The more I talk to people about travelling with a toddler, the more one thing becomes apparent. The flight from Sydney to Tokyo has the potential to make or break the whole adventure.
That is pretty high stakes! It’s no small sum of money that we have invested in airfare and accommodation, not to mention the annual leave that we have both taken. When I think that the first ten hours have the potential to set the tone for the next 23 days, I start to look at it pretty seriously.
So how do we go about ensuring a smooth flight? I posed that question on Twitter and the results were conclusive – snacks and entertainment (for the toddler, not me). And a key part of that entertainment? Headphones.
Puro Sound Labs BT2200 headphones… The Box
Why is it that so much of the quality of a technology-based product is reflected in the cardboard packaging in which it arrives? The box for these Puro Labs BT2200 headphones headphones oozed class – it felt sturdier and longer lasting than some of the actual headphones that I’ve owned in the past! The glossy, white cardboard opened invitingly after a small amount of pressure released the magnetic clasps.
I felt like a kid at Christmas as I opened it up to reveal a solid black carry-case. The carry case feels as if it is built to last. It is the perfect accessory to include with a set of headphones like these, as it offers great protection for the valuable equipment inside and an easy way of keeping the three important components together.
The Puro Sound Labs BT2200 Headphones – First Look
I unzipped the carry case and opened it to find a brilliant white pair of headphones. A brief wave of jealousy washed over me as I realised that my 18-month old child was now the proud owner of a far better pair of headphones than I had ever had the luxury of owning. However, that jealousy soon turned to joy. If these are a key piece in the puzzle of a successful ten hour flight, then let her have it… (okay, I may have gone straight back to the Puro Sound Labs website and eyed off an adult version for myself).
My immediate impression when I pulled the headphones out of their carry case was that they are built to last. For a journey like this, I wasn’t prepared to gamble on a cheap plastic pair that ran the risk of falling apart half way through. I can just imagine how enraged the little one could become, should she be denied The Grand Old Duke of York for the 31st time at 30,000 feet. The Puro Sound Labs BT2200 headphones are light-weight, but still feel very sturdy – perfect for long periods of time on a toddler’s head.
The padding around the ear is soft and comfortable, and the headband is also padded. Again, these elements should make for longer periods of comfortable wear.
The left earpiece houses all of the controls – on/off, Bluetooth and volume control. It also has a micro USB port for charging, and an auxiliary input for wired connections.
The Puro Sound Labs BT2200 headphones charge via a standard USB to Micro USB cable. It is the same type of cable that is used by my phone, so that is quite useful. It took about 1 1/2 hours to fully charge the first time, when plugged into a USB port on my PC. An indicator light turns from red to blue, to let the user know that the headphones are charged and ready to go.
Connecting to a Device
Puro Sound Labs BT2200 headphones are wireless. They use Bluetooth to pair with compatible devices and my experience was that it worked well. I paired the headphones with a Nokia 1020 Windows phone, a Moto G3 Android phone, an iPhone 7, a Windows 10 PC and a Windows 10 tablet. Each time the headphones were discovered by the device and paired on the first attempt. The connection was never lost during the time that I tested the headphones, even when I walked to the next room.
While Bluetooth connectivity is handy to have, it may not always be practical. Many home stereo systems, for example, don’t use a Bluetooth connection. Also, when flying there can be certain limitations to the types and times when a broadcasting device can be used. Some parents may also worry about using a transmitting device close to their child’s head for extended periods.
Puro Sound Labs have thought of all this and they have included the ability to use the headphones with a wired connection. Simply plug in the auxiliary cable, turn the switch to “off” and you have a premium pair of corded headphones! It’s simple things like that, that make the Puro Sound Labs BT2200 headphones such an attractive option for parents of toddlers.
A final advantage of the auxiliary cable is that even if I forget to charge the headphones, they are always usable. We will never be without music (unless I forget to charge the devices…).
Forget all the other features, there’s not much point in spending money on a set of headphones if they don’t sound any good. I tried these out before I put them anywhere near my daughter’s ears (yes, they do just fit my head) and I liked what I heard.
Even on the standard Spotify stream, the songs came across clearly. I’m no audiophile, so don’t expect me to wax lyrical about the finer points of music listening, but I was suitably impressed. Keep in mind that these are volume-limited headphones, so don’t expect to be blown away by big sound. This, of course, is an excellent feature for tiny, sensitive ears.
I listened through a few of my favourite songs with these headphones. Alicia Keys‘ voice in Fallin‘ was as stunning as ever, and each instrument was clear. Bob Dylan’s Duquesne Whistle was a pleasure to listen to. Every intricate quirk of Bob’s (love it or hate it) voice came through in a way that reminded me of the last time I saw him in concert. My amateur ears were pretty impressed with what they heard, and it left my finger hovering ever closer to the ‘buy’ button on an adult pair of Puro Sound Labs headphones!
Protecting children’s hearing is obviously something the people over at Puro Sound Labs take very seriously. As I mentioned above, these headphones are volume limited. This is an extremely important feature for tiny, sensitive ears and frankly, I wouldn’t buy a set of headphones for my little one that didn’t offer such protection. Hearing is a precious gift and it can be too easy to lose.
The Puro Sound Labs BT2200 headphones manual states that “85 dBA of sound can be listened to for up to 20 hours at a time without the risk of hearing loss”. This certainly helps to provide me with some peace-of-mind if Hannah decides that she wants to listen to a lot of music on our flight.
When I first started looking for a pair of headphones for this trip, I read some parents complaining about 85dBA limited headphones as being too soft to hear. At the time I found it strange that parents would opt for potential hearing damage over a safety feature, but I guess the point is valid. What is the purpose of headphones if the user can’t hear the sound? Once again, the technicians at Puro Sound Labs have thought of this, and they designed the headphones to block out 82% of background noise (according to their website). What is even more impressive is that they have achieved that passively, without the need for battery-draining, active noise cancelling.
That means that 85dBA is just fine for listening to music, even in a potentially noisy environment like a plane or transit lounge.
That’s it for now. The Puro Sound Labs BT2200’s will be given a proper work-out on our travels to Japan. I’ll let you know how they perform out in the real world…
Disclosure – Puro Sound Labs provided Blog Of Dad with these headphones free of charge, for the purpose of review during our Japan adventure. The views expressed in this post are entirely my own views, based on my experiences with the Puro Sound Labs BT2200 headphones. For further information, please visit my disclosure page.