You can spend a fortune on Bluetooth headphones. Or you can gather your senses and grab a pair of AtomicXs for next to nothing. As I discovered in my testing, the performance-price ratio is far above average. Sure, you’re probably not going to do a critical listening of, say, “Dawn from Thus Spake Zarathustra” with these. But, hey remember: $59.99.
I tested the S204 model. As you’d expect it comes with a case (quite nice), USB cable, and pairs to your tablet or phone via Bluetooth. All worked exactly as expected with the pairing happening particularly fast.
Aptx audio is here — it’s something I always look for in my portable audio gear. The higher end codec provides for better fidelity. Maybe not dramatically so (and I still think wired is the ultimate for serious listening sessions), but with so much opportunity for signal degradation when transmitting I’ll take the extra bits every time.
Frequency response — another spec I pay careful attention to — is excellent. Bass is solid. Though, if you’re expecting the kind of extra bassy oomph you find on some of the higher end Beats phones you may be slightly disappointed. Me? I prefer it balanced. And I also like the treble crisp, as it is here.
I compared the AtomicX to my Boss Quietcomfort headphones (can’t travel without them) and there really was no comparison. That’s no entirely fair, though, given the latter are wired, and cost $300. But the Boss sound is truly impressive. Still, comparing the AtomicX to other headphones I had around the office revealed that they perform better than many, if not most, in-ear headphones. Plus, I found them more comfortable to wear.
- S204 Headphones
- EVA case
- USB Cable
- Aux line-in cable
- Bluetooth 4.0+EDR
- 3.5mm line-in
- Aptx audio
- Supporters connecting with up to 2 phones
- Battery status (iOS only)
- Bluetooth 4.0
- Talk time: 14 hours
- Stand-by: 540 hours
- Music: 14 hours
- Wireless range: 10 meters
- Bluetooth profiles: A2DP / AVRCP / HSP / HFP
- Impedance: 32 ohms
- Sound pressure level: 103 ± 3dB
- Frequency response level: 20Hz – 20 KHz
- Signal-to-noise: ≥ 85 dB
- Weight: 0.56 pounds
- Dimensions: 7.9 x 7.1 x 2.6 inches
Battery life is rated at 14 hours for music. I didn’t quite get that, but it was close enough. You could likely go a standard work day, and be okay. Like many Bluetooth devices, range is iffy. In my tests it was the same as just about any other device we had lying around Stark Insider. It was fine enough within the confines of a room, and for me that’s fine as most of the time I’m listening while emailing and typing away.
Audiophiles will look elsewhere, of course, and are not even landing on or reading this page anyways. But for gaming, casual listening, and watching movies, I think the AtomicX S204 headphones are a terrific bargain.