One aspect of traveling is listening to music. There are times when you want to hear the roar of waves crashing on the shore, the whisper of wind through the pines or the background bustle of a farmer’s market. When on a trip, there are times you want to hear what you want to hear, and that’s when the Philips ActionFit Sports Headphones put the iPhone headset to shame.
I’m a cyclist—on trails and multipaths; no streets—and on my typical two to three hour rides on weekend mornings, I like to listen to music or an audio book. Bumping along an unpaved trail or zipping down a hillside path, the typical headphones fall out of my ears from the jostling and jigging.
The first time I road-tested the Philips ActionFit SHQ1200 headphone, I was listening to a hard-ride playlist. On the route to the trailhead, I was blown away by the quality of the sound. Philips says its miniscule ear-speakers have a range of 30 to 20,000 Hertz. The main speakers to my audio system at home deliver 25 to 25,000 hertz. With my rock-n-roll ears, I can’t hear above 18,000 Hertz, but I can tell it’s there because of the overall richness of the sound. My car audio system is 30 to 25,000 Hertz.
The Philips ActionFit headphones deliver quality sound that rivals speakers at home or in the car. The car is the best comparison, because road and environment noise is similar to riding a bicycle. I’m impressed with the quality. I’ve never heard the thump of bass notes in a iPhone headset before the ActionFit on this ride.
My companion is a runner and walker. Letting her try the ActionFit was a true mistake. I haven’t seen them since. She says there are five reasons I can’t have them back.
1. The Headphones Stay in the Ear
For both of us, the headphones stay in the ear. On the bike, typically the earpieces to the iPhone headset and my LG Bluetooth headset droop out of my ears once I leave smooth pavement. She has the same problem when running on desert trails or uneven surfaces. The replaceable caps—three sizes are included—are designed to rest inside the ear. The cap shape fits the natural curve of the ears. Both ours have different shapes and, properly sized, it holds comfortable in place.
2. The Cord is Long Enough and Can Be Clipped to Clothes
On my bike, my iPhone goes in the center pocket of my cycling shirts at the base of my spine. When she’s running, it’s in a pants pocket or on her waistband. Unlike the iPhone, where the cord tangles easily in limbs and handlebars, the Philips headphones has a cord at a length to reach the phone in pant or pocket. We both like the fact that it comes with a well-secured, spring-mounted clip to anchor the headphones to clothing. The clip is adequately sized to be readily reached to reposition or remove.
3. Sound Quality is Extraordinary
The Philips ActionFit headphones deliver quality sound that rivals speakers at home or in the car. The car is the best comparison, because road and environment noise is similar to riding a bicycle. I’m impressed with the quality. I’ve never heard the thump of bass notes in an iPhone headset before the ActionFit on this ride.
The first time I road-tested the Philips ActionFit SHQ1200 headphone, I was listening to a hard-ride playlist. On the route to the trailhead, I was blown away by the quality of the sound. Philips says its miniscule ear-speakers have a range of 30 to 20,000 Hertz. The main speakers to my audio system at home deliver 25 to 25,000 hertz.
4. Very Light Weight
I forget when I’m wearing the ActionFit headphones because of their weight. Philips says the set weighs 0.04 pounds, which is about two-thirds of one ounce. On my kitchen scale, the headphones clock in at one-half ounce (14 grams). My companion says she doesn’t feel like she’s wearing headphones—especially once the cord is clipped to clothing and stops swinging with the pace of her run.
Even when playing the audio at a level to shut out road noise, I can still heard what’s going on around me. Normally, I pull one side from ears on the short segments where I’m on a road, but even the multipath has traffic from other cyclists or occasional equestrians (Trail runners normally do not pass me when I’m on the bike). When a cyclist is coming up, even with music I can hear gears shifting or the “on your left” warning. I have also been able to handle greetings and short conversations even with music blaring. She says that while running, she can hear approaching cars or other runners.
Philips gave a pair of ActionFit SHQ1200 headphones to all the Traveling Moms and the one Traveling Dad at the Disney World workshop. The Moms all have turquoise or pink sets, mine is a slick white with black trim, but I wish I took the turquoise one.
The only two shortfalls I found with the Action Fit is the lack of a play/pause/volume control. I have to reach for the phone to pause it for any purpose. For music, that’s not an issue, just pull phones from ears, but for an audio book, I have to find where I left off; it’s inconvenient. I would dump my Bluetooth headset for the Philips if I could use it with the phone. There is no microphone in the SHQ1200 model. The SHH4507 model, black, has the iPhone microphone and remote control.
My companion won’t return the ActionFit I handed to her in two weeks ago. “You said I could try them,” she tells me. “I’m going to be trying them for a long time.”
The SHQ1200 I tested sells for $21 on Amazon; the SHH4507 with microphone and remote sells for $35. I had to check the prices, the only way I’m going to get one is to buy my own.