The iPhone is a great multimedia device, but it's not perfect. One of the most glaring oversights for this music phone is the lack of stereo Bluetooth (A2DP) compatibility. As a result, you're limited to clunky adapters or wired headsets if you want to enjoy music and conversation to the fullest. Now, you can count on another wired option from Radius, the Atomic Bass earphones for iPhone. These headphones will only set you back about 50 bucks, and they retain the built in mic found on the set included with the phone while offering improved audio and comfort. In fact, the Atomic Bass iPhone earphones put forth sound befitting a pricier pair--just be sure you're a fan of heavy bass before you snap up a set.
Like the mic-less Radius Atomic Bass earphones, the iPhone version features a fashionable design. You can choose from four color options--black, red, silver, and pink--to match or clash with your iPhone or other music phone. The color is really an accent, found only encasing the earbuds and the plug housing. The cable is white, except for the black version, which has a black cord. The cable, which measures roughly 45 inches, is an even Y with a super compact integrated mic and call-answer button about halfway down the left side. The Y joins about 12 inches down from the earpiece in a slightly thicker cable, which terminates in a gold-plated straight plug with three bands: one for the mic input and one each for the left and right channel outputs. Although we had no problems using the headphones with several standalone MP3 players, the triple-banded style is known to have issues with standard MP3 players. As such, it's best to purchase these specifically for a music phone; if they happen to work with another device you have, then bonus.
The Atomic Bass earphones' understated design is further promoted by the supercompact size of the 'buds. Even users with smaller-than-average ears should have no problem achieving a relatively secure and comfortable fit. Radius includes three sizes of silicone ear tips, and I had no trouble getting a good fit with the smallest of these. I found the earphones to be comfortable after more than two hours of wear. However, I noticed that although the earbuds form a noticeable seal with the ear, they provide below-average noise isolation. Of course, this isn't an advertised feature, but it's something for commuters to keep in mind.
As their name suggests, the Atomic Bass earphones for iPhone are heavy on the low-end. Certainly, it can be overpowering at times, causing some fast and hard rock to come across muddled and slightly distorted. For the most part, however, the excessive bass does not cause problems, but it's probably best to steer clear if you're looking for exceptionally balanced audio. The 'phones provide rich, encompassing mids and a reasonable amount of high-end detail, but the latter can get lost in the extra-heavy low-end at times. Genres that really shine are hip hop, dance, electronica, and pop. In testing, I found that call quality was good-to-fair, (depending upon which end you were on), and I appreciated the tininess of the built-in mic and integrated call answer clicker. All in all, I give the Radius Atomic Bass headset two thumbs up as a replacement for the stock iPhone pair.