Magneat wire manager review: The end of tangled headphones?

A magnetic badge to end your woes of headphone tangling hell comes off as a little pointless for everyday use, but a boon for gym goers

Patrick Steen Special to CNET News
2 min read

The frenzied tangling of your headphones can make listening to your iPod a stressful and dismaying experience. If your dangly cables keep getting stuck on your belt, coat or passing animals, Magneat offers an end to this eternal annoyance via a simple and supposedly stylish design.

Fastening to your jumper, scarf or t-shirt through two strong magnets (one on the inside and the other on the outside of your clothing) the accessory lets you neatly coil the excess length of your headphones around its cotton-reel design and then fix them in place by pulling the loose end through a slot.

Magneat securely holds your headphones even when they're not in your ears, allowing you to wrap the remaining cord around, or simply leave them hanging. That's not to say the gadget doesn't create problems of its own. Putting the accessory on in the morning is an extra task for the bleary-eyed, when you could simply pop your headphones into your lugholes.

Unfortunately magnets don't go very well with pacemakers and more importantly hard drives. Though PC World has argued this is a myth worth busting, Magneat's manufacturer advises users to keep the gadget away from hard-drive sporting media players, such as the iPod classic, leaving the accessory's use limited to flash storage devices -- quite a disadvantage.

The plain black Magneat we were sent also prompted a number of strange stares, since it looks like it's plugging the hole left by an Alien chestburster. Fortunately the gadget comes in a number of patterned designs, giving the more welcome impression of a badge rather than a plug protector.

Joggers and gym bunnies, however, will love the accessory for eradicating the irritating weight of excess cable that tugs on your ears when you're on the treadmill. In testing (a brief jog on the spot -- we're not going crazy and actually exercising for you) the results were impressive, reducing the sound of cable flapping to a muffled whimper.

You'll get better results from specifically designed sports headphones and cable-less Bluetooth headsets, but this may not be an option for your particular media player, such as the third-generation iPod shuffle.

Magneat may be the perfect accessory for the excessively active, but it's a fiddly nuisance for everyone else. The accessory comes reasonably priced at around £8 for a plain black or pink design, and up to £10 for a more hip pattern at Firebox.com.