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Product Review: Radio Silenz Noise-Canceling Headphones

What Is it: Tivoli Audio's Radio Silenz noise-canceling headphones.

Price and Where to Buy: $159.99 at Tivoli Audio's website.

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Pros: The sound quality is great, and the noise canceling is pretty decent. You won't have total silence, but it will be enough to drown out the most annoying noises on your travels. Our favorite feature was the "Defeat" button—press it to switch off noise cancellation and fade down the volume—this was key when there were in-flight announcements we didn't want to miss.

The ear cups also rotate and fold back for easy storage (in the included pouch). We also liked that the Radio Silenz can be used as regular headphones without the battery (although the noise cancellation feature won't work), which is important for travelers' who may not have a back-up battery on hand mid-flight.

Cons: The on-ear headphones aren't quite one size fits all, and they hurt our ears after wearing them for more than a few hours straight on a long flight. The Radio Silenz product description lists the headphones as reducing outside noise by up to 85 percent—we'd say that's accurate, but if we're paying this much for headphones, we'd like them to cancel more noise.

How it Rates:

  • Usefulness: 6/10. Definitely more useful than ear-buds at blocking out noises on planes or loud hotels.
  • Portability: 7/10. The ear cups rotate inwards to make the headphones easy to carry, but the top band doesn't collapse or fold at all.
  • Value: 5/10. For this much money, we'd like to see a more comfortable fit and more noise cancellation.
  • Durability: 9/10. These seem well-made and stood up well to being thrown in various bags for flights.
  • Cool Factor: 10/10. The real solid wood on the outside of the cups look cool, and contribute to good sound quality. The natural wood comes in black ash, walnut or cherry finishes, for the ultimate personalization.

Final Verdict: Sound snobs who want the resonance and cool look from real wood headphones would do well buying these if they're looking for an on-ear headphone; those of us with small ears and small budgets should give a pass to these.

Editor's Note: Reviews are based on usefulness, portability, durability, value, and "cool factor." Some review products are sent to us free of charge and with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions, positive and negative, and will never accept compensation to review a product. If you have any questions or comments concerning our reviews, or would like to suggest a product for review, please email us at editor@smartertravel.com.

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