My first experience with Phiaton was with their noise cancelling in-ears way back in 2012. While they weren’t the greatest audiophile masterpiece I had heard, the earphones were ergonomically designed and well featured, I was pleased with their value and construction considering Phiaton’s asking price. So when Phiaton contacted the site, I was more than happy to review their new Bluetooth enabled headphones, the BT460.
From a glance, Phiaton’s newest creation is a compact, nicely designed headphone that is feature rich and well adapted towards use with smart devices. However, with a hearty RRP of $200 USD ($300 AUD), can Phiaton’s offering compete with similarly priced headphones from larger manufacturers? And do their smart features provide a notable benefit to usability and convenience? Let’s find out.
I would like to thank Phiaton very much for providing me with the BT460 for the purpose of honest review. There is no monetary incentive for a positive score and despite receiving the headphones free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective in my analysis as possible.
The BT460’s have a nice unboxing similar to what you would expect from other premium headphones manufacturers like Sennheiser and Bose. They have a medium sized box with high-contrast renders and a punchy red/white colour scheme. Sliding off the exterior sleeve reveals an inlet containing the carrying case.
Inside the case is the BT460 itself, a 3.5mm cable to run the headphones from a wired source and a micro-usb charging cable. I’m a fan of Phiaton’s compact zippered hard case, it’s practical, protective and is a little more visually interesting than that included with most other headphones.
The BT460 is a stylish headphones with a minimal design. Phiaton’s choice of darker hues and soft touch textures imbue them with a more mature aesthetic that is a refreshing change from the usual gloss plastics and chromed logos seen in retail stores. While they are certainly not comparable to the likes of the similarly priced Meze 99 Neo and B&W P5 Wireless, the BT460 is nonetheless a handsome and thoughtfully designed product. They also feature folding hinges that enable them to become much more compact for storage/transit.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for their build quality. Even when compared to consumer headphones such as those from Skull Candy and Beats, the BT460’s predominately plastic construction is just passable. And most concerning is the substantial wobble between the folding hinge and headband slider mechanisms, the headphones simply don’t feel as solid as they should for the price. Phiaton do somewhat redeem themselves with their use of metals in the structure of the headphones, the buttons are also clicky and the hinges all hold their position well despite that wobble. I also haven’t noticed any significant wear on my review unit besides a small user induced scuff, they seem to be quite durable despite not inspiring too much confidence with their in-hand feel.
The BT460’s somewhat make up for this with their especially comfortable fit. Despite being relatively large, the BT460 pursues more of an on-ear fit; and though I usually struggle with on-ear headphones, the BT460’s provided pleasing comfort through their low clamp force and soft ear pads. This does mean stability is quite low and the headphones easily shift position when moving though the grippy rubber headband help to keep the headphones seated when walking. So while their build and feel don’t inspire confidence, the BT460’s streamlined, folding design and higher levels of comfort produce a practical listening experience.
The BT460 is a Bluetooth enabled headphone with some unique smart features reminiscent of those included with Apple’s Airpods. They are easy to pair and control similarly to most other Bluetooth headphones. They can also be connected to two sources simultaneously and feature ShareMe technology enabling the headphones to wirelessly stream audio to another headphone that also supports it. Other notable mentions include support for apt-x Bluetooth enabling lower latency and higher quality streaming though I still found them to sound appreciably better from a wired source perhaps due to a weak internal amplifier.
A cover protects the micro usb charging port on the bottom and a 3.5mm input that functions even when the headphones are powered off. The rear of the right earcup houses the power/multi-function button. Perhaps their most notable feature is a touchpad on the outside of the right earcup that acts as the main interface. It enables users to control music playback via swipe gestures, forward to skip forward, backwards to skip back and up and down to control volume. The panel has 7 LED’s that indicate the level of volume and flash when receiving phone calls. The gesture control was surprisingly reliable in m testing except for the double tap to play/pause gesture that is barely functional. The in-built microphone is also quite good, easily usable for calls and voice recording despite being in an unideal location.
The headphones also pause the music when removed from the head and resume play when put back on. I found it to work nicely but there is a second delay and it doesn’t work in all apps. Another smart feature uncommonly found on other headphones is the BT460’s inbuilt vibration motor; the headphones vibrate when powered on and when receiving a call, it’s a small but very tactile gesture that adds a lot to the user experience. I would appreciate a Phiaton smartphone app to control these features, perhaps adding the ability to create custom gestures or vibration patterns for different app notifications, but as is, the headphones are convenient and practical to use. The gestures are surprisingly effective except for the double tap command, and volume adjustment is accurate and works in isolation of the source which works well when paired to a TV for instance. While the BT460 isn’t the perfect “smart” headphone, they do a much better job than the vast majority of wireless headsets.
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