Review: Philips O’Neill SHO9561/28 Over-Ear Headphones

Philips O’Neill “The Stretch” Over-Ear Headphones are not your average pair of headphones. The Stretch headphones are designed to be superbly durable and affordable while providing a high level of audio quality that you might expect in far more expensive alternatives. Philips O’Neill have clearly targeted a specific market with The Stretch Headphones – the active market. The wire is a tough, sturdy piece of kit that will tear free of the headphones under sudden stress so as to protect the headphones, while the headband stretches to comfortably fit your head and provide unrivaled comfort and security. On top of this, The Stretch is marketed as a high performance headphone when it comes to sound quality. At these prices, Philips O’Neill are making some big claims that many more expensive headphones find it difficult to live up to, but does The Stretch match up to expectations, or are Philips O’Neill Stretching the truth? Key Specs for Philips O’Neill SHO9561/28 Over-Ear Headphones RRP: $99.99 Year Of Release: 2010 Battery Powered? Yes - AA Wireless? No Noise Canceling? Yes Weight: 0.35 lbs Philips O’Neill SHO9561/28 Over-Ear Headphones: The Pros Durability: There is simply no doubting the durability of the Philips O’Neill Stretch Over-Ear Headphones. Many headphones claim to be strong and durable, but not many are designed almost solely for the purpose of surviving vigorous usage! The Stretch headphones feature a material called TR55LX that is six times stronger than polycarbonate, the more common material of choice in heavy duty headphones. TR55LX is crack resistant, impact resistant and temperature resistant. Philip’s O’Neill have marketed The Stretch as any outdoor enthusiasts dream – a set of headphones that can withstand the onslaught of heavy duty activity – so it’s vital that they got this part right. Fortunately, these are some of the most durable headphones you will find anywhere, and will comfortably withstand most strenuous activities, whether it be skateboarding or snowboarding. Breakaway Cable: The cable on the Philips O’Neill Stretch Over-Ear Headphones has also been designed with active users in mind. Quite aside from being tough and tangle free, the cable will disengage from the headphones if any major force is suddenly placed on it. Anyone who has gone running with headphones will attest to the fact that there is nothing more annoying than catching your headphones wire on your jacket or your arm, not only because you can hurt yourself but because you can damage the headphones. The breakaway cable on The Stretch insures against that. The breakaway cable is a minor design aspect, but it is one that will save thousands of buyers from broken headphones. Comfort: Comfort is an absolute must when it comes to headphones built for active usage. Headphones that aren’t properly secured and fastened cause the wearer to not only lose out on sound quality, but to feel a discomfort that can quickly grow from distracting to infuriating. A set of headphones designed for urban, sporting use need to fit around your head like a hat, and they should never feel loose or uncomfortable no matter how long you wear them. This is the case with the Philips O’Neill Stretch headphones. The flexible headband really secures the headphones to your head, and they will stay in place for all but the most vigorous of outdoor activities… and, to be fair, if you are doing the kind of activities that does cause them to become loose, perhaps you shouldn’t be wearing headphones in the first place! Philips O’Neill SHO9561/28 Over-Ear Headphones: The Cons Sizes: There’s no nice way of putting this; if you have a very large head, these aren’t the headphones for you. While the Philips O’Neil Stretch Over-Ear Headphones are extremely comfortable for most users, some buyers may find that are a little tight on their head. A little tightness is generally not a problem, but if you plan on exercising then a little tightness can quickly become very uncomfortable. Similarly, the breakaway cable is just a little short. If it was several inches longer then it could be used by almost everyone, but as it is some very tall people may find that it is not long enough to comfortably reach from their headphones to the bottom of their pocket. Audio Quality: Although the audio quality is not the best that you are likely to hear, it is perhaps unfair to be too harsh on the Philips O’Neill Stretch headphones. The sound quality is not superb, but for the price and the style it would be expecting a lot for The Stretch to be perfect. You can clearly hear, and enjoy, your music through these headphones, and for most people that will be more than enough to justify their purchase. Are the Philips O’Neill SHO9561/28 Over-Ear Headphones Worth Buying? The Philips O’Neill Stretch Over-Ear Headphones are not the kind of headphones you would buy for your morning train ride into work, or for our transatlantic flight. They simply don’t have to crystal clear audio quality that you get with other specialized headphones. They are, however, absolutely the headphones you should buy for jogging, running, cycling and skateboarding. What The Stretch lacks in top quality audio sound it more than makes up for in durability, comfort and reliability. These headphones are perfect for active people looking for a bargain that doesn’t translate as cheap quality, and it’s no surprise to see them selling so quickly.


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