Phiaton Curve Wireless Headset Review

Having reviewed tech products for so many years, I may be one of the few contributing editors at iPhone Life to have spent considerable time with nearly every one of Phiaton's headphone product line. Just added to this list is Phiaton's Curve headset, one that culminates the company's audio expertise, design aesthetic and comfort into a noise-canceling, high battery capacity listening experience. How does the Curve ($79) compare to the Phiaton headsets that have come before it? Read on to find out.

Related: Buyer's Guide: Best Bluetooth & Wired Headphones of 2018

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Perhaps the most notable design feature that stands out with Phiaton's Curve BT 120 NC headset are its long, thick wires attached to the earbuds. These rugged wires won't break easily due to an errant tug. They are also flexible in that they retain their general shape, maintaining a personalized, contoured fit along your neck and head. They also help to offset the additional weight of the relatively large inline control pads and battery on the left and right wires respectively. The size of these pads is needed to not only house the nearly nine-hour battery playback, but also the noise-canceling circuitry that helps block out a noticeable amount of background ambient noise.

Phiaton Curve BT-120 NC Headset

The pad also contains the rather legacy microUSB charging port. Having been spoiled by the ease of USB-C plug connectivity, I am hoping that wireless headset manufacturers will begin to ditch this aging port soon. It seems that each time I tried to plug in the microUSB charging cable, I failed 100 percent of the time to correctly orient the plug to fit into the headset charging port. Confounding this further was the lengthy rubber lid that kept wanting to spring back over the port while I was futzing with properly orienting the charging cable. The Curve uses Fast Charge technology, so luckily the mild frustration associated with plugging in the cable is blunted by the fact that the battery recharges so quickly. I was able to recharge another two hours of playback after only leaving the charging cable connected for a few minutes.

Wearing the Phiaton Curve

Sound wise, the quality and clarity are on par with Phiaton's older headsets, particularly the Phiaton BT 150 NC. In fact, the Curve almost looks and sounds like a flexible version of the collar-style 150 NC. While I prefer the feel of the BT 150 NC over the Curve, the BT 150 NC's noise-cancellation toggle switch began having trouble a few months into its use, requiring several toggles back and forth to finally engage noise cancellation. The Curve's noise cancellation activation moves from toggle switch to rubberized button. But the button is located in an odd place, along the bottom of the left control pad. It took a while for me to consistently locate the button since you can't easily see it while wearing the Curve. The same issue goes for the volume and playback controls. While these buttons are embossed with symbols, I found them too small to easily discern tactilely. It wasn't until I became fairly comfortable with the headset that I had enough kinesthetic awareness to more quickly locate and activate the desired button control.

Like the BT 150 NC, Phiaton's Curve supports up to two simultaneous Bluetooth connections allowing you to pair the headset to your laptop and iPhone at the same time. This works great on a train commute or office where personal audio space is appreciated.

Pros

  • Long battery life
  • Quick charge support
  • Adequate audio quality and noise cancellation

Cons

  • Wires tend to tap against face when head-turning
  • Inline controls not easy to identify by touch
  • Still uses clunky microUSB port for charging

Final Verdict

Overall, the Phiaton Curve represents a minor evolution in the company's wireless headset family of products. It is an ideal headset for those who prefer a constant wireless audio feed and don't mind occasionally being reminded of wires dangling from their ears. I also found the construction of the control pads much more durable, assuring a headset that will withstand daily workouts, commutes, and household activities for years to come.

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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.