I'm not ashamed to admit that my iPhone has changed my life. I'll go further and say that my iPhone is my favourite thing that I've owned ever... in my whole life. It's better than any toy, gadget, car or item of clothing that I have ever had. I love my iPhone. I write this not as an Apple fanboy, but as a regular user. Prior to getting an iPhone I had never owned another Apple product. I never had an iPod, I shunned iTunes, I couldn't get to grips with Mac O/S. As I say, the iPhone changed my life.
Fairly soon into my time with my iPhone I felt the need to upgrade the earbud experience. To Apple's credit they make no great claims about the earbud user experience. They don't consider themselves audio experts and they don't make recommendations about preferred headphones beyond the simple white earbuds enclosed with the package.
I had a look at different sets of headphones available, but as much as I covet a pair of Beats , I just couldn't see myself laying down the best part of a hundred and fifty quid for an accessory. Also, there was another problem that I wanted to solve. I find myself using my iPhone in bed a fair bit catching up with the week's TV while my wife sleeps next to me. I was growing tired of the whole umbilical connection between ears and iPhone. I decided that I wanted to go wireless and Bluetooth seemed the best option.
After some Amazon-based research (sorry Ciao, you're not there yet), I plumped for the WP 300 Bluetooth headphones from Creative Labs.
I began by charging the headphones. The headphones come with a USB cable so you can charge them via the USB port on your laptop or PC. I connected the USB part to the mains charger that I use for the iPhone. I guess it's a bit fiddly having to pull oe cable out and stick another one in, but it's not a deal breaker. The red light on the side of the headphones changed to green fairly quickly indicating that they were fully charged.
Pairing with the iPhone
The headphones also came with a small instruction booklet. For once this was an essential bit of kit as there is no way I could have know how to pair the headphones with reading it here first. I had to hold down the power button for four seconds until it flashed blue indicating that it was looking for a device to pair with. Then I went into the Bluetooth settings of my iPhone and found the Creative Headphones in the list. One touch and a few seconds later my iPhone told me that the headphones had been paired. If you have difficulty with this part, I suggest you get one of your children to help you. Honestly this was the first Bluetooth device I have ever used or paired and it was remarkably pain free.
Pairing with Another Device
When I got to work, I decided to try pairing the headphones with my laptop. Again the booklet revealed that I had to hold down the lower volume button together with the power button to remove the existing pairing and then go through the pairing procedure again, this time using the Bluetooth setup on my laptop. The light on the headphones was nt terribly helpful here. For example it turns out you can only unpair your headphones when they are powered down. If you hold the power button and the volume button down when the headphones are still on, nothing will happen. There is no indication that you are doing something wrong, but nothing changes. Without the booklet. I would have been lost. If I lose the booklet before I have memorized it, I still may be. Pairing the headphones with the laptop was not quite as instantaneous as it was with the iPhone, but this seemed to be down to the laptop Bluetooth setup rather than a problem with the headphones. It seemed to take some time and I certainly wouldn't want to be switching between the two devices the way I could with a normal headphones jack.
There are refreshingly few buttons. I can turn the volume up and down. The volume function appears to run independently of the volume on my iPhone, I so I have effectively two sets of volume controls to help me find the perfect balance. As a perpetual volume fiddler, this is a comfort. when you pump the headphones volume all the way up, you hear a small beep indicating that it cannot get higher.
The headphones also have a play/pause button so you can start and stop listening without touching your device. This isn't always ideal. For example when paired with my laptop and listening to some internet radio in my browser (RadioParadise.com, eclectic and gorgeous), hitting the pause button will not pause the radio, but instead launches Windows Media Player and begins playing a random track from my musical library simultaneously with the music I was already listening to. Not great, but easy to avoid.
There is also a forward and back button that will jump forward a track or go back to the start of the last one. Again this will function differently depending on what app you're currently using.
This kind of functionality lotto is the result of having devices, apps and accessories all made by different companies. I'm not too upset about some of the inter-company confusion, but I think it's important to know what you're getting into.
I'm sure I'm not the right person to answer this question as it's the least important aspect for me. The sound comes through clearly enough but I can't comment on the specificity of the treble or the depth of the bass in a way that would satisfy a real audiophile. Sorry.
I'm only mentioning range because it's something I noticed other reviews of wireless headphones have done. I left my iPhone in my bedroom and wandered all over my apartment which has concrete walls. There were some distances where the sound just cut out intermittently, but basically I can imagine pottering about doing household chores listening to a podcast with very little interruption. Certainly I can go out for a walk and put the phone in my pocket without the slightest concern about which pocket on which side of my body I need to put it in.
Comfort and Ambient Noise Reduction
These headphones are remarkably comfortable. I have worn them for hours at a time at work with little fear of my ears getting too hot or itchy. They are better than I could have anticipated on this score.
One thing to note is that with the headphones on, even with no music playing, I was able to hear less of the world around me. They don't reduce all outside sound, but they fit snugly and cover your ears enough to block probably more than 40% of the world from reaching you. This may either be an advantage or a disadvantage depending on what you were expecting. I would certainly never wear any kind of headphones while driving, but these would absolutely be a hazard limiting your ability to hear what's going on.
Value for Money
Amazon.co.uk are offering these headphones for £60.66. I had a friend flying to the US so I bought mine from Amazon.com and had them shipped within the US to his address for $63.63 which was significant enough of a saving for me to ask the favour.
So far I am very pleased with my Creative WP-300 Bluetooth headphones. They are fulfilling exactly the function for which I purchased them. It's too early to talk about their durability but they seem sturdy and resilient enough so far. They are not fragile, but like all gadgets they should be handled with care and not slung around, dropped in water or trodden on.
I'm pleased with this purchase. I think you would be too.