V-Moda Crossfade Wireless review: A Beats competitor built to last

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The Good The ruggedly constructed, well-designed V-Moda Crossfade Wireless offers strong sound both in wireless and wired modes as well as decent battery life of 12 hours. It comes with a sturdy carrying case and its shields can be swapped out and customized.

The Bad While very sturdy, it's somewhat heavy. It's more comfortable with the XL cushions, an optional accessory.

The Bottom Line The well-built V-Moda Crossfade Wireless should be on your short list if you're looking for a premium wireless Bluetooth headphone.

8.2 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 9
  • Sound 8
  • Value 8

V-Moda CEO Val Kolton set out on a mission to make a Bluetooth wireless headphone that would sound as good as the company's flagship over-ear model, the Crossfade M-100 , which earned a CNET's Editors' Choice Award back in 2012.

On the surface at least, the Crossfade Wireless looks nearly identical to the Crossfade M-100, but some changes had to be made to accommodate the rechargeable battery -- it's not user replaceable -- in the left ear cup. That battery delivers 12 hours of battery life, which is pretty decent for a wireless headphone.

The Crossade Wireless is designed to work as a high-quality wired and wireless headphone.

Sarah Tew/CNET

That said, the headphone's wired mode may be as much of a selling point as its wireless mode. That's because the Crossfade Wireless is designed to work unpowered as an analog headphone (when you plug the included cable in, the headphone automatically turns off) and sound as good as the standard M-100, perhaps even slightly better thanks to some small improvements V-Moda's tuning team has made.

In terms of extra features, the headphone doesn't have dual microphones, so you can hear your voice inside the headphone when you're talking to someone on your phone, but V-Moda says the single microphone is very high quality. I made a few test calls and its sound quality is good, but I preferred using a headphone that has dual mics such as the Beats Studio Wireless or Plantronics BackBeat Sense .

The Crossfade Wireless isn't the lightest headphone at 10.3 ounces (292 grams), but it's very well built, has metal parts, and comes with a protective carrying case. It's worth noting that unlike the Crossfade M-100, the Crossfade Wireless doesn't fold up -- it's missing a second hinge -- and only folds flat, so the cases are different.

What you get in the box. V-Moda

The headphones come with a one-year warranty, but if they break after a year, V-Moda will replace them for half price ($150).

At launch, they're available in phantom chrome and white silver colors. Gunmetal black and rouge will follow soon. And if you buy the headphones at v-moda.com, the price also includes an extra pair of custom 3D-printed fiber or laser-engraved aluminum shields. (You can also upgrade to other 3D printed materials including steel, raw metals, plated gold, silver, gold and platinum, but that'll cost you extra -- in some cases, a lot extra.)

They're also compatible with V-Moda's accessories, which include the BoomPro mic for gamers and broadcasters, the CoilPro cable, 1/3-button cables, VAMP DAC/amp and XL cushions.

As part of our review package, we received some of those accessories, including the $20 XL cushions, which I prefer over the smaller ones that you get with the headphones. The XL cushions offer deeper padding and make the headphones significantly more comfortable, putting them on par with the Beats Studio Wireless, though not as comfortable as the Bose's SoundLink Around-Ear II headphones.