Axent Wear Cat Ear Headphones – Review November 20, 2015Posted by coolmikeol in Other/TO.com news.
Around this time last year, there was some buzz going around social media about this product. It was being funded on Indiegogo and was already on its way to go way beyond its target fund amount. The item attracted me due to its uniqueness, headphones with light up cat ears that function as speakers as well? To me that translated to cute and cool. Probably not something I’d wear all the time or in public, but probably at home or at conventions. I held off on backing the headphones while I decided if I really wanted to pay $150 for it. Eventually though I decided to go for it, backing my first kickstarter-type campaign ever. This was back over a year ago on November 7th, 2014. It was estimated to be released in April 2015, though throughout its development Axent Wear had issues finding a suitable manufacturer. This pushed back its release date almost a half a year more than scheduled. I was originally hoping to receive my pair before going to FanimeCon in May, but that fell through because of said reasons.
Because of the uncertain manufacturing situation with the headphones, the headphones left my mind at times, though at the very least Axent Wear kept giving almost monthly updates to as what was going on with the headphones for us backers. In June it was announced that Brookstone would be the manufacturer, and that the final product would be delivered in about 180 days. Finally in August it was announced that the headphones would be shipped out between November 15-27. In a late October update, it was announced that the first ones were already on their way to their customers in Japan since they are fairly close to where they’re being manufactured (China).
I received my pair of Axent Wear/Brookstone Cat Ear Headphones on the evening of November 19th, 2015, arriving at my doorstep between the hours of 5PM and 7:30PM. I immediately brought it in to open it up, though not before getting out my camera to record myself opening it up just in case anything was wrong with it for evidence reasons. Inside the cardboard box for shipping was the official box packaging for the product, decorated beautifully with art by Yuumei along with a diagram of the Cat Ear Headphones on the back. In this box was the headphones contained inside a protective carry case, along with the manual and a postcard sized artwork by Yuumei. In the carry case we have the car ear headphones, along with three bundled cables, which is the 4-foot detachable headphone cable, USB recharging cable, and the detachable gaming mic. The carry case is something I did not expect, as it is bulky but will definitely protect the headphones during travel without crushing it, which I definitely don’t mind at all.
Now for the review of the actual product, the Axent Wear/Brookstone Cat Ear Headphones. While at the moment I’ve had it on my head for only about a couple hours, I’d like to make a first impression kind of review, and further down the line, give a review of the product after using it for a while. Let’s Review!
Out of the box, the headphones are partially charged, so you can turn on the LED lights on it immediately to check out the main appeal. All the lights on mine work. Next was to listen to the sound quality of both the earphones and speakers. I grabbed my iPod Touch, plugged in the headphone cable from iPod to headphone, and hit the play button. First thing I noticed, the music from the headphone was clear but average. Sound quality wise, it’s a bit worse than my $20 Sony MDR-ZX100 headphones. The main issue is that the bass is not as deep as I’d like it to be. Switching on the Bass Booster on the EQ on my iPod makes it sound almost identical to the sound I’m used to, but I wish that the bass was stronger without having to boost it. The music from the cat speakers is decent for what you’d expect from cheap on-the-go speakers for any mp3 player. The volume can be turned up quite a bit, but first off let me talk about turning it on. Switching the cat speakers on is as simple as a single button press, but when I tried to turn it on, it at first appeared to not do anything. On the headphones there are four buttons, one for switching on the LED lights, one for turning the cat speakers on, and the other two are volume control. The volume control buttons on the headphone itself controls the volume of the speakers, not the device playing the music. The confusion comes from pressing the speaker on button which at first looks like nothing happens. However, the speaker is indeed on, just at its lowest volume level. Pressing the “+” volume up button will get you the sound from the speakers. Once you turn off the speakers and turn it on again, it always starts off at it lowest volume level, so bear that in mind before you think your cat speakers are broken.
Look and Feel
The build of the headphones is sturdy, and the details on it is high quality. Smoother and stylish, it sports the Axent Wear logo on the left and right side above the headphone extension area, along with “Axent Wear” proudly engraved into the cushion that is in between the wearer and the arch of the headphone. The buttons and recharging port are located on the right earphone, with the headphone cable and boom mic plugs on the left earphone. The material used for the cushion for the ears and head is probably foam with a leather covering, with the foam being quite firm, not too much but just fine. The cat speakers look nice, both lighted and non-lighted. As a whole, its looks pretty awesome, especially in the dark. Walking around a big room with mirrors around with the cat ear headphone lights on, it’s a cool new experience for me. I even danced around a little, with my face silhouetted by it, I looked as if I was in a commercial for it. My only concern with the aesthetics of my pair was that there was a single scratch already on the product when I opened the carry case for the first time. Not too major but worth noting.
Naturally, because of its relatively bulky design, it does have some weight to it when worn, but it is surprisingly comfortable. The headphone’s over-the-ear cushioning fits over my own ears perfectly, instead of my Sony headphones which compresses my ears which is uncomfortable after a while. Because of it’s over-the-ear design, it also has some noise canceling which I haven’t tested too much of yet. The top of the headphones slides a little on my head if I tilt my head too much downward, but it’s to be expected due to the weight of the cat speakers on top. I can probably see that I would have a problem with the included 4-foot headphone cable, as I do like to have some space to move around without being tied down to a computer. At least I can swap it out for any other male-to-male 3.5mm cable, which I tested and works.
Overall and Future Tests
So far I’ve had and used these headphones for only a couple hours at least, and in my opinion are very good so far. I have not tested the noise canceling, nor have I used the detachable gaming boom mic. I also have not tried charging it yet or had enough time with it to see how long a full charge lasts. The quality of those features will be noted over time and usage of this product. One question I have with the product: Does the headphones need to use power in order for it to work solely as headphones? Normal ones do not need power, so I’m assuming power is only needed for the lights and speakers. I have noticed a staggering amount of negative feedback about other peoples’ received Cat Ear Headphones, but so far my experience has been positive. I’m hoping that the quality this product has visually will also carry on in its endurance in normal usage situations. I will update this post when I feel something worth noting comes up, or in about six months or so from now, or both.
If you have this product, I’d like to hear your opinion about it. Leave a comment and I’ll respond to whatever questions or comments you have.