Tech Review: H2 'earprint' brings personal touch - but not when walking
Even EarPrint H2 (€260 from Amazon.co.uk)
Headphones are like speakers: there appears to be an unending supply of them. But Even thinks that it has a distinction of note in a unique feature it calls a 'earprint'. When you first use the headphones, it asks you to listen to a serious of sounds and respond with a button. It then calculates what the optimal characteristics of a song's balance (bass, treble and so on) are for your exact audio capability.
You can then switch this earprint on and off to compare the difference. In my case, I definitely preferred the noise characteristics with the earprint switched on. It was clearer, with better-suited bass accompaniment. Best of all, I was able to keep the volume lower while hearing my music perfectly well. When switching the earprint off, the audio was still good, but comparatively not as smooth.
That's not the only nice thing about the H2 cans. Aesthetically, they have a very nice 'wooden' finish on the side of the headphones, with generous, soft, leather ear cups. Aside from comfort, the latter feature is especially handy given that these headphones, unusually, don't have active noise-cancelling technology built in. But because the cups' leather is so soft, it seals your ear fairly effectively, thus cutting out a lot of ambient din.
In addition to the earprint button, there are two volume-control buttons and a play/pause button on the right hand side. The left has a micro-USB charging port, with battery life good for up to a week if you use the headphones moderately.
The headphones has one audio tick that I need to mention. It involves the H2's inability to accommodate frictionless noise when walking. Specifically, the headphones rattled audibly in time to the rhythm of my gait when I wore them outside. At first I was a little confused as to why. On closer testing, I discovered it was a design issue - the earpiece taps off the metal headband when you walk because of the motion between the two parts. The H2 isn't alone in suffering from this: about one in five sets of headphones I test have a similar problem. For someone who is largely stationary (on a bus or train or at a desk) when using headphones, this won't be any issue. But for someone like me, who frequently walks to work and relies on headphones for company, it is a potentially prohibitive irritant.
Is it worth buying these headphones? Aesthetically, they're gorgeous and the audio quality is really quite good. They're reasonably priced too, although you can still get Sony's excellent MDR-1000X headphones, with larger cups and noise-cancelling build in, for €269 in shops such as PC World. The only catch is for exercisers - this is not the right pair for walkers. For anyone else, it's a decent bet.