Gadling gear review: V-Moda Crossfade M-80 headphones

In the age of MP3 players, smartphones and iPads we now travel with more technology than ever before. Those gadgets can come in very handy when we’re trying to pass the time on a long flight or when spending hours waiting at the airport. But one piece of gear that is often an afterthought is the headphones we use. Many of us are content to simply use the stock earbuds that come with our devices, but for better sound quality and enjoyment of our music, videos and other media, it is often worth investing in a better set of headphones such as the Crossfade M-80 from V-Moda.

When purchasing a pair of headphones there are two things that are of the utmost importance to me – sound quality and comfort. In the case of the Crossfade M-80, you get both of those wrapped up in a very nice, durable package that is perfect for travel. In terms of comfort, these on-ear headphones are great for extended use, although I did have to adjust to the feel, which is very different from over-the-ear or in-ear models. The memory-foam cushioning is soft and molds itself well to our ears over multiple uses. Better yet, it is great at isolating outside noises, which comes in very handy when you want to listen to your music over the engine noise of a plane.

Similarly, the M-80 headphones offer excellent sound across a broad audio range. The two speakers are surprisingly small but still manage to pump out high quality sound that includes solid basses and great high and low end tones as well. In fact, these headphones were so good I was actually picking up new elements in music that I had listened to many times in the past. That same excellent sound also carried over to videos and games on my iPad, which confirmed the M-80’s usefulness across a range of different media types.Unlike most other headphones, V-Moda has built the Crossfade out of metal instead of plastic. The company claims that this gives them “military-level” durability and it is hard to argue with that assertion. Designers have put the M-80 through a series of tests to help ensure that they are rugged enough to take the rigors of travel and continue operating at the high level that we expect. As a result we get a product that is head and shoulders above the competition in terms of durability. Whether we’re using these headphones on our daily commute or a round-the-world adventure, that is something we can all appreciate.

V-Moda has included a few extras that help make an already high quality package even better. A specially molded hard case helps protect the headphones even further and two different, interchangeable, audio cables provide compatibility with a variety of devices. One of those cables is specifically designed for use with Apple’s iOS devices while the other is more universal and works with Android, Windows Phone and Blackberry devices. Both cables provide an inline remote and microphone as well. These additions, which some competitors would charge extra for, are impressive and maintain the same level of quality that you find in the headphones themselves.

These headphones are on the higher end of the consumer spectrum and so is their price tag. With an MSRP of $230 they certainly aren’t for everyone. But if you appreciate great sound quality and want a set of headphones that can withstand the rigors of travel then V-Moda has you covered. The Crossfade M-80’s provide all of that and more in one compact package that is sure to impress. The company even offers a full two-year warranty as well as a 50% lifetime replacement option that helps protect your investment for years to come.

If you’re in the market for a new pair of headphones, or you’re finally ready to upgrade from the cheap pack-in earbuds that came with your device, the V-Moda Crossfade M-80 may be just what you’re looking for. The sound quality is fantastic and the build quality is even better. For travelers looking to extend the enjoyment of their other gadgets, I can’t think of a better complimentary addition than a pair of these headphones.

Stand out in a crowd — design your own headphones with iFrogz

Tired of the same old bland headphones? iFrogz may have just what you need – especially if you have a bit of creativity. Their EarPollution earbuds and headphones can be configured exactly the way you want them. The process is both simple and fun, and once done, you’ll actually have a pair of headphones that you won’t find anywhere else.

To design the $34.99 NervePipe headphones, you pick a headband, sidepieces, hinges, speakers, ear cushions and artwork. When designing the headphones, you may want things color coordinated, or you may just want to go insane with gold hinges and fuzzy earpieces.

A similar design process is available for the Flow earphones (in-ear). These $19.95 earphones let you pick the base color, rim and artwork.

My very own custom designed NervePipes! As you can tell, I went the “obnoxious” route with red, blue, gold and yellow. The headphones fold up nicely and the entire design feels very sturdy.

What goes well with gold, red, blue and yellow? That’s right – purple! Of course, as with any pair of headphones, audio is important, and the NervePipes don’t disappoint. They feature large drivers, with plenty of bass.

I had a ton of fun designing my own headphones – the final product may not win me any prizes from the art community, but they are mine – and that just feels pretty damn cool.

The price of the headphones is very reasonable, audio is great, and best of all – you end up with something you can really call your own.

Daily deal – noise canceling headphone sale

My daily deal for today is for a decent lineup of discounts on some pretty popular headphones.

Included in the sale is something for everyone. From $100 off the Creative Labs Aurvana X-FI noise canceling headphones (reviewed here last year) to 5 different in-ear isolating earbuds, starting at just $4.99.

Do yourself a favor, and get some decent noise isolating/canceling headphones, you’ll really appreciate getting some peace and quiet on your next flight!

Remember, any order over $25 ships for free, and Amazon prime members can get free 2 day shipping.

Product review – The Gadling Big Bluetooth Bonanza

Got Bluetooth? In this review, I’m going to take a quick look at 5 different Bluetooth headsets – but I need to point out that this is not a “best of”, I won’t be announcing a “winner”.

Instead, I’ve picked 5 different headsets that all do something special. It could be a great noise canceling feature, or an innovative way to charge the device.

Here are the 5 headsets that grabbed my attention:

  • Plantronics Voyager 835
  • Plantronics Voyager 855
  • Lubix UBHS-NC1
  • MobileEdge M100 PowerSmart
  • Jabra BT3030

Plantronics Voyager 835

The Voyager 835 is the newest allrounder from headset maker Plantronics. On the outside, the headset looks like any other unit out there, but 2 things make it worth a position in this review.

The Voyager 835 has 2 microphones, and a the Plantronics AudioIQ noise canceling system. These technologies means you’ll be able to make a phone call without the other end thinking you are calling from the moon.

The headset is also one of the most comfortable of the ones I tested. Its clear ear clip and molded earpiece made it a real pleasure to wear, and even after a 40 minute phone call it felt just fine. One notable item missing from the package is a set of spare earpieces. For some reason, Plantronics decided not to include them with the Voyager 835. Of course, if you take good care of the headset you’ll never need them, but I can’t help feel that a spare set of parts would make more sense.

The Voyager 835 charges using MicroUSB, the newest format plug popping up on phones from Nokia, Motorola and RIM (Blackberry). Included in the box is a pretty slick car charging adapter that functions as a charger and dock for the headset when you are not using it. This $20 charger is currently included for free with the headset.

Price: $119.95 (MSRP)
Manufacturer: Plantronics


Plantronics Voyager 855

The Plantronics Voyager 855 can be converted from a normal “mono” headset into a stereo Bluetooth headset. The Voyager 855 also features a sliding boom microphone for getting closer to your mouth, and for picking up the call. The buttons on the headset can control compatible stereo Bluetooth devices, allowing you to skip tracks, play and pause your music. And, just so you know; stereo Bluetooth does not work on the iPhone or iPod Touch. Apparently Apple does not believe in the wonders of listening to cordless music.

The Voyager 855 also features the Plantronics AudioIQ system, which greatly improves the quality of your call.

The headset also supports Multipoint connections, which is a slick way of saying it can be connected to more than one device at the same time. This feature means you can be connected to your phone and a Bluetooth music player, and still be able to listen to music while you wait for that important phone call from your broker.

Just like the Voyager 855, this headset charges using MicroUSB, and the package includes a USB charging cable and wall adapter as well as several replacement earpieces and a spare ear clip for converting the stereo headset to mono.

Price: $149.95
Manufacturer: Plantronics


Lubix UBHS-NC1

This wacky looking headset combines a bold fashion statement with a pretty ingenious design – the 2 halves of the headset connect using a strong magnet, allowing you to wear the it as a pendant. When you want to listen to music, you simply split the unit in half and wear it like any other headset.

Like the Plantronics Voyager 855, this headset supports Bluetooth stereo. On the back of the headset are 2 rocker switches which are used to change tracks, control play/pause, adjust the volume and pick up/hang up a phone call. Unlike most other headsets – the Lubix uses a normal on/off slider switch, which is a heck of a lot easier than having to hold down a button for 3 seconds to turn it on.

The Lubix may lack some of the noise canceling features found on the other headsets, but it really makes up for that with some astounding sound quality when used with stereo Bluetooth. The NC1 also supports 3D audio, which provides a really interesting effect to your music.

The Lubix UBHS-NC1 charges using a proprietary charging plug, but a USB cable and wall adapter are included, as well as several different earpieces. Also, like most headsets in this lineup, the NC1 has support for multipoint connections.

Later this week I’ll give you a second look at the Lubix UBHS-NC1 with the new Lubix iPod Bluetooth adapter.

Price: $54 (promotional price from Lubix)
Manufacturer: Lubix Mobile


Mobile Edge M100 PowerSmart

We’ve mentioned Mobile Edge here on Gadling before, but mainly for their excellent checkpoint friendly bags. In addition to these bags, the company also offers a lineup of travel gadgets. One of those gadgets is the new M100 PowerSmart Bluetooth headset.

The M100 is special thanks to an ingenious folding design. When you are not using the headset, you simply fold it flat and attach it to the included lanyard clip. When in the “off” position, you get a whopping 60 days standby time out of the headset. The headset comes with an AC adapter and a very clever L shaped USB plug.

The M100 is also pocket friendly – when in the standby position, the headset locks the call button, preventing one of those embarrassing phone calls made to friends by mistake.

Audio quality is quite outstanding, mainly thanks to the flanged earpiece, which keeps the headset nice and snug in your ears, blocking outside noise.

Price: $79.95
Manufacturer: Mobile Edge


Jabra BT3030

The Jabra BT3030 looks more like an ID tag than a Bluetooth headset. Complete with a chain for around your neck, the BT3030 is the only headset in this lineup that connects to a pair of regular headphones. On the front of the BT3030 are buttons for volume, music control and call control. On the bottom of the unit is a miniUSB charging plug and on the top is a microphone.

The combination of a built in microphone and a headphone jack means you can use this Bluetooth device to listen to music using the included headphones, or any other (noise canceling) headphones you want, and use it to make phone calls.

The headset comes complete with an AC charger, chain and plastic clip, in case you don’t want to wear it around your neck.

Price: $79.99
Manufacturer: Jabra

Like travel gadgets? Check out these other cool gadgets we recently reviewed!

Daily deal – iFrogz iPod kid friendly case + headphones for $12

My daily deal for today is for a product that can help keep your kids entertained on your next trip. The iFrogz Tadpole kit consists of a kid friendly iPod case and a pair of kids headphones. The products come in nice bright colors (green or purple) and the case is made of a sturdy yet soft non-stick silicone.

Once your iPod is inside the case, your little one will be able to hold onto it using the 2 large handles on the side. The case even comes with a screen protector, to keep your iPod screen free from scratches.

The kit normally retails for $34.99, but it is currently on sale for $14.99, plus an additional 20% off (this weekend only), bringing the final price down to just $12. Shipping is an additional $4.49. Even if you don’t always need the iPod and its case, you’ll be able to use the headphones anywhere you run into a regular headphone jack, including the one on your next flight!

The case is available for the 80/120/160GB iPod Classic and the previous generation 30/60/80 Generation 5 iPod. The headphones on their own cost just $7.99 (plus an additional 20% off), but they are currently out of stock.

Product page: iFrogz Tadpole Kit