The folks over at Zeikos Electronics recently added NFL and MLB team branded editions to their iHip line of headphones and speakers. They sent two of their items over to The Father Life for review – a pair of New York Yankees speakers and a set of Buffalo Bills earbud-style headphones. I should probably enter a disclaimer here that the logos on the products are not necessarily indicative of the performance you should expect! I love my Buffalo Bills, but iHip will need a better track record than the Bills’ decade of playoff absence if they want to move product.
I opened up the earbud headphones first. Inside were three different sized pairs of soft rubber rings to customize the fit of the headphones. This was a nice touch, I thought, and I found the set the fit me best. The headphones were very comfortable to my ears, which was a nice departure from the Apple ones I’ve been using that came with an iPod. I attached the headphones to my Android-powered phone and looked up “Flood” by Jars of Clay. I like using this song to test out audio equipment because it starts with a rumbling low synth sound; only good speakers reproduce it well.
I was pleasantly surprised by the clarity of what I heard. The full range of sound from the track came through crisp and clear, from the low, bass rumble to the high strings that follow it. The headphones also did a good job of blocking the other noise in the room – I could no longer hear the conversations going on around me. Chalk this model up as a win for iHip. I enjoyed the listening moment, then switched the music off so I could test the speakers.
The Yankees speakers are the non-powered kind that you would connect to an iPod or computer. I’ve used similar products before; the performance is usually pretty weak, since they rely on the same power output that is designed to drive headphones. Unfortunately, this product did nothing to change that opinion. In fact, these speakers performed worse than what I have experienced in the past. The sound quality was poor. I couldn’t pick up the low intro to “Flood” at all. Turning up the volume didn’t help, either; in fact, even after I was past the intro, I had to max out the volume on my phone to get something you might be able to call listenable. Thinking it might be a problem with limited volume on my phone headphones jack, I switched to the headphone jack on my stereo, which I know can get pretty loud. I got the same results. These speakers look great, but they get a failing grade for functionality.
If you’re looking for headphones and want to celebrate the start of the NFL season (and who wouldn’t want to do that!), the iHip NFL headphones are a great idea. They get a thumbs-up from me, and you won’t be disappointed. Take a pass on the speakers, though; they’re not worth it.