Thursday, February 11, 2010

Gadget review: iFeelU EX2 "Body-sonic" Headphones

I came across this product in a pretty odd way. I just got back from a trip through Asia (my excuse for no blogging lately!), and my last stop was Seoul, Korea. While out for drinks and dinner there one night with a co-worker, I got into a conversation with a Mr. Alex SM Han, CEO of iFeelU, a Korean consumer electronics company. He had me try out a pair of these headphones, and after listening for a couple minutes through my BlackBerry's media player, I was sold.

What makes these different from other conventional in-the-ear headphones is the way they deliver bass effects -- they literally rattle the little bones in your ears. What's even weirder about them is that there's no battery or other external power source. The, um, vibrators are powered by the sound source. Holding them in your hand, you can actually feel them vibrating, which feels kind of strange at first in your ears.

This Gizmodo article inexplicably claims that for music, these headphones "suck balls". I beg to differ. I found the sound quality -- particularly the bass -- to be fantastic. The date of the article corresponds to right around the date of the product launch (May 2008), so who knows...maybe improvements were made since then. I also used them for the in-flight movies on the 13-hour flight back from Seoul, and was very satisfied with the sound quality. Oh, did I mention Mr. Han gave me a set? He did. Very nice man, that Mr. Han.

The phones fit comfortably in the ears, and there are two simple dials on the in-line control labeled SPK and VIB. SPK controls the basic volume, while VIB controls the bass (amount of vibration).

The Gizmodo article says the product is expected to launch in the US "soonish" and retail for around $40, but I haven't seen them yet. But if I understood Mr. Han correctly, start looking for them at CostCo in the coming months.


Mr. Bingley said...

Sounds interesting, but I still just don't like the "feel" of the in-the-ear 'earbuds' type headphones. I still use the old big honking over-the-ear headphones.

but i'll look at these if i se them at costco!

Eric said...

Yeah, I generally prefer the "can" type of headphones. Coolest thing about these was how I got them.

javieth said...

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Thomas G Lee said...

We've just started handling this line in the US for iFeelU. The reason you haven't seen them is that, up until now, their marketing plan has, frankly, stunk. We just had a booth at the CES and there was great interest in the products. We also heard from a lot of visitors to the booth that they had seen these at past shows, but never have been able to follow up with anybody since there's been no "real" US presence. Our goal is to change this and to get the product out in force this year. I doubt you'll see them at COSTCO though, but you will be able to get them through other retailers. We're also working with a large OEM supplier to get them into market, but it will be under a "private label agreement". Glad to know you enjoyed them. Do you know what model number Mr. Han gave you? They now have iPhone/iPad/iPod approved models.

Eric said...

Thanks for the info, Thomas. I'm traveling at the moment but will be home tomorrow and will double check the model number then. My son appropriated the headphones from me not long after I got back with them from Korea. :-)

I'd love to see these things widely available here!

Thomas G Lee said...

You're welcome Eric! Thank you for your service. I spent 8 years in the Army myself. My last name is "Lee" and I spend a lot of time in Asia, but I'm not Korean (think of the Virginia Lee's lol). But I'm a 100% Proud Texan!

When you get home let me know and I'll send you another set.

All the best!

Eric said...

Well, as far as I can tell there's no model number on the headphones besides the "EX2" shown on the front. The set I have looks exactly like the one in the pic at the top of this post.

What makes headphones iPod/iPhone/iPad approved? I know for a fact the set I have work with the iPhone, as well as other players with that type of jack.

Thomas G Lee said...

The new ex2-501M models have a mic and inline controls for use with the iPhone. You're correct, the other models will work with the iPhone for your listening pleasure, they just don't have a MIC.

The Apple "approval" just means that our products have been approved for use on Apple products by Apple.

It looks like you have the EX2-501P model.