Review: Maximo iP-HS2 iMetal Isolation Headset

Listen to music or talk on your iPhone at a reasonable price. (May 7th, 2008)

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Product Manufacturer: Maximo Products LLC

Price: $69.99 US

The Good

  • Stylish design. Great noise isolation. Decent audio quality. Easy to switch from music to calls. Lifetime warranty

The Bad

  • Thin cord subject to failure. Overwhelming bass.

Mobile music listeners often assume that decent sound quality can only be achieved through high priced audiophile level headphones. In reality, there are affordable options that still offer excellent sound quality. The iPhone compatible Maximo iP-HS2 iMetal Isolation Headset falls into this category. These earbuds may not be the best on the market, but they certainly sound better than anything you'll find for under $70.

Fashionable Headset

The iP-HS2 iMetal earbuds are as much a fashion statement as they are electronics, and may attract attention when you're walking down a busy street. The earbuds are almost entirely chrome, as is the in-line microphone and Y-divider. Despite Maximo's choice of materials, the iP-HS2 iMetal earbuds aren't gaudy and manage to pull off the shiny metal look with flair. One of the reasons they look so svelte is the thin cord, whose lightweight feels great on the ears. However, the cord also facilitates tangling and worried me when I them out of a jeans pocket. After a few weeks of use, my intuitions were confirmed; the left earbud started crackling when the cord was moved. The iP-HS2 iMetal headset's poor tension-relief system is most likely to blame for this, and I hope Maximo will correct this in future iterations. On the other hand, I should start using the included case.

Good Design

The iP-HS2 iMetal Isolation Headset functions are simple and well implemented. A small metal disc halfway down the right earbud's cord functions as a microphone and control button; press once to pause music, twice to skip tracks. If you're listening to music and you receive a call, you press the button to pick up or drop the call.

 iP-HS2 iMetal Isolation Headset

iP-HS2 iMetal Isolation Headset

Maximo includes useful accessories in the box: A carrying case and a set of S, M, and L ear tips. The dome-shaped silicone pieces are a great compromise between an open-ear design and the unattractive foam earplug-style tips found on more expensive earphones. I've had good experiences with silicone ear tips in the past, so I wasn't surprised to find the iP-HS2 iMetals comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. On the other hand, some people are squeamish about having things in their ears. If you feel uncomfortable wearing earplugs, stay away from these earbuds.

Good Sound with Caveats

Sound quality and isolation was better than we expected for a pair of $70 earbuds, but they have shortcomings. Your satisfaction with the iMetals will depend largely on the type of music you listen to regularly. Bass was incredibly powerful, and highs were clear and detailed. That said, we found mid-range was overly sharp, creating an electronic, synthesized sound. Overall, the iP-HS2 iMetal audio quality suffers from an often-overwhelming bass that muffles out a fair bit of higher-end detail. Some genres of music, such as jazz and vocal, don't suffer from this effect because they lack a heavy bass line, but other genres, such as rock and hip-hop, are noticeably affected.

Recommended for Some

If your music library consist of songs with a light bass, or if you enjoy a powerful low-end in your tunes, the iP-HS2 iMetal headset is a great choice. Although they have a few shortcomings, they're the best microphone-enabled earbuds I've used to date. If by some odd chance of fate you have a similar problem as I did, where the cable loosens and you experience crackling noise, Maximo will gladly replace your headset free, because they have a lifetime warranty.

Technical Specs:
  • Lightweight aluminum alloy body
  • Headset cable length: 4 feet
  • Extension Cable Length: 2 feet
  • Driver size: 9mm
  • Microphone Impedence: 2.2K Ohm
  • Sensitivity: (1KHz, 0.1V): >100dB
  • Microphone Sensitivity: 44 dB 3 dB (at 1000 Hz 1mW Input)
  • Frequency Range: 18 Hz ~ 22 kHz
  • Maximum input: 10mW
  • Plug type: 3.5 mm Stereo Plug and mono microphone

Related Product Reviews:

Artwizz PowerPhones Pro

Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor

by Cedric Bosch


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