“A Partnership Rooted in Durability & Innovation”
We all know what Philips
does, they one of the many electronics companies responsible for the gadgets and hardware we have today. They make set-up boxes, component systems. home theater packages to even personal care and baby products. We all know what O’Neill
does, they manufacture sports apparel like wetsuits, boardshorts and the multitude of accessories you can imagine. Now what happens when you put these two together? We’ll show you through this set of headphones that was ‘tested on animals’
— The Stretch
Philips and O’Neill have teamed-up to create top-of-the-line products with not only durability, but comfort in mind as well. With both companies coming from their long line of experience in delivering high quality products in their own respective fields, this combination will please those with active lifestyles as these headphones are designed to last these kinds of demands.
Whenever we buy headphones, the choices we make are mainly based on how good the sound quality that they produce. Are the bass sounds deep enough that you tremble to the every beat that is produced? Are the high frequency components pronounced enough that actual sound detail isn’t lost? Those are the typical questions, but another reason that we should be asking is ‘how durable can these be?‘ Because more often that not, we tend to buy new sets of headphones because we can’t hear anything from them anymore, probably broken at some point.
And that’s just the casual user? How about those with very active lifestyles as mentioned earlier? They have accessories that not only undergo the usage, but also the elements. And with these factors in mind, Philips and O’Neill come to the rescue and we’ll see how did they fare in this review.
Unboxing & Presentation
“The Stretch” comes in this simple black thick cardboard packaging, having the tag line ‘Tested on Animals’ printed on it. Flipping the box reveals this phrase: “Philips and O’Neill have joined forces to create a new range of headphones, uniting advanced acoustics a shared design approach and an action sports heritage that’s designed to keep you out there even longer”. From the outside alone, you’ll have an idea of what they’re trying to convey here.
Opening the velcro seal reveals the black bordeaux
headphones itself, with the cable separated, enclosed snuggly in a cardboard housing – nothing too fancy there. The cable comes with a gold-plated jack for easy connections to your sound sources. Aside from the those, the package also comes with a booklet emphasizing on the plus points of this product, as well as other products in the line such as The Snug
, The Specked
and The Covert
For starters, this is clearly not your typical set. From the solid feel of the headphones itself, to the material used in the cable, you’ll get the feeling that you’re going to have a plenty of time using these for your musical dosage and/or addiction. The design, is not too ‘loud’ per se, and yet not too simple. The overall motif of lines on the main earpieces as well as the headband itself gives the ‘stretch’ impression that this accessory is supposed to embody.
Overall, we’re getting the feeling that we are getting the bang out of our buck here — and that’s just the impressions.
• Dynamic 40-millimeter drivers deliver premium sound quality
• Tangle-free fabric cable, cable stress relief, and reinforced aluminum connectors for strength
• Durable, temperature-resistant TR55LX construction for active lifestyles
• Flexible outer headband; auto-fit inner headband with comfy and stretchy neoprene padding
• Deluxe, noise-isolating, super-soft ear cushions
Design: Over-the-ear, Sound-Isolating
Cable: 3.3′ Stress-relief fabric cable
Connector: 3.5mm (1/8″) gold-plated plug
Magnet Type: Neodynium
Input Impedance: 32Ω
Frequency Response: 12Hz-24KHz
Special Feature: TR55LX Super Stretch Nylon
The headband piece is made of two parts, the head cushion made for maximum comfort, and the headband made of this super stretch nylon. Here are some information about this material:
“A Durable, temperature resistant material that is perfect for the lifestyle of any action sports enthusiast. If you are in a situation where you are freezing, melting or breaking, don’t worry about your headphones because chances are, they won’t be.”
• Impact resistant
• High stress-crack resistant
• Retains its flexibility and strength at low temperatures
• Incredibly tough material with a surface hardness that is 6-times that of Poly Carbonate — the material most commonly used in heave duty headphones
• Unlike Poly Carbonate, which can become brittle at sub-zero temperatures, TR55LX remains just as flexible whether it’s +25 degrees Celsius or -25 degrees Celsius
• Unlike materials such as Poly Carbonate, which decrease in strength after prolonged storage in high temperatures, TR55LX can be taken to the hottest place on the planet for months on end and it will not be affected
We’ll demonstrate how stretched can “The Stretch” be in the main review section.
First and foremost, this isn’t called “The Stretch” for nothing. In fact this is one of the main selling points of this headphone — which is a definitely a plus in our department since most of the time, the headband part is made of plastic wrapped around with some soft, cushioning material. And as such, won’t last when used by the ‘animals’ they’re talking about.
Although we are definitely not the said ‘animals’, we didn’t think twice and deliberately tested to see how far does the durability of these headphones go. Let the pictures decide for themselves.
You wouldn’t want to try these kinds of tests in your normal headphones, trust us on this one. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s proceed. Starting form the connecting plugs, being gold-platted allows for seamless connection regardless of how much you connect and disconnect these headphones to any device you might imagine. As for connections, we tested them with an iPod Touch
, an iPod Nano
, a Sony Ericsson Walkman phone (which required a 3.5mm adapter), a Nokia Phone and a Sony Playstation Portable
; we didn’t have any problems with any as far as we’re concerned.
The cable itself is nicely designed with the red and black theme of the headphone unit. One point to notice is that there are two separate areas where you should connect the cable. First is from the jack of the device and the other is from the headphone itself, providing two points of separation. This is another plus for us since this takes care of one problem people encounter with headphones, and earphones, in general. There are tendencies when the cable gets overstretched whenever it gets tangled onto some object and you try to pull it. More often than not, this leads to most breakage in cables since there’s only one point of connection, and it is typically to the device, which is often stored in your packet or bag. With “The Stretch” however, aside from the cable being covered with tangle-free cable, having another point of connection means that the stress is lessened by splitting it to two points, further decreasing the chance of cable failure.
The moment we used this, one thing was apparent, they are addictive. Addictive in a sense that they are very comfortable to wear. You don’t get that feeling like your head is being crushed in between your ears. The fit of the cushions themselves to the ear is perfect — so perfect that you would really have a hard time hearing anything outside given the focus you’ll be having to the music you’re listening to — that is effective Noise Cancellation. And given the flexibility that the headband provides, there won’t be any problems whatever size of head you have (no pun intended).
Also addictive in a sense of the sound it produces. Although it is not the best there is, it’s definitely up there. We played different genres of music to see how the drivers in these headphones will respond and so far, it hasn’t disappointed us. From alternative, to pop, to jazz, to techno, to R&B… the sounds were reproduced in quality. And given the wide frequency response of “The Stretch”, the bass are just right (it provides enough kick but maybe a little disappointing to those bass-junkies), the vocal ranges and the mids are clear and the highs with the trebles are sharp. When tested in lossless audio with minimum compression artifacts, the sounds from the instruments are defined, at least for simple pieces. But as they branded it, these headphones are not aimed to the audiophiles, but to the people with active lifestyles, so a little discrepancy on this aspect won’t hurt. One thing to note though, as mentioned earlier, this was tested using multiple gadgets as audio source. For the most part, the sound levels have been pretty consistent except for the iPod Nano which produced softer sounds even though the volume has been maxed out.
“The Stretch” truly lives up to the name it holds — extremely durable, no questions about it. And the good thing is, it doesn’t compromise comfort for the durability. It fits nicely once you wear it and it doesn’t put pressures on your head like other headphones do. Then there’s the little bonus with the fabric cable with two points of attachment, adding up to the durability factor of this headphone, as well as great in noise cancellation. As for the sounds, they are produced with fidelity, and performs well in the ranges that matter. Simple and effective.
Cons: There isn’t too much to say about this except that the sound that it delivers its alright, too alright to be exact at times. Chances are it won’t give you the kick you wanted to, especially in the deep base. So if you want to be blown away by the tunes you listen to, you may pass on this one.
The Bottom Line: Overall, “The Stretch” provides the right balance and you get your $99.99 worth with it. If you’re one of those ‘animals’ they’re talking about, then this is the perfect headphones for you.
You can check out other customer reviews here.