It must be said that when we heard Phllips and the surfwear designer O’Neill were coming together to design a series of new headphones, we were skeptical about how well this would turn out. If you regularly follow us, you’ll have learnt that not all technology collaborations between successful brands work out well. What we have for review today is the Philips x O’Neill STRETCH TR55LX headphones.
‘The STRETCH’ is one of four in a series of headphones and earphones designed by the two brands. The others also have a trendy name which standout, the SNUG, the SPECKED and the COVERT, where the latter two are earphones. All of which have been given their ‘nicknames’ based on their features.
Design and Comfort
One of the more memorable headphones I remember testing here at GadgetLite were the premium priced Sony MDR-XB700, slightly dated by now, but they were extremely comfortable and had brilliant sound quality. The STRETCH here on the other hand don’t offer the same kind of comfort.
The STRETCH doesn’t have big comfy cushions in comparison nor does it have a metallic frame and instead a stretchable nylon headband (inspired by the materials used to make wetsuits) that stops your head from being restraint by the usual plastic headphone band on top of it. Plus it also stops your hair from getting caught in it!
The design feels sturdy and durable, we had no concerns for its build quality and it should even last long for those who will take it snowboarding – what its been designed to do. The material which the STRETCH is made of – TR55LX as you can see labelled on the headphones is apparently six times harder than the normal polycarbonate.
What I’ve always hated when taking PMPs to any kind of outdoor sports is that the wires, cables all get tangled up into a mess. This is no advertising message, but I especially liked the 1.2m tangle free cable that came with the STRETCH, its not ‘stretchable’ but it is wrapped within a thick layer of fabric material which makes it feel durable and should withstand plenty of daily wear and tear (as you can see in the photos below).
The STRETCH therefore is still a very decent, comfortable set of headphones. With compact, comfort, stylish and a budget price in mind, we think Philips and O’Neill have designed a set of headphones which definitely appeal to the younger, sporty audience, who are generally less inclined to shed big money off their wallet.
We weren’t expecting a whole lot, afterall the STRETCH have been designed and destined to be sporty, rugged and thrown into a luggage bag. As a pair of over-head headphones, the STRETCH offer above average, reliable audio experience and by that, we mean it simply delivers whatever you throw at it. It can lack detail when it comes to high-end tracks but mid-range is faultless. With vocals and melodies delivered with satisfactory clarity.
From our testing, we don’t think the 40mm driver adequately equips it for very much bass performance, we’ve certainly reviewed much better headphones in terms of bass, but this isn’t to say this is non-existent. If you’re a bass junkie, the STRETCH may just be put out of its depth. Given the STRETCH isn’t supplied with giant headphone cushions, we were extremely pleased to find how good it was at cancelling noise from the environment meaning a significant improvement in your audio experience.
On balance, it would be fair to say that the Philips O’Neill STRETCH headphones deliver an all round above average audio experience, we especially enjoyed its noise cancelling ability, this should prove to be useful for those of you who plan on going snowboarding with it. Its been made to be rugged and should last. The headphones are stylishly designed which should also appeal to the younger age group even if sport is not intended. We would say that a pricetag of £75 is reasonable as it is an all round quality product from a reputable firm, experienced in audio technology and equipment.
- Stylish design
- Durable and rugged
- Comfortable STRETCH headband
- Tangle free audio cable
- Will deliver pleasant audio experience for majority of time
- Reasonable pricing
- Bass performance is not outstanding