For a company that made a name for itself with its minimalist cases for the iPhone, MacBook and iPad, expanding after into backpacks and other carry cases, Incase has done a pretty good job translating its spare philosophy to the world of headphones. With the Sonic, Reflex and Pivot headphones, Incase shuns the plastic and metal typically found in competitor's headphones and swaps in materials such as canvas and suede.
Read on for our hands- and ears-on.
Incase is a newcomer to audio gear. In fact, these headphones are its first foray into the audio world.
All of these sets come with 40mm titanium drivers and an integrated mic and remote control for iOS device compatibility. We gave all three headphones a brief listen test with music ranging from Eminem to Chairlift. The audio sounds clear and loud, though the headphones don't provide digital surround sound or anything fancy like that. If you're fine with simple stereo, they they provide the boom and hug your cranium pretty well.
The Breakaway Ear Cups
Hands-down, the coolest feature across Incase's lineup of headphones are the breakaway ear cups. Because of the simplistic design of the headphones, the cups, which slide up and down about an inch or so for adjustment can actually snap off, ever so slightly. What good is this?
Well, if you're always tossing your headphones in your bag, it could get crushed by other junk piled on top. With the breakaway ear cups, instead of the entire headphone snapping, the cups would just pop off. The prototype headphones we went hands-on with looked extremely fragile, especially with that thin wire exposed, but we're told it should be somewhat stronger when they hop off the production line.
Incase tells us people frequently sit on their headphones and break them. I don't know about you, but I don't know when I've ever sat on a pair of headphones. My headphones are usually on my head or around my neck. Still, it only has to happen once for that to suck.
Here's a quick breakdown of what Incase has lined up.
1. Sonic: The Luxury 'Phones
At the very top is the creme-de-la-creme: the Sonic. For $200, these headphones feature ear-shaped cups that are wider at the top and narrower at the bottom. They're shaped like ears to cup your ears with a snugger fit. As the high-end model, the Sonic was designed for fashion conscious listeners. Whereas cables on most headphones are completely fixed, the one on the Sonic is detachable from the earcups. Incase is including two sets of color cables in the box to match the headphones, for that extra "pop" when walking down the street jamming to Lady Gaga. It'll come in black/green, dark gray/light blue and light grey/orange.
2. Reflex: Canvas for Cheaper
Canvas fans will like the Reflex. While its ear cups aren't as large as the Sonic's, it still produces sound that is loud enough to deafen a person. It'll sell for $80 and comes in black/green, grey/pink and jungle green/orange.
3. Pivot: Just The Basics
The anorexic member rockstar in the family, the Pivot is just the the Reflex, but slimmed down (no canvas, though). If you like your gear to look extremely barebones, it doesn't get more basic than the Pivot. It'll sell for $60 in black/green, dark gray/light blue and light gray/pink.
All three headphones should be available this September. If you're looking for something that's sexier than those bland white earbuds and black earbuds that come with most smartphones and MP3 players, you really can't go wrong with Incase's lineup. Incase's experience producing products with clean and simple designs work really well for headphones.