||≥ 10 meters
||Built-in lithium battery 105 mAh
|Standby time (connection status)
||About 6.5 hours
|Music playback time
||About 6.5 hours
||Magnetic pin contact charging dock
PRICE R2 690.00
IMPORTED BY CPlan Audio 083 212-4599
While I still believe that nothing can beat a properly set up stereo system in a dedicated listening space where you can pump up the volume and actually feel the bass notes, in particular, punch your body, over the years I’ve come to enjoy the companionship of headphones more and more.
In that time I’ve listened to my fair share of good and bad headphones: over ears, on ears, in ears (the worst, in my opinion, but possibly I just have strange-shaped ear canals…), and now finally my first set of bone conduction headphones.
For those of you who, like me, didn’t know how the technology works, bone conduction headphones work by transmitting sound vibrations along your cheekbones instead of through the air. It’s apparently the same technique that composer Beethoven used to make music when he lost his hearing.
Your cochlea (inner ear) doesn’t realise that the sound is coming from the bones rather than the eardrum, and your brain processes the sound vibrations in the same way as if they came via your ear-drum, meaning you can hear sound clearly.
Other benefits of the technology are that with your ears effectively ‘open’, you’re going to be aware of ambient sounds, which for those mad people who do open road jogging means a safer experience. The headphones are more hygienic as germs are not transferred from your ear to speakers (as they are with in-ear buds in particular), plus you don’t have the pressure or nuisance of headphones in or on your ear. The Breezy ITG01’s IPX6 waterproof rating means that you needn’t stress about sweat causing damage, so you can work out to your heart’s content. IKKO doesn’t suggest swimming with them, though!
The IKKO Breezy earphones come with a charging cable, docking station, carry bag and an optional set of magnetic charging cables. The headphones feel solid enough, but the metal head strap would concern me sufficiently to make certain that even if they were inside the bag, that I’d be storing it carefully. The docking station is also magnetic, and the first time I used it I confess I got caught off-guard when the headphones got pulled out of my fingers! So there’s no chance of a charging failure happening because the contacts weren’t quite in place.
The IKKOs came already charged, so I was able to start listening as soon as I’d done a brief glance over the instructions to confirm the basic operations. Pairing is effortless and almost instantaneous. I have to admit that I was initially hugely unimpressed by the sound. I’d read up on the headphones and found comment by reviewers that spoke of ‘deep, powerful bass’. My experience was pretty much the opposite – I found the music tinny and devoid of any sign of bass.
The trick, as it turned out (in my case, other users may have different experiences) was not to wear the headphones as per the diagram in the instructions, but lower and closer to the front of my actual eardrums. This improved the sound quality enormously and the bass abruptly reappeared, along with much improved overall clarity. The downside to me doing this was that the metal band of the Breezys stuck out and away from the back of my head, since the band is not adjustable. The fit remained comfortable and secure, though.
Another boon of the headphones is to be able to receive and make phone calls, and voice quality is crystal clear, both for the user as well as the person on the other side of the call. Funnily enough, this performance by the IKKOs was the one that impressed me the most – it almost sounded as if the person was in the same room as me. Though bearing in mind that bone conduction is used by most, if not all, Special Forces around the world as their preferred communication method, I suppose this shouldn’t have been surprising.
As with most Bluetooth headphones, there are usually one or two buttons that perform certain functions depending on whether you are taking a call or listening to music. To be honest I prefer to use my Smartphone in either case, since with my obvious short-term memory loss I can never remember whether I’m supposed to press and hold a specific button for a specific period of time, or if I’m supposed to click it once or twice. However, if you can master this aspect, the headphones’ Multi-Function Button will take care of pretty much anything, including switching between Game and Music modes.
I enjoyed my time with the Breezys since it’s always great to get a chance to experience what new technology can offer, and bone conduction certainly delivers on a number of fronts, particularly convenience of use. The trade off is obviously sound quality and there’s no point in expecting otherwise – sending vibrations through the rigid material of your jaw requires way more energy than just sending them through the air, and they could never compete with an over-ear design.
But if you’re a keen sportsperson who likes to keep your music with you, as well as staying available to callers, then headphones like these are going to suit you perfectly.