iLuv iHP636 ReF headphone review: Strong bass and design, but short on clarity

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6

CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars Good
  • Overall: 6.6
  • Design: 8.0
  • Features: 7.0
  • Sound quality: 6.0
  • Value: 6.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good The iLuv iHP636 ReF is well built, offers a comfortable fit for an on-ear model, and includes an Apple-friendly remote/microphone and a tangle-resistant fabric covered cord.

The Bad Sound could be cleaner and more refined.

The Bottom Line While iLuv ReF headphone has a lot of pluses, including a sturdy, comfortable design, strong bass, and an Apple-friendly inline remote/microphone, it falls short in the clarity department.

Editors' Top Picks

If you look up the iLuv iHP636 ReF on Amazon, you'll notice that its full, extended name includes the descriptor "Deep Bass On-Ear Headphones with Canvas Fabric Exterior for Smartphones."

It would seem, then, that this headphone has been designed to offer a lot of bass -- and that it certainly does. It's also comfortable for an on-ear model, with nicely cushioned earcups and a foldable design. The only problem with it is that it falls short in the clarity department, which keeps it from being a really good headphone.

Design and features
The ReF, available in multiple colors, is a bit of a riff on a common design you've probably seen for on-ear models. Urban Ears made it popular, and several other companies have offered modified versions of it.

That said, this model does have a more premium quality to it, with -- yes -- canvas fabric on the earcups and the headband; also, there's some faux suede on the interior of the headband. As I said, the earcups are nicely padded (iLuv says there's Memory Foam inside, even if it doesn't quite feel like it) and offer a tight seal, which helps muffle ambient noise. The headphones do fold up, though not flat.

The earcups are nicely padded. Sarah Tew/CNET

Editors' Top Picks



Conversation powered by Livefyre

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Nov. 12, 2012
  • Color black
  • Sound Output Mode stereo
  • Additional Features L-shaped plug
  • Type headset
  • Headphones Form Factor ear-cup
  • Connector Type mini-phone stereo 3.5 mm 4-pole
About The Author

Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable e-reader and e-publishing expert. He's also the author of the novels Knife Music and The Big Exit. Both titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, and Nook e-books.