As indicated by the Microsoft Zune, wireless is the next big thing in portable audio. However, we mostly find this technology in headphones, and there's no denying the convenience of avoiding a tangled mess of wires every time you pull your MP3 player out. One of the many companies offering a solution is Wi-Gear, which offers one product and one product only: the iMuffs Wireless Headphones for
The Wi-Gear iMuffs favor the over-the-ear, behind-the-neck design that many portable, non-earbud headphones use. Some users--including this reviewer--find this setup uncomfortable, while others prefer the low-profile styling it offers. The fit is fairly secure--it's even better if you have long hair tied back, as this holds the neckband up and keeps pressure off the ears. The iMuffs' neckband is plenty flexible (though not adjustable), and the ear pieces have removable foam covers, which makes for easy cleaning. (Wi-Gear also includes a spare set of covers.)
The iMuffs are iPod-specific--meaning they won't work with other MP3 players--and the ones featured here work only with docking iPods, though Wi-Gear also makes a set for the older iPods (with the smart headphone jack). The included Bluetooth adapter snaps onto the bottom of the player and communicates with the headset, which itself features a play/pause key and track shuttle buttons for controlling iPod playback. The play/pause key also acts as a call answer button if you pair the iMuffs with a Bluetooth phone--yep, it works as a headset as well. A pinhole mic on the right earpiece ensures callers can hear you too. If you go this route, your music will be paused for incoming calls and then will automatically restart once you hang up--a nice little feature.
Unfortunately, the iMuffs totally fail as a Bluetooth phone headset. Our caller complained that our voice was garbled and kept dropping out, and we experienced the same problems on our end. Thankfully, the iMuffs put on a better show during music playback. Our tunes sounded rich and warm, with excellent representation in the mids. High-end response also was very good, and the low-end was present, though you have to press the earpieces against your ears to get a true sense of bass. (This is typical of behind-the-neck models.) We did notice, however, that we could often hear some light static and feedback, and once, the music cut out three times and we heard some long, low tones--probably interference from another Bluetooth device in the area. Wireless range proved to be excellent, as we were able to wander about 50 feet from the source before it dropped out. The rated battery life of 16 hours also is decent.