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Product Review: RHA Noise Isolating Earphones

What Is it: RHA's MA450i noise isolating earphones.

Price and Where to Buy: $49.95 at the Apple Store.

Pros: These earphones are hands-down the most comfortable ones we've ever tried. For starters, they come with seven sets of silicone ear caps, which make them easy to fit to ears of all sizes. The sound quality is fantastic—these are almost like wearing earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones. The sound comes out as clean and clear as an on-ear headphone, which is hard to do with earphones—we can't emphasize enough how good the sound quality is on these! Turn up the volume, and you'll be able to block out the rest of the world. The ear tips feature soft silicone on the outside to keep external noise out, and firmer silicone on the inside to create a tight seal to keep sound from leaking out (and annoying everyone near you).

Unlike regular earbuds, these actually go inside your ear (like earplugs), making them much more comfortable to wear.

My favorite feature is definitely the fabric braided cable—where most headphones usually have a plastic cord that gets tangled and mangled easily, the MA450is have a smooth, fabric covered cable which doesn't tangle or get bent.

The cable also has buttons to control the volume and tracks of whatever you're listening to, as well as a microphone in case you're using it with your phone.

Cons: Since the fit is so tight, the earpiece covers can be somewhat hard to switch out when you are changing them. These earphones are made for Apple, so the in-line volume/track controls will only work with Apple products. You can still use these earphones with other brands, but you won't be able to use the microphone or cord's track controls.

How it Rates:

  • Usefulness: 10/10. Wear these for working out (they will stay in place), on planes (to block out noises), or to while sleeping in a loud hostel (they're that comfortable). The MA450s are going everywhere with us!
  • Portability: 10/10. Lightweight and small, these earphones come with a small pouch to tote them everywhere. The fabric braided cord means you can toss them in your bag without worrying about tangles.
  • Value: 10/10.The sound quality of these earphones is similar to much more expensive headphones.
  • Durability: 10/10. The earphones are made from aircraft-grade aluminum (with scratch resistant coating), the connections are gold plated, and the cable is fabric covered and reinforced. Plus, these come with a three-year warranty just in case.
  • Cool Factor: 8/10. The MA450is come in basic black or white, and are very unobtrusive.

Final Verdict: Seriously, buy these headphones. Comfort, portability, durability, and amazing sound—for less than $40!

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.

(Photo Credit: RHA)

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