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Philips O'Neill The Stretch Headband Headset review: Philips O'Neill The Stretch Headband Headset

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The Good The Philips O'Neill The Stretch TR 55LX are attractively styled, very comfortable, and relatively lightweight for over-the-ear headphones. They're also modestly priced and you can detach the headphone cord.

The Bad Sound could be more dynamic and detailed; no built-in microphone; headphones don't fold flat.

The Bottom Line The Philips O'Neill The Stretch TR 55LX get a birdie for design but only hit par for sound quality.

7.0 Overall
  • Design 9
  • Features 7
  • Performance 6
  • Value 7

Philips O'Neill The Stretch headphones are difficult to review because they have a lot going for them -- excellent comfort and an affordable price tag -- but their sound, while fine, doesn't exceed expectations for an over-the-ear model in this price class.

Let's start with the positives. The Stretch, which also goes by the model number TR 55LX (or Philips SHO9567BK/28) and comes in a white model, lists for $79.99 but can be found online for less than $50. And for $50 it offers good value, particularly in the design department.

Attractive design
For over-the-ear headphones, these are pretty lightweight and have nicely cushioned earcups. Aside from the relatively plush padding, what makes these guys comfortable is the dual-headband design. They have an auto-fit inner headband that's covered in stretchy "wet-suit inspired" Neoprene padding (thus, the O'Neill connection).

What's great about the auto-fit feature is that you don't have to worry about adjusting the size of the headphone band, you just put the headphones on and you're good to go (that said, these may not fit folks who have very large heads).

As for the outer headband, it's made of highly flexible translucent nylon. We gave it a good twist and it didn't break, so the headphones -- or at least their outer headband -- seems pretty durable.

The outer headband is made of highly flexible translucent nylon. Sarah Tew/CNET

When I put these on, my immediate reaction was, "Wow, these are comfortable." Editor Justin Yu had the same reaction, and they're definitely headphones that you can wear at home (or the office), as well as on the go, though your ears will get a little steamy if you were them outside on warm days, due to their closed-back design. The upside to the closed-back design is that these headphones do a good job passively sealing out noise and they don't leak sound.

I also liked that the cord on The Stretch is detachable from the earcup and that it's covered in a cloth material (think of the cord as a shoelace on a hiking boot). Alas, there's no integrated microphone for making cell-phone calls, though a step-up model (the Philips SHO9567BK/28 or Philips SHO9567WT/28) does offer this feature for around $10 more.

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