Travel gear review: Great earphones for home and the road

When it comes to Bluetooth headphones, most deliver decent audio for listening to music but suck on phone calls. How many times have you had to stop being hands-free to hold the phone to your ear after being told: “You sound like you’re in a well, either speak into the receiver or call me when you can lose the bloody Bluetooth.”

Sennheiser’s HD1 In-Ear Wireless Earphones deliver high fidelity sound whether you’re listening to tunes or making a call. And callers seldom complain that they can’t hear you.

The Specs: Wireless earphones crammed with technology, including a built-in omni-directional microphone, a 10-hour rapid charging battery (full charge in 1.5 hours), Bluetooth 4.1 and Qualcomm® apt-X™ compatibility that improves audio delivered over Bluetooth. The earphones offer both vibration alerts and voice prompts. The HD1 has a soft leather neckband and come with a micro-USB charging cable, four sizes of earbuds and a carrying case. A voice prompt confirms pairing, helps you place a call, tells you how much longer the battery will last. The earphones pair via NFC or Bluetooth.

Likes: The earphones are lightweight, fit almost any ear (with a choice of four earbud sizes), easy to pair and offer first-rate sound for both music and calls. I’ve worn them commuting around Santa Monica on foot, on my electric scooter and on the bus. And with a good fit, the earbuds even offer a bit of noise cancellation. And the neckband remote makes it simple to switch tracks, adjust the volume and make or take a call or turn the earphones off or on (a voice prompt advises if you are powering on or off).

Yikes: Despite the soft, elegant feel of the nappa neckband, after several hours of wear it can feel a bit heavy. I wish you could automatically pause the music by removing one of the buds from an ear like some of the latest earbuds do.

Cost: $199.95 (or less on Amazon and other sites)

Verdict: It’s hard to go wrong with Sennheiser’s HD1 with its stellar audio and ease of use. They are great for a trip or running around town.

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