Thomas PR Client Kidz Gear Wins Bigbruin.com "Good Value Recommended" Award March 24, 2010

By Steven Kean, Bigbruin.comThomas PR Client Kidz Gear Wins Bigbruin.com "Good Value Recommended" Award by Steven Kean March 24, 2010!Thomas PR Client Kidz Gear Wins Bigbruin.com "Good Value Recommended" Award by Steven Kean March 24, 2010!Thomas PR Client Kidz Gear Wins Bigbruin.com "Good Value Recommended" Award by Steven Kean March 24, 2010!

Kidz Gear Wired and Wireless Headphones
Author: Steven Kean
Manufacturer: Kidz Gear
Source: Kidz Gear
Purchase: Amazon.com
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March 24, 2010

Kidz Gear was founded by a mother that was tired of buying headphones for kids that were made cheaply and could possibly include hazardous materials. Their solution was to develop both a wired and a wireless set of headphones that were built with adult features, but in a size and price range that was appropriate for children.
Thomas PR Client Kidz Gear Wins Bigbruin.com "Good Value Recommended" Award by Steven Kean March 24, 2010!
This review is going to take a look at both award winning units from Kidz Gear. Before taking a closer look at the samples provided for review, let's take a look at some information on then, as taken from the official website.

Wired Headphones - The first adult-featured stereo headphones made specifically for kids. Manufactured with the same high quality components as those used in standard adult headphones, the Kidz Gear Wired Headphones deliver extremely rich stereo sound quality for all your audio needs - DVDs, MP3s, Game Players, Television, Radio and more. They are a must for children in the car, on the plane or hanging out at home.

Wireless Headphones - IR Wireless Car Headphones from Kidz Gear. Delivering the same perfect fit, excellent quality and rich stereo sound as our Wired Headphones, but now with total portability thanks to no wires! These headphones are 100% Guaranteed to work with all built-in car DVD/sound systems. Designed with custom sized ear-cups, auto-power off feature, and comfortable padding, your child will be sure to enjoy those trips in the car. You can even use these headphones at home!

Wired Headphones Basics:

The packaging for the wired headphones is designed to fit in at a retail location; bright and vibrant to catch the would-be shopper's eye. The front of the package provides just enough information to get the user interested. On the back we find more detailed information; such as frequency range (20-20,000 Hz), sensitivity (108dB), impedance (32Ohms), and cable length (1.5M).

As the above left image shows, the packaging was crushed a little in transit, but the headphones remained undamaged.

On the top of the headband there is no cushion, which would be a nice addition in order to make them a little more comfortable. The below left image shows the headphones in their most compact configuration, while the below right image shows them fully extended. As these are designed for kids, a concern is whether they would fit all kids without causing any discomfort.

As an adult, I was able to put these headphones on and wear them for an entire day at work; and I was comfortable. The only place that I had a little discomfort was at the top of my head. Thus the reason some padding would be helpful.

On the cord there is a simple volume control. This is a nice feature as it allows the user to adjust the volume as necessary without affecting others that might be listening. Once the player was set at an appropriate level, turning the volume control here all the way up did not provide any discomfort, however if you are letting kids use these, I would still turn the player down a little and let them turn it up here.

Wireless Headphones Basics:
Thomas PR Client Kidz Gear Wins Bigbruin.com "Good Value Recommended" Award by Steven Kean March 24, 2010!
The packaging for the wireless headphones is similar to the wired model; with the key difference being the color. The wired version is a yellow/orange while the wireless is green/blue. In a retail setting this will help to quickly find the desired model.

As with the wired version, the packaging got a little crushed in shipment to me, but the headphones were undamaged. The back of the packaging once again provides detailed information on the wireless headphones. You have some of the same information as on the wired set, plus details on the carrier frequencies for each ear, that 2 AAA batteries are needed, and the effective operating Range (8m). The 8 meter range is more than sufficient for any vehicle.

Like the wired version these will fold up to be stored, and can also be extended to fit larger heads. On the top of the headband, there is no cushioning. This would be helpful here, as well.

On the left earpiece is the battery compartment. Taking off the cover you need to install 2 AAA batteries, which are not included. Most parents should have a bunch of batteries around, however including them in the package would have been helpful. Something else that would be helpful is making these rechargeable using the car's power. This way if you are on a long trip, you can recharge these when you stop.

On the right earpiece is a power switch. Leaving them on will drain the battery, so make sure it is turned off when not in use. In addition there is a volume control next to the power switch. The audio level was similar to the wired version. Turning them up to full was not uncomfortable. However, with kids always be sure that at full volume it won't be too loud for their ears.

IR Transmitter Basics:

The IR transmitter came in pieces, not in any retail designed packaging or even a plain brown box. It was simply placed inside the box with the headphones. Included is an AC adapter, the IR transmitter, and an audio cable to connect to devices with the old RCA style audio connections.

The back of the IR transmitter only has one plug which is for the AC power adapter.

There just isn't much to discuss regarding the IR transmitter.

Testing:

First, let me say I am not an audiophile; I know what I like to hear, however that doesn't make me an expert. It only tells me what I like. Testing of audio products is mostly subjective. If the audio is clear, no crackles/pops/hiss, sufficient bass, etc then it should be sufficient for most people. If you are looking for studio quality, you probably won't get that out of a $20 set of headphones intended for kids. What you should expect is exactly what I said above.


These were tested in three vehicles with built-in IR transmitting DVD systems.

Dodge Grand Caravan SE
Ford Escape
Toyota Sienna XLE

The IR transmitter was also connected to an iPod for listening at home.

Each of the headphones sounded great. The audio was crisp and clear, even at full volume. The bass level was sufficient. I compared these to an older pair of Sony headphones, and was unable to tell the difference (other than comfort).

In each of the vehicles listed above, the wired and wireless headphones connected without any issues. It was obvious that these are IR and need line-of-sight to work. When in the back of the vehicle, the sound was perfect, no snaps or other annoying noise. If the headset was moved to the front of the vehicle, the sound would break up and would only receive a portion of the audio.

Conclusion:

Both the wired and wireless Kidz Gear headphones were given to several kids to test out. On a three hour trip, none of them took the headphones off. At the final destination, they all stated the headphones were more comfortable than the ones that came with the vehicle. The parents of the kids now have to buy new headphones!

When my son was young, I was constantly buying new headsets for him. It wouldn't take long for them to fall apart, get stepped on or for them to become painful to wear over a long trip. The Kidz Gear headsets were tossed around the vehicle as you might expect them to be in normal use. The headsets were stepped on several times and each time they were undamaged. However, they are not listed as unbreakable, so try not to go to rough on them.

The quality of the audio from the headphones was surprising. At the highest volume, there was no distortion in the audio, or rattles from the bass. Everything sounded just as good at the high volume as it did at a low or medium volume.

Each of these items can be purchased separately. The wired headphones can be found online with a price of around $19.99 directly from Kidz Gear or at Amazon.com, while the wireless headphones can be found for $29.99 directly from Kidz Gear or from Amazon.com.

A few things to keep in mind. The IR transmitter is not battery operational; so you will need to use a power converter if you wish to use it in a vehicle (it is not designed for this use). For the headphones themselves, I would like to see some simple padding at the top of the headband. While the kids that wore these did not have any issues, when I wore them for several hours the top of my head was a little sore (but, I am not the target audience anyway).

The bottom line is that the Kidz Gear wired and wireless headphones are a good, budget friendly option for parents looking for headphones for their children, and therefore earn the Bigbruin.com "Good Value" and "Recommended" awards.

Pros:

High quality
Low cost
Works virtually anywhere
Worked with four different systems
Clear audio with good bass

Cons:

IR transmitter not battery operable
No padding on headphone headband
Wireless headphones not rechargeable and no batteries included
Wired cable a little short for use in mini-vans


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