Head to Head: The Air-Fi Touch vs Revo Wireless

When it comes to headphones, who wants a tangle of cables if you don't need them? And who needs buttons, when touch-sensitive headphone controls are the wave of the future? This week we're taking a look at two of my favorite pairs of Bluetooth, touch-controlled, on-ear headphones, to see how they compare.

Bluetooth headphones have come a long way since the early days of their inception. Nowadays a good pair of Bluetooth headphones can deliver sound on par with CD-quality recordings. And although our iPhones and iPads are extremely handy when it comes to offering us a variety of alternatives for consuming digital media, let's face it; for most intents and purposes, iDevices (including the Apple Watch) don't come with speakers designed to pack much of a sonic punch. So a good pair of Bluetooth headphones is a worthwhile investment for anyone who wants to enhance their ability to enjoy the fullest audio experience their mobile devices can provide.

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Two of my favorite Bluetooth on-ear headphones, the Air-Fi Touch and the Revo Wireless, belong to a new category of headphones; ones with touch controls built into their earcup shell. No more fumbling to find the right button (some Bluetooth headphones have as many as seven tiny buttons) with these cool cans. Swipes and taps are your primary method of controlling your audio playback and phone calls with this new breed of audio gear. While the following two headphones share many similarities, they also have significant differences. Let's take a look at what distinguishes these two pairs of great headphones.

The Air-Fi Touch ($99.99)

Head to Head-The Air-Fi Touch vs Jabra's Revo Wireless
The Air-Fi Touch is a sleek and elegant pair of headphones. They are lightweight; and while they fit securely, the headphones don't exert excess pressure on your head. These factors combined result in headphones that are comfortable for hours upon hours of wear.

The gimbaled earcups rest against your ear with a faux-leather-covered, flat foam pad, similar to what lines the underside of the headband. Their sound is great, and they fold up to an extremely compact and portable size.

The touch controls are located on the left earcup and with a simple swipe you can skip songs forwards or backwards as well as control the volume. Pausing and phone answering are achieved by quickly pressing the power button one time.

Pros:

  • Lightweight, easy to travel with
  • Perfect for the business traveler or someone who wants their headphones to look more formal than funky
  • Great audio quality
  • Priced affordably

Cons:

  • When it comes to on-ear headphones I typically don't care quite as much for ones that simply rest on the ear, with a surface that presses on the entire earlobe. As a rule I much prefer the kind of on-ear headphones that feature the donut hole shaped ear cushion, which allows the ears space to rest within the cushion more comfortably. While I may still be partial to the latter, I can  definitely say that the Touch made me rethink that stance. Its easy fit and lightweight construction made this much less of an issue than I expected.

The Jabra Revo Wireless ($199.99)

Head to Head-The Air-Fi Touch vs Jabra's Revo Wireless
The Revo Wireless is a rugged and durable pair of on-ear headphones. The look  of these headphones is stylish and hip, with a nice contrasting spalsh of color on each pair.

The Revo have been subjected to some of the most intense and rigorous torture testing (see video below) that I've ever seen any pair of headphones undergo. This makes them ideal for the extreme adventurer, or for the person who knows they are just rough on stuff.

The touch controls are built into the right earcup and feature a soft-touch, textured feeling. Volume is controlled by spinning you finger around the perimeter of the earcup (think iPod Classic click-wheel) and song selection is controlled by tapping either to the front or back side of the touch pad to skip tracks in the corresponding direction. Playback and phone calls are controlled by pressing a physical button located in the center of the earpiece's touch-sensitive panel.

The Revo headphones deliver superb sound, from a company that has been in the business of making quality headphones for over 30 years. They are exceptionally comfortable with plush, donut-shaped ear cushions and a silky soft headband cushion. They don't clamp down too fiercely on the head and ears either, so wearing them for prolonged sessions—whether for music, gaming, calls or video streaming—is a joy. In fact, I consider the Revo to be one of the best overall pairs of on-ear headphones that your money can buy. Actually, relatively speaking, these headphones are not even that expensive when you consider all of the time and attention that has clearly been poured into their design and construct.

Pros:

  • Rugged. Built to last
  • Featuring a modern and progressive design, with just a hint of flashiness
  • Amazing audio quality.
  • Fold up to half their size making them great for the frequent traveler
  • Extra comfy and plush ear cushions

Cons:

  • My only issue with the Revo Wireless is the fact that at this point, the Revo are a little long in the tooth. In other words, it's high time for a product refresh. It's been over two years (ancient by technology standards) since this model was released and I look forward to Jabra's next iteration of this exemplary pair of 'phones, as I expect them to feature refined technology and subtle improvements to the design, if not a complete overhaul. That said, I'd suggest doing a little bargain hunting at places like Amazon, where they can be found for as little as $134.99 new.

Conclusion:

Both the Air-Fi Touch and the Revo Wireless are great options, depending on your use scenarios. For someone who leads a more active lifestyle, where your headphones are possibly going to be subjected to greater wear and tear, the Revo are definitely the way to go. For someone looking for something a little more conservative and formal in appearance, or who doesn't require the extreme durability that the Revo offer, the Air-Fi may be preferable. Overall though, when the dust settles, I'd have to give the Revo headphones the slight edge, thanks to their heavy-duty build and their innovative and comfortable approach to creating a unique touch-pad control interface. The Revo are a more reliable and sturdy feeling pair of cans, and for the money, their durability make the Revo worth the slightly greater investment.

Head to Head-The Air-Fi Touch vs Jabra's Revo Wireless

I've included Jabra's video of the Revo headphones being subjected to their quality-control tests. If you can't see the embedded video below, just click HERE.

 

 

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Dig Om's picture

As Senior Gear Editor at iPhone Life, Dig reports on the latest and greatest accessories built for the iOS ecosystem. From rugged gear and Bluetooth speakers, to headphones, unique iDevice cases, and iOS remote controlled vehicles, Dig's articles cover a wide range of great gear for the iPhone and iPad. A core gamer for over three decades, Dig also writes iPhone Life's Game Centered column, which focuses on the best iOS games and game related news. Additionally, Dig's company, iDoc Tech Support, offers web design and administration services as well as iPhone and iPad repairs. When not at his work desk, Dig loves spending time with family and enjoying the wonders of nature. You can follow him on Twitter @idoctech