Sunday, November 4, 2012

Coloud Headphones: Putting the Boom to Your Boring Day

Over the years, headphones have shifted from merely just being a best friend during long plane rides or at DJ show-offs in clubs. Today, they now sport bright colors that are meant to be shown off if you want to stand out from the crowd. Needless to say, it has become part of an audiophile's fashion statement. With Coloud Headphones, the looks in itself already puts a boom into one's boring day.

First Impressions
Today I get the chance to review a pair dubbed "The Boom" from Swedish-based company Coloud. I think the name Coloud is very fitting of the brand they convey, which brings me to a possible equation: Coloud = COlor LOUD. 

Just by holding the packaging, I already know that I was getting a pair of headphones that had a lot of aesthetic value in mind. This made me worry a little, as the focus might have been put too much on how it looks, rather than how it should sound. The design and color scheme here reminded me a lot of a fellow Swedish-based Urbanears Zinken. The major difference though is their color palette of subtle pastels versus Coloud's screaming neon colors.

The pair I'm holding has a black / cyan / blue combination that just exudes eye candy. Personally, I prefer subtlety over the loud combinations (bright yellow and tangerine orange is hard to pull off), but Coloud's colors certainly make a statement. Case in point: I couldn't even walk four feet in the office without people turning heads and asking about the pair I was wearing. This can be both a good and bad thing, depending on your personality.

Coloud makes it a point to showcase that they believe in minimalism. As quoted from their website, "Our headphones are crafted with minimal parts and feature a mechanical construction, making them super durable and built to withstand the pressures of everyday listening. What we do add to our headphones, however, are useful features." And minimalist, this pair is. No frills, no bells and whistles. Just everything essential to have your basic headphones with a microphone and remote, but made to look nice.

That's not to say they overlooked quality though -- the materials Coloud used for The Boom both look and feel expensive. From the headband to the foam pads and down to the plug, I couldn't find a flaw with the pair to say that it looked cheap in any way, considering that these are relatively cheap compared to the class it competes in. I was impressed with how solid this pair was, as it not only looked good, but it also felt very durable and well-made.

Similar to other Coloud Headphones, The Boom features a standard microphone and push remote, a tangle-free flat cord, and the Zound Lasso, or basically a flexible plug that doubles as a lock to keep your cables in place when the pair is not in use. Useful features in its own right, but not something that would make me pick the brand exclusively.

The box also comes with a Coloud logo sticker, a one-pager that shows the technical specifications of the headphones, and a warranty card. I should also mention that the package is actually made of fully recyclable materials, and while this usually means cheaper looking containers, they actually went ahead and made sure those look good too. Man, these guys know how to make their products look outstanding. You really get your money's worth here.

Sound Quality
Unlike most headphones that go for a more bass-rich sound, The Boom focuses more on sound clarity. I got to appreciate the artist's words more and was able to hear the mids and highs, which normally get drowned out by the bass. However, I find the bass response a little too shy for my taste. The voice-biased quality makes this pair good for calls and acoustic performances, but might be under-appreciated by most people who use headphones for R&B and hip-hop genres. Even at full volume, the sound really held up and didn't show signs of cracking.

Noise cancellation was also an issue for me as it only blocked about 60% of ambient noise without music. The ear cups didn't provide enough coverage to provide a full isolation to outside noise. On the upside, the 3D ergonomic design of the pair really shown through and made the pair very comfortable to wear. They were not displaced easily, even during rigorous movement. I wouldn't say the sound quality was bad; I just think it could have been better.
Final Rating
To make it easier to summarize the over-all experience, I'll rate the Coloud Boom headphones based on three categories: construction, sound quality and aesthetics.
  • Construction: 4.5 / 5
  • Sound quality: 3.5 / 5
  • Aesthetics: 5 / 5

Over-all, the construction of the headphones was impressive. Not only from the pair itself, but the packaging doesn't disappoint either. Some parts of the headphones felt a little too plastic-like, but it did little to cheapen the pair.

Sound quality was a bit of a letdown, but it wasn't terrible. I think this came down to preference on my end. But the sound just wasn't full enough to let me appreciate my music. Nevertheless, the cool design and unique color combinations really make this a stand-out pair from the others out in the market.

The biggest factor for me here is the price point. At Php1,850 a pair, I certainly wouldn't mind shelling out that much for a set that would rival headphones at the Php5,000 and above categories, which perform almost the same.

I still don't believe in using headphones as fashion accessories, but for this pair I would be forgiving. Instead of a scoff, I'll just give a smile and a nod, because I know the person has good taste (in good design, at least).

Standard Retail Price for Coloud The Boom: Php1,850

Coloud Headphones are available at the following locations:
  • Astrovision
  • Automatic Center
  • Avant
  • Beyond The Box
  • Bratpack
  • Buzz
  • Digital Hub
  • Digital Walker
  • Electroworld
  • iCenter
  • iGig
  • iStore
  • iStudio
  • iStudio
  • Mobile 1
  • Power Hub
  • Technoholics
  • Urbanathletics

Editor's Note: This article was written by Arbi Bautista, a special writer and contributor of Glich's Life. Arbi is an IT Consultant in one of the biggest global IT companies. He is a music and photography enthusiast, and a great public speaker too. Revisions to this article were done by yours truly prior to posting. You can follow Arbi on Twitter (@sowhatifimmaria). - Glenn / Glich


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