AirDrive for iPhone full review
The AirDrives are an example of ear-clips that wrap around the ear to stay in place, rather than using a bar that goes across the top of your head. The AirDrives use a flexible plastic arm that can be wrapped into the shape of your ear.
We’re starting to notice a new trend in earphones, which is heading away from buds that fit in your ear and back to open earphones that have speakers outside the earhole.
The idea seems to be that they are healthier for your ears by allowing sound to escape rather than being driven directly to your eardrums.
The flipside of this is that noise has a tendency to head outwards, as well as in your ear. These are “leaky” earphones in that any noise from them is likely to annoy the person sitting next to you on the bus.
This will be more of an issue for some people than others. If you like blasting out the latest R&B on your mobile phone speaker, then you’ll feel right at home. If you’re the shy type that doesn’t like having people glower at you on the bus then stay away. With the volume setting at one-fifth the people around us could tell what we were playing.
We also remain somewhat sceptical about the health benefits (is it better to have these earphones on a high volume than in-ear canal phones on a low volume?). However, there’s no denying that Mad Catz have worked to prove that they are safe. The AirDrives have, apparently, been tested against the House Ear Institute's safe sound guidelines and have been approved by audiologists for all day listening.
Ultimately though, the sound quality of these earphones simply isn’t very good. It may be due to the open system, or a lack of audio experience from Mad Catz, but there’s no denying that sound lacks punch.