After checking out the Logitech UE 900 earphones a few weeks ago, I don't think too many other earphones can match their performance. Then again, they are priced at $399 so it isn't likely many readers are will to fork over that kind of cash when I hear people complaining about paying $50 more for a smartphone. There are some great alternatives and the folks at RHA, a British audio company, reached out and asked if I wanted to try a pair of their new MA450i earphones that they recently launched here in the US and Canada. It is MUCH easier to pay $49.95 for a pair of earphones and after testing these out with various phones over the past week I have to say they are a great choice at a very affordable price.
Check out my image gallery of the RHA MA-450i earphones.
I'm not sure if the folks at RHA knew it or not, but orange is one of my favorite colors (brown and yellow too) and thus I was pleased to see the dark gray retail package with orange highlights. The package is long and rectangular with the earphones shown in a clear window while the replaceable ear cushions are shown in the left side of the package. You will find the following inside:
- RHA M450i earphones
- 7 pairs of silicone ear cushions (2 each of S, M, L with one double flange)
- Carrying pouch
- User documentation
The large size seemed to fit my ear the best and it is always great to have a spare of the size that fits you. I like that the orange highlight is part of the color on the piece that fits over the aluminum on the earbud itself.
Fit and functionality
My ear opening is too big to use the double flange pair (they look to match up well with the medium size). The standard soft ear cushions are very comfortable and do a good job of blocking out surrounding sounds while also helping to hold the earphones in place. This model of earphones includes a mic and media controls on the right cable. BTW, the cables are fabric coated which helps keep them nearly tangle free with the total length from your ear being 1.5 meters.
There are three buttons on the mic control unit. The upper is for increasing volume and the lower is for decreasing volume. The center button controls several things through a series of pushes and this is easily used thanks to the indented design so you don't have to look down and can manipulate it by feel. A single press answers or hangs up a call while also acting to play or pause media. Double press skips forward and a triple press goes back. A long press and hold launches Siri on my iPhone 5. Unfortunately, the mic is not supported on other devices and while the press and hold launches Google Now on my Note II, the mic is not picked up so it is worthless there. The retail package clearly states these earphones are made for iPod, iPhone, and iPad. They do work for enjoying audio on Android or Windows Phone, but there are some limitations.
These noise isolating earphones are made with aluminum and plastic. You can pick them up in white or black and the black pair was sent to me to check out. Specifications of the RHA MA450i include the following:
- 10 mm driver size (2 included)
- Diaphragm driver type
- Frequency response: 16 Hz - 22,000 Hz
- Impedence: 16 ohms
- 1.5 meter cable length
- Straight, gold plated 3.5mm headset jack
Daily usage and experiences
I enjoyed using these earphones and found that I could wear them for hours on end without ever feeling any discomfort. They also stayed in my ears, much better than the earpods included with my iPhone 5 by Apple. The RHA MA-450i are also much easier to put in my ears than the high end Logitech UE 900 that I have to take my glasses off to wrap around my ear and secure. The volume really CRANKS and gets way too loud to actually be comfortable. I did find that there is too much treble at the upper volume levels so I changed my iPhone 5 equalizer to bass boost mode to try to reduce that.
The controller worked very well and thanks to the improved version of Siri in iOS 6 I found the overall package to be quite useful. BTW, you can also find the MA-350 without the mic and controller for $39.95. One of the rather unique features of these earphones is the three year warranty so RHA is standing by the product they created. If you are looking for a pair of earphones that are better than the ones from Apple, then I recommend you consider the RHA MA-450i.
Related ZDNet coverage
- You will swear you are listening to new music with the Logitech UE 900 earphones
- JayBird Freedom Sprint shrinks and standardizes charging port (review)
- Review: JayBird Endorphin and Tiger Eyes headphones
- Seven new audio products announced from Logitech UE, we tried out two
- Experience the ultimate in mobile sound with the super.fi 5 Pro earphones