The Ultrasone iCans are a portable, sleek looking set of headphones that would complement any iPod, but we don't feel they represent great value for money.
- Foldable and portable, silver chrome finish is a nice touch, included metal carry case
- Expensive for what they are, some comfort issues
The iCans are not a bad set of headphones by any means and the portability factor is important to consider, but for this price, we’d steer clear of the iCans.
Price$ 226.00 (AUD)
The strikingly designed iCans and their silver chrome earphones definitely stand out in a crowd. Even the ear pads look stylish, as they are wrapped in a metallic silver cloth, which felt fairly comfortable for extended periods of use. The over-the-head piece was finished in white plastic, which complemented the rest of the iCans well.
The iCans are portable and can easily be folded and packed away into the supplied metal case. When extending the over-the-head piece, we noticed that this leaves black marks on the white plastic. It easily wipes off, but the next time you fold them open again, the marks will return. It isn't a major problem in any sense, but we thought it was worth mentioning as these headphones are clearly targeting those who are fashion conscious. The iCans twist and then fold over in order for them to be stored in the supplied case which was a nice touch.
Unlike ordinary headphones, Ultrasone claims the iCans use what's called an "S-Logic" natural surround sound system, which spreads sound throughout your ear to reproduce sound normally reserved for speakers. We didn't notice a significant difference with this system, although the sound does tend to feel more 'spread out' than other headphones we've listened to. Depending on your taste of music, this may be a good or bad thing. We feel that the iCans are better suited to softer and mellower tracks, while those who enjoy substantially heavier and louder music may prefer a conventional set of headphones.
The iCans also contain what's called Low Emission Shielding, which Ultrasone claims eliminates the electromagnetic radiation produced by most other headphones. The headphones were fairly comfortable for most part during testing, although the over-the-head plastic piece didn't sit well on our head, and became quite annoying after a prolonged period of use.
We tested the iCans with an iPod nano, a Sony Walkman and a Rio Karma and the results were fairly average. We did notice that the iCans tend to sound like the music is coming from outside the headphones, rather than from inside. This means that the sound doesn't tend to blast directly into your ear like most other headphones and this will take a while to get used to. For those of you who like thumping bass, the iCans are probably not going to suit you, but on softer tunes the treble and midrange levels were quite good. Overall, the iCans sound quality is slightly above average, but there are plenty of headphones at this price range and below, such as the Sony MDR-X400, that are just as good or better.
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