Headphones

Introduction

iPod users famously spot each other by noticing the tell-tale white earbuds and cables. They won't catch me because I swapped my whities for a set of black foldable Sony headphones. My left ear kept ejecting the standard plug, and I know many other people who love their iPod but hate the earbuds - be it for comfort or audiophile reasons. Now you needn't be missed if you throw away Apple's buds, as MacAlly has two quite different headphones that are coloured in Apple-regulation snow-white. The Podio earphones are buds just like Apple's, but with a retractable cable to stop annoying tangles. The sound is fine - maybe even a little better than Apple's supplied earbuds. One niggle is that it's yet another thing to clip to your belt - with my office key-fob, iPod and Podio, I leave the house looking like Batman on a mission. The Podio Pro headphones are proper old-school closed cans, with soft padded-leather ear cushions and adjustable headband. They're collapsible, and come with a leather carry-case for easy storage and transporation. The distinguishing point of the Podio Pro is its noise-cancelling feature - normally found on more expensive headsets, such as the £225 Bose QuietComfort headphones. Flick a switch, and you can adjust the amount of ambient noise that reaches your ear. This is most useful on flights when you want some peace and quiet from all the hums, engine roar and background chatter around you. Studies have shown that users of noise-reducing headphones may even step off the plane less fatigued. Podio Pro comes with a two-prong adaptor for in-flight use. They're equally useful on trains and buses, or even in your home or office. This feature requires a couple of AAA batteries, which MacAlly claims will give 100 hours of use. Of course, you don't need them with noise-cancelling switched off. Podio Pro weighs 180grams with cables and extra volume control, and are pretty comfortable - although I'd feel a little self-conscious walking to work wearing these larger-style headphones, which would turn me into an albino Cyberman.
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