CNET's Cheapskate scours the Web for great deals on PCs, phones, gadgets and much more. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page. And find more great buys on the CNET Deals page.
Different situations require different headphones. Going for a run? Sweat-resistant earbuds. Flying on a plane? Noise-cancelling cans. Sitting around the house on a lazy afternoon? The best-sounding and most comfortable headphones you can afford.
As you've probably guessed by now, today's deal is all about that last category. While it's easy to spend $200-300 on a high-end set of headphones, I come bearing proof you don't need to.
For a limited time, Modern Portable is offering the HiFi Elite Super 66 Bluetooth headphones for $52.80, plus
$9.99 $11.99 for shipping. That's after applying coupon code HIFICS20 at checkout. Regular price: $66 -- already a great deal, many would say. (Update:My apologies for the shipping-price goof.)
I must admit I was dubious about this product. Sure, it looks pretty good in photos, but I fully expected to be on the receiving end of a cheap, plasticky set of uncomfortable, blah-sounding 'phones.
Instead the Super 66s look and feel substantial, with a brushed-metal band that folds for easier storage and heavily cushioned earcups -- the latter definitely among the more comfortable I've ever worn. That said, the underside of the headband, though also cushioned, felt a little heavy on the top of my head.
As you can see in the picture, the headphones have control buttons embedded in the right earcup. Talk about a mixed bag: the oversize volume up-down buttons are blissfully easy to operate by feel, but the opposite is true of the strip down the middle.
In fact, the button you're likely to need the most -- play/pause -- lacks any kind of raised signature, so it's nearly impossible to find by touch alone. Dumb.
Another minor gripe: If you use a corded connection rather than Bluetooth, the controls don't work. That's not uncommon, though, and the silver lining is the headphones can still work even if they run out of battery power. On the other hand, I'm jazzed that there's a corded option at all. It's great for folks who don't like the audio compression imposed by Bluetooth. Modern Portable supplies an attractive tangle-free cable for those connections.
Certainly the most important consideration is sound quality. To my non-audiophile ears, the headphones sound superb. I queued up tracks from Adele, Glenn Frey (sigh), Holst ("The Planets"!) and various other artists. Everything came through rich and detailed, if maybe a tad muddy at higher volumes. But I never use those anyway -- I'm sure I wreaked enough havoc on my ears in my youth.
This is highly subjective, of course, but the 16 user reviews (this is a fairly new product) at Amazon bear me out with a 5-star average.
I'm not saying the HiFi Elite Super 66s are perfect, merely that they're a great buy at $52.80. A carrying case will cost you another $9.99. If you feel like spoiling your ears without spending hundreds of dollars, this is definitely a deal worth considering.
Bonus deal: Game time! If you enjoy strategy games of the Sid Meier and Xcom variety, look no further than the Humble Firaxis Bundle. You can pay $1 or more for four titles, $9.72 or more for even more or $15 to unlock the whole kit and kaboodle. Plus, as usual, a portion (at your discretion) goes to charity. The premiere title here is Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth, which normally runs $39.99 all by itself.