By Siva Om updated on 12/16/2014
I absolutely love the concept of Vest's radiation protection iPhone accessories. I think it’s a brilliant and a much needed solution to a problem that many of us may not pay much attention too; how do we stay connected to our favorite and most used technology without exposing ourselves, or those around us to possibly harmful levels of radiation? Well, Vest aims to tackle this issue head on with their radiation-minimizing iPhone 5/5s case and headphones.
Vest products aren't for everyone. While it's common knowledge that out iDevices expose us to radiation, whether those radiation levels are harmful or not is an issue that is still being hotly debated. The National Cancer Institute says the studies completed so far have failed to reliable prove a link between smartphone use and cancer. But according to the World Health Organization's Dr. Keith Black, the results of exposure may take decades to appear. While the science may be inconclusive and the studies ongoing, for those of you who would rather err on the side of caution, there's the FCC tested and approved Vest.
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I think the Vest headphones ($49.99) are great, even if they don’t have quite the audiophile excellence of some of the high-end headphones on the market these days. That someone is addressing the possibility that it may not be the best idea to plug our iPhones directly into our craniums via electrically conductive wires is a good thing. By providing consumers with an alternative way of listening to content or phone calls on our iDevices, without having to hold the device to our heads or using conductive headphone cables that plug into our ears, Vest has come up with a product that has a built-in, health-conscious clientele.
The headphones rely on a pretty simple design to break up the electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs). Utilizing quality speaker drivers, the Vest headphone features a unique system whereby the speaker is located where the electrical audio cable and the plastic silicone tubes meet at chest level. From there the audio branches off to the left and right to reach the ear canals via the sound-channeling tubes. According to Vest, the air in the tubes effectively breaks up most of the electromagnetic energy that a wired headset would otherwise transmit into your head. This headset gets high marks for blocking 98 percent of the radiation you would be exposed to using conventional headphones, and gets reasonable marks for sound quality. In terms of sound, I preferred the Vest headphones for phone calls most of all. While they can also work for games and even music, their sound quality is about on par with Apple's earbuds, which isn't bad when you think about it.
iPhone Life rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars
The Vest iPhone 5/5S Case:
On one hand, I’m a big fan of a product that would protect me, and those around me, from any questionable levels of radiation exposure. On the other hand, I use my iPhone a lot and I use it hard. My iPhone comes on all kinds of adventures with me. Having a case that offers a good level of protection for my iPhone is important to me. Afterall, if I’m traveling or adventuring, what good is an EMF protective case if my iPhone can’t stand the shock of a fall or a splash of water. And perhaps that’s the main shortcoming of Vest’s iPhone cases ($49.99); there is only one style, and that style is not very protective. This means that for many of us, the Vest iPhone case doesn’t offer enough protection for our active lifestyles.
I suppose this wouldn’t be an extremely significant point if the iPhone’s demographic wasn’t so outgoing and adventurous, but the fact of the matter is iPhone users tend to be rather hard on their—iPhone’s as the success of companies like Lifeproof and Otterbox will attest to. So for a company to produce an anti-radiation case without taking this into greater consideration is something that I’d love to see change. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve told about this case, only to have them decide against getting it because it wasn't protective enough. What I’d love to see from Vest is an upgrade to their entry-level EMF protective case, so that instead of a minimalistic protective case, their entry level case was at least a two layer, silicone/polycarbonate affair, perhaps something akin to Acase's Superlegerra PRO. Then, in addition to that I'd love to see them develop a heavier duty EMF protection case. One that is more along the lines of an Otterbox Defender or Ballistic Every1 design. It seems essential that this company expand the variety of their case designs. I love the concept, and the product line has great potential. I believe that a great number of people might opt for a case that protects them from radiation, if it also offers a decent level of protection for the iPhone itself as well. Not that a minimal protection, anti-radiation case won't be sufficient for a lot of people, and it may do alright in terms of sales. Nonetheless, I’m afraid this company (like it’s predecessor, Pong) will have a harder time gaining traction and saturation in the iPhone case market, as long as they only offer this one case design.
In terms of fulfilling its intended purpose of blocking radiation while optimizing signal strength the Vest iPhone case does very well, but in terms of being a versatile case, or a technology that can be had in a variety of protective shells, the Vest case is lagging behind the competition.
iPhone Life rating: 3 out of 5 stars.
If you are curious, (I know I was!) to review a list of cell phones according to their SAR (Specific Absorption Rate) levels, click HERE. Heads-up, the iPhone is relatively high up there in terms of its levels of radiation emittance.
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