Wireless audio frequently entails sacrificing fidelity in the name of convenience. Toshiba seems to have licked the noise problem with its Bluetooth headphones, but not without making a few other minor tradeoffs.
Audio quality is the most important consideration when we evaluate headphones, and we were surprised at how good—and how quiet—these Toshibas sound; we detected zero background noise.
Demonstrating excellent dynamic range playing audio CDs on a PC, they produced throbbing bass in Robert Earl Keen’s “The Great Hank” and still managed to turn out sparkling mandolins in Paul Thorn’s “Where Was I?” Game soundtracks sounded equally good. The phones didn’t get uncomfortably loud, but at max volume, they drowned out pretty much all outside noise.
The Li-Ion battery delivered a little more than six hours of continuous use on a full charge, and the headphones remained comfortable during extended listening sessions. A sturdy yet flexible plastic band wraps around the back of your head, and the foam-covered earpieces rest snugly on top of your ears without being too tight. Volume- and track-control buttons are integrated into the left earpiece. Detents on the volume buttons make them very easy to locate; the track-control buttons (which function only with Windows Media Player and WinDVD) are only a little more difficult to manipulate. A large button in the center of the earpiece toggles between pause and play.
You might recognize these headphones as Logitech’s wireless iPod phones, but Toshiba tells us its own engineers are responsible for optimizing the Bluetooth audio delivery. The company claims you can wander up to 16 feet away from the source, but the signal broke up if we moved about vigorously at any distance. We also experienced infrequent dropouts while seated, but these weren’t common enough to bother us.
You’ll need to purchase an adapter if your playback device isn’t already outfitted with Bluetooth 1.2. Toshiba’s PC USB adapter costs $45, but we’ve seen other models selling for half that. We advise anyone looking for a wireless personal audio fix to check out Toshiba’s offering.
— Michael Brown