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.
Overall, the construction seem sturdy, and the cord is cloth covered (it looks like a shoelace and is tangle-resistant) and terminates in an L-shaped plug. That cord should hold well, but if it rubs against your clothing, it can make some noise. That bothers some people more than others.
In terms of extra features, you get an Apple-friendly inline remote/microphone that's compatible with iOS devices but won't fully function with Android and other phones (you should be able to still make calls using the microphone, but the remote's features probably won't work).
One side note on the design: Lately, iLuv's been doing a good job with the designs of its products; they're sleeker and more eye-catching. And even though it's gradually inching into more premium territory as a brand, the problem is that people still tend to associate it as a value brand. So I'm not sure abut the allure of stitching the company's logo prominently onto each earcup. For some buyers, that might be a negative.
As noted, the ReF is a bass-heavy headphone. It sounds decent enough, but just isn't terribly tight or clean sounding. I don't expect too much from headphones that cost less than $100 -- while the list price on these guys is $129.99, they go for significantly less online -- but the ReF lacks sparkle in the highs and midrange. I'm all for more laid-back, warm-sounding headphones, so having too much sparkle -- I refer to these as fast, bright headphones -- isn't good. But I was hoping the ReF would be a bit more detailed and have a bit more punch to it.
There's a lot to like about the iLuv ReF. It seems 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. It also delivers a lot of bass, but its sound overall could be more refined. There's a lot of competition in the $75-to-$100 price range (see a full list of our best headphones under $100 here), so just being decent isn't necessarily good enough anymore.