make portable music fully portable.

Marginal Fit

My biggest complaint with this system is the way the headphones fit. For some reason, they don’t slide to accommodate a range of noggin sizes. I have yet to find a baseball cap that fits my gargantuan head, and these headphones were too big for comfort on me. It’s possible to make do by hanging the headphones off your ears, but the experience is not overly comfortable. Over time, I did get used to it, but if there is a thorn for this rose, this is it. Fitting issues aside, the headphones are amazingly lightweight given all the functionality packed into them.

Compatibility

This device comes tantalizingly close to being a generic set of Bluetooth headphones, but just falls short. I could pair the device with my computer but couldn’t see any services offered by it. In the end, it does its job well (pairing with the transmitter it comes with and playing iPod audio), but it’s a bit disappointing that it can’t double as headphones for my PC.

The transmitter can also function without an iPod, making it a generic, Bluetooth audio transmitter. It is a great solution if you want portable, wireless audio for your non-iPod player too. Logitech actually has another system that looks the same, without iPod controls.

The Bottom Line

Springing for these headphones will set you back about $150 — that was the best price I could find after extensive searching. Dropping the iPod controls saves you about $20. Even on eBay, the best deals are closing in the $100+ range.

If you are addicted to your iPod and portable music, this device will revolutionize your life and is worth the investment. You can learn more at http://www.logitech.com.