iPhone Life magazine

Phiaton PS 20 BT Earphones Review

 

Looking for a button-controllable bluetooth headset that works equally well across iOS and Android devices? Phiaton offers their PS 20 BT Bluetooth Stereo Earphones with Mic to provide a hands-free wireless auditory experience. How does this headset compare with other high quality audio wireless Bluetooth headsets? Read on to find out.
 
The PS 20 incorporates the Bluetooth 3.0 spec, making it the ideal headset for the latest smartphone devices like the iPhone 4 and 4S. This means that the PS 20 supports the various 3.0 Bluetooth profiles such as A2DP, AVRCP, HFP and HSP that help deliver the PS 20's superior wireless audio playback and control experience. It also allows itself to be paired up to 8 devices so that you'll be able to switch between your iPod Touch, your iPad or even an Android or Windows Phone device without the annoying dis-associate/re-associate pairing hassles encountered with other Bluetooth headsets.
 
The package contains the stereo earphones, 4 differently sized ear tips, a USB charging cable, neck strap and a cloth carrying case. Charging the PS 20's lithium polymer battery via the USB cable takes about two hours and operates for several hours on a full charge.
Phiaton claims that the PS 20 can remarkably last up to 250 hours on standby.
 
Phiaton PS 20 BT Earphones
 
The PS 20 earphones at first glance look bulkier than other earphones, though that's because Phiaton designed these to be "half in-ear" so that the front damper rests outside the ear canal. Once seated, the earphones rest comfortably and don't have that nagging weighty feel that fully in-ear headphones tend to exhibit. They also sound terrific, delivering a healthy bass response thanks to Phiaton's 'MaxBass Reflex' technology. Even with thumping bass lines, the earphones didn't succumb to annoying vibration or crackle.
 
The PS 20's one detraction is its egg-shaped audio controller, mic and Bluetooth radio combination. While it's not very heavy, this accessory hangs off the bottom of the headset cord and acts like a center counterweight to the earphones. To offset this unsettling drag, Phiaton included neck strap more equally balances out the weight distribution. However, this still doesn't negate the fact that you're wearing a bulbous pendant attached to the earphones. You'll need to clip the controller on to a shirt or strap to keep it from bouncing around while walking or working out. And because the microphone is built into the controller, I had a tendency of grabbing it and holding it to my mouth when receiving a call. This kind of dissolved one of the key benefits of wearing a wireless headset - that is, not having to hold something in your hand while talking on the phone. Phiaton could have offset this inconvenience by including a display on it that provided caller ID, todo/appointment/alarm status, text messages, heck, even a battery strength indicator would have been nice. While such additions would have no doubt doubled the price of the unit, it would be nice if the bulbous controller could do more than just act as a remote audio controller and microphone.
 
That said, the overall experience using the PS 20 was a generally positive. The audio sounds great, the half in-ear design fits comfortably and the neck strap helps to more effectively counterbalance the weight of the controller. Now if Phiaton could either thin down the mic/media controller to a flexible in-line  earphone wire design, or better yet, apply the message display area idea, I would have been even happier with the product. Perhaps we'll see such enhancements in the next design iteration.
 
Manufacturer: Phiaton
Price: $149
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
 
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Mike Riley's picture

Mike Riley is a frequent contributor to several technical publications and specializes in emerging technologies and new development trends. Mike was previously employed by RR Donnelley as the company’s Chief Scientist, responsible for determining innovative technical approaches to improve the company’s internal and external content services. Mike also co-hosted Computer Connection, a technology enthusiast show broadcast on Tribune Media's CLTV.