I think the title speaks for itself. “Worst Headphones 2017: These Are The Biggest Headphone Fails of 2017.” If you bought any of these headphones, consider the past the past and try to make better decisions in 2018. New Year, new you. Now, on to the fails.
Worst Headphones 2017: These Are The Biggest Headphone Fails of 2017
2017 was a year of creativity. It was a year of innovations and major social reach. It was also a year that brought innovations to the masses via social crowdfunding. While platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo helped many innovators launch campaigns and head to market, there were a number that completely flopped. Leading the band of crowdfunding fails and making its mark on our list is Kanoa. These truly wireless earbuds promised to deliver high-quality sound in a water-resistant frame all for $159 for early bird backers. The product was promised to backers in November 2016. Majority of backers never received their product (up to this day) and the company went dark before officially closing shop with a later apologizing to backers (who, also, never received their money back). But, that’s not why they are on this list of fails. Kanoa, according to Tech YouTube reviewer Cody Crouch, was sent a pair of buds and told to post a favorable review as soon as possible in exchange for $500. Crouch put them on blast. Yikes! That’s when the company went belly up. FAIL!
Not everything from Google can be a win. The Google Pixel Buds, are a perfect example of one of those missed wins. The Bluetooth-based buds feature an cable that links the two ear buds together while providing a run time of only 5 hours. A wireless earphone of this design usually supports at least a 7.5 hour battery life so this is poor on Google’s part. In addition, the cool-looking earbuds don’t provide much isolation. They are fashioned as earphones, kind of like Apple earbuds with a disk attached on the other side for securing the buds in your ear. This fit doesn’t actually provide a solid seal or keep the buds from moving around slightly in your ears. Pixel Buds do feature Google Assistant and Translate which is pretty cool, except for the fact that it works almost exactly the same as using it directly on your phone. The buds were a good idea by Google, but execution fell flat. It’s definitely not worth the pricey $159 price tag. So, you guessed it. FAIL!
Doppler Labs seemed oh so promising! The company raised $50 million plus towards their product. They brought us the Here One earbuds which were kind of cool. They acted somewhat as a hearing aid and truly wireless earbuds with active noise cancelling. Here One allowed users to alter the sound of their environment with different presets. It was truly innovative and seemed like a great product, but the company had difficulty thriving especially at a time when Apple Airpods were coming to fruition along with every other headphone giant launching their own TWS earbuds. The company was officially defunct on December 1, 2017. I think this goes without debate, FAIL!
LG Tone Studio headphones are built as a wireless neckband and speaker combo. It’s a cool idea in theory, but how many people would want to sit on a crowded subway next to someone who insists on playing their music aloud from their neck? Not me. Also, due to this dual feature, the LG Tone Studio sounds ok as a headphone and ok as a speaker. It never really excels at either. Kind of reminds me of the HiFiMAN Edition S from the previous year. Good concept, but never really impressed as an open-back or closed -back headphone. So for that reason, the LG Tone Studio is a FAIL!
This first time run at a wireless noise-cancelling headphone from Bowers & Wilkins receives a decent nod from me. B&W had some good ideas at heart but the execution was off. The Bowers & Wilkins PX headphones are heavy and not ideal for commuting. The leather, while premium, is firm, making it quite uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time. It features a noise-cancelling button on the side of the headphone, but it turns ANC on and off rather than switch between the various levels of noise-cancelling mode. The headphone is also built to intelligently turn your music on and of when you remove the headphone from your head, but it’s too sensitive and turns your music one and off every two seconds. You can change the setting to be “less sensitive,” but the issue persisted for the most part. You get all of these issues for $400. And that price tag my friends earns this headphone a spot on this list. FAIL!
Verve Ones+ Plus True Wireless were released in 2016 and poorly received through 2017. The buds are adequate at best. The tiny (orange) buds don’t have an ideal fit for everyone and lack and reputable features. The buds come off as fitness-based, but they most they do is sport a water-resistant shell and queue Siri. There’s no assistant coaching either. It’s a basic wireless bud that merely plays music. But, it’s not even that great at that. The music quality isn’t impressive. To top it off, these buds hit the market at $249.99. They are on sale now for $189.99, but that’s still a little pricey in my book. So, FAIL!
This isn’t a headphone, more of a headphone accessory. Regardless, it’s earned a spot on our list. Where in the world is Chord Poly?! The wireless streaming module intended for use with the Chord Mojo was was announced in January 2017 and set for release in April 2017. At that time, the company started taking pre-orders. However, Poly’s release was then pushed back to May and then June/July, before Chord finally released a very limited supply in November. About time! That kind of wait period earns a very deserving FAIL in my book.
To be fair though, it works like a dream.
Any other headphones (or accessories) you think were utter poop this year and deserve a spot on our “Biggest Headphone Fails of 2017” article? Sound off in the comments section below!