Details: Sport-oriented earphones from Philips designed for maximum durability
MSRP: $39.99 for SHO2200 (manufacturer’s page); $49.99 for SHO2205 w/mic, 1-button remote, & analog volume control (manufacturer’s page)
Current Price: $26 from amazon.com / $25 from ebay.com for SHO2200; $36 from amazon.com for SHO2205
Specs: Driver: Dynamic | Imp: 16Ω | Sens: 105 dB | Freq: 6-23.5k Hz | Cable: 3.9′ L-plug
Nozzle Size: 4mm | Preferred tips: MEElec M6 bi-flanges, Sony Hybrid
Wear Style: Straight down or over-the-ear
Accessories (1/5) – Single-flange silicone tips (3 sizes)
Build Quality (5/5) – The Tread has clearly been designed with extreme durability in mind – the earpieces boast aluminum inner shells protected by a rubber sheath and are said to survive up to 300 lbs of impact. The nozzles are protected by metal filters and the cables – by long, flexible strain reliefs. The Kevlar-reinforced cord is thicker than average and surprisingly tangle-resistant. It is sheathed in cloth below the y-split and features an exceptionally beefy L-plug and rock-solid Y-split
Isolation (3/5) – Isolation is good for a dynamic-driver earphone – more than reasonable for the typical daily commute
Microphonics (4/5) – Low when worn cable-down; nearly nonexistent when worn cord-up
Comfort (3/5) – Though it was designed with sports in mind, the Tread is conventional straight-barrel in-ear earphone. The housings are slightly on the heavy side and the stock eartips are a little stiff. Comfort is average but at least the earphones can be worn over-the-ear quite easily due to the flexible strain reliefs and soft cable
Sound (6/10) – Philips has focused mostly on style and durability with the O’Neill line but the sound quality of the Tread is still respectable for the asking price. While the marketing materials promise good bass depth, in reality the Tread puts out mostly mid-bass and suffers from mild low-end roll-off. The low end is punchy, however – impact is about on-par with the similarly-priced Klipsch Image S3 and lags just behind Philips’ cheaper SHE3580 model. The SHE3580 also has better sub-bass presence and sounds fuller and warmer. The MEElectronics M9, on the other hand, also has greater bass quantity but lags behind the Tread in quality, sounding boomy and muddy in comparison.
The midrange of the Tread is clear and prominent. There is more emphasis on the bass but vocals don’t sound too recessed and there is no bass bleeding into the mids. The tone is on the cool side compared to most entry-level sets, which tend to be warm and bassy. Moving up into the treble, the Tread is a touch uneven but not excessively so – the Klipsch Image S3, for example, is harsher and far more sibilant. The Tread also derives some extra intelligibility with vocals from its prominent treble and has decent top-end extension compared to the MEElectronics M9 and Dunu Trident. The presentation is respectable as well – soundstage size is average but the instrument separation is good and the earphones don’t sound congested. The Tread still doest’t sound anywhere near as large and spacious as the Soundmagic E10 but keeps up with the popular mainstream sets in its price bracket.
Value (8/10) – The Philips O’Neill SHO2200 Tread delivers exactly what it promises – a bulletproof construction that puts most earphones – no matter the price – to shame. Passive noise isolation is also good for an in-ear of its type and cable noise is respectably low. There are more comfortable earphones out there and certainly better-sounding ones – the clean, slightly cold sound of the Tread may not appeal to mainstream listeners and won’t win over many audiophiles – but on the whole the Tread is sure to be a success with those who are simply tired of replacing broken earphones.
Pros: Extremely solid construction; low cable noise; decent clarity
Cons: Slightly cold and thin-sounding; sound does not measure up to cheaper SHE3580 model