Phiaton PS 210 review: Phiaton PS 210

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3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good The Phiaton PS 210 earphones have a unique and stylish design, and they provide clear, balanced audio. The package includes a nice leather case.

The Bad The Phiaton PS 210's odd-shaped earpieces may not fit everyone comfortably. Sound isolation is subpar compared with most other models that advertise this feature.

The Bottom Line The Phiaton PS 210 Sound Isolating Earphones aren't the best in terms of isolating noise, but they do provide top-notch clarity for the price. If you demand balanced audio, these are a good choice.

7.5 Overall
  • Design 7.0
  • Features 7.0
  • Performance 8.0

In a space dominated by the likes of Bose, Sennheiser, and Shure, Phiaton is a relative newcomer to the headphone game. The company made its initial grab for attention with some eye-catching models that were stylish without being over the top. Phiaton continues this strategy with its latest earphones, the in-ear PS 210 sound-isolating earbuds. This $99 set isn't the best option for blocking out environmental noise, but it does offer clear, mostly balanced audio and a relatively comfortable fit. Anyone who prefers a heavier low end should steer clear, though.

The Phiaton PS 210 earphones have unusually shaped earpieces, which may or may not bode well, depending on who is wearing them. A disc-shaped earbud is attached to a tapered outer piece that looks somewhat similar to the Monster Turbine earpieces, with etched-in lines that make the buds resemble an airplane propeller. An angled arm coming off the inside of the disc is sheathed in a silicone tip that you insert into the ear. Although we found that this design fit comfortably, it did not provide a good seal with the ear, and we could definitely see how the shape might not work for all users. On the plus side, Phiaton includes four sizes of silicone tips to help with that.

The Phiaton PS 210 earpieces are connected to a cable of standard thickness. Phiaton integrated a slider at the Y junction to help prevent too much tangling. In all, the cord measures 43 inches, and it terminates in a gold-plated straight plug. The overall design doesn't seem particularly weak or durable, but somewhere in between. There aren't really any features to speak of, aside from the neat cylindrical leather case included for storing the headphones.

Right off the bat, we can say that the Phiaton PS 210 earphones are a great option for those who listen to a wide variety of genres. These perform very well across the board, with none of the distortion that you sometimes get from models tweaked toward low-end frequencies. The only downside to this is that bass seems a bit recessed for some music, but when it counts (such as during Eminem's "Shake That"), the lows are punchy and present. If we could get a total seal with the ear, the bass would sound even better.

The nicest thing with the PS 210s is how balanced their audio response is. At no point did we feel that any one type of frequency was overshadowing another. There's good detail on the high end. Though highs might not be quite crisp enough for some, they perform admirably for a $100 set. Mids are also smooth and even, but we prefer a slightly more buttery response. A final plus is that audio sounds fairly open for a set of earbuds, probably because of the lack of a seal. And there's no noise from the cable brushing across the front of your shirt. All in all, the PS 210s impress in the audio department.

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