With the advent of music-capable smartphones you no longer need to carry two or more devices around with you — your phone is your games machine, music player and communicator. As a result we've also seen an explosion of mic'ed-up headphones designed to replace the ones shipped with your phone.
Jabra has made Bluetooth headsets for some time and is now branching out into corded headsets, including the affordable Rhythms. The Rhythms offer a sound-isolating design, and come with a remote control/microphone that allows users to pause/play/skip and also start and end calls. Build quality appears very good for the price, with excellent strain relief on the 3.5mm jack and a pleasing metallic finish on the earpieces.
Fit is very good, but we would have liked a little extra length on the attached cord. The sound of the Rhythms is forward — very forward — and seems to be designed to accent the sibilants (the "tch" sounds) in human speech. This is great for a mobile headset as it can make a poor quality call intelligible, but it's not so great for music.
While this forward balance initially sounded exciting with rock music, due also to meaty bass response, it turned to fatigue. In comparison to the bundled Apple in-ear headphones, the Rhythms offered a better soundstage, but sounded overly splashy. If you like your music loud and brash then the Jabra's will quickly turn your cymbals into an incomprehensible hash. They are also less sensitive than Apple's headphones, meaning they need more juice to give the same amount of volume.
Though it may seem a good idea to boost one set of frequencies over the others — bigger bass is often the most popular choice — the best headphones simply offer a balanced frequency response. The Jabra Rhythms aren't balanced, but if you're the sort who pushes both the treble and bass knobs as far skyward as they can then this headset is for you. On the other hand, despite offering little in the way of noise isolation, the set bundled with the iPhone is actually better. If you have an Android or similar with terrible headphones, they may work, but we'd still suggest paying a bit more for the.