Page 2 – Physical Look – Hardware
Finally, we get a closer look at the Adesso Xtream H2 itself. Design wise, I would say it actually looks decent. Of course, like I have said before, the colors will not be for everyone, but I personally do not mind the white and the green look. Not many things come in this bright of a green anymore, so the Xtream H2 stands out quite noticeably from the others. As you can see from the picture above, the majority of the outer plastic is white, with the buttons being green. Inside, the top rubber headband part and the sides are also green. A small “L” and “R” are also circled on their respective sides to indicate to users the side belonging to the corresponding ear. Extend the sides to fit for a larger head, and a metal arm is revealed, which hearkens back to the old school days of the Sony Walkman and the headphones of those times. I would describe the Adesso Xtream H2s as very simplistic, but not necessarily minimalist. It gets the job done, but it is by no means an inspiration of design. Rather, as a whole, it reminds me of an economical version of the Bang & Olufsen Form 2i headphones showcased at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year.
On the other hand, the build quality of the Adesso Xtream H2 is nowhere close to Bang & Olufsen. If there is physically anything bugging me the most, it would be the flimsy, plastic construction. As great as a design may be, if the actual build of any product feels cheap, it takes away from any positives a user would say. The headset produces a lot of creaks when folding and gives under very little pressure. This is probably why they included a hard case. The whole thing makes me wonder if they really put much thought into material choice. Of course, the flip side is that plastic keeps the Xtream H2 very lightweight, but the tradeoffs are significant. Speaking of weight, the Xtream H2 weighs approximately 105g. If I were Adesso, the main thing I would improve is the actual build of the headset. At its current price tag, I cannot be expecting too much, but it definitely can be better.
Taking a closer look at the Adesso Xtream H2, the right side is where all the navigational buttons are. The top and bottom buttons, where the positive and negative signs are engraved, control the volume of the audio output. The left and right signs, where the triangular open and close brackets are engraved, allow users to jump to the previous track or to the next track. The center button is the most important button, as it controls a multitude of things. First of all, to turn the Adesso Xtream H2 on, we can hold down this button for six seconds, and the same to turn it back off. It is also used to pair devices, as it puts it into a pairing mode, when held for three seconds. While listening to music, this is your play and pause button. For calling purposes, you can single click it to pick up and hang up calls, you can double click for redialing, and you can press and hold for two seconds for voice dialing. If this is not confusing already, there is also an LED on the right side of the button that flashes for different functions. As well, the LED is used when charging, as it changes color to indicate when the charging is finished. The buttons themselves are quite clacky, and make a very audible clicking noise, which could be distracting for some users. However, the buttons are quite easy to differentiate apart because of the engraved symbols, making it easy to use without having to take off your headset every time. On the bottom of the right ear is also a pinhole for the omnidirectional microphone, as well as a micro USB 2.0 port for charging purposes. As for charging, the internal battery is a Lithium Polymer battery (Li-Po) with a capacity of 370mAh.
On the other side of the buttons are foam pieces used to cushion your ears. As these are on-the-ear style headphones, the Adesso Xtream H2 are not very comfortable to wear. I believe comfortable headsets are those that make you forget you have headphones on in the first place. These are on the polar opposite, as the entire device pushes tightly on your ears. While this may be a characteristic of on-the-ear headphones, I cannot last a very long time before I have to take these off to give my ears a rest from the pressure. The foam covers feel quite cheap on my ears, and while they are a bit bigger than most dollar-store foam earphone covers, these are just as thin. Luckily, they are also extremely easy to remove, so if you want, you could find a more comfortable piece. Underneath these pads are the 30mm drivers, with a frequency response rating of 140Hz to 20000Hz. While we don't base a whole lot of our evaluation off the specifications listed on paper for sound equipment, 140Hz minimum shows a serious lack of substance in the low end of the spectrum. The only benefit to that is it will easily cut off Chad Kroeger's voice, but it is quite useless otherwise.
Moving up the headset, we can see the extending metal arm, which is thin and flimsy. Unfortunately, this arm is not notched either, so it is either fully contracted or fully extended; nothing in between. There is not much resistance in between the two lengths, and so it can be quite frustrating to adjust the headset while it is on your head. The rubber on the top is thin, and does not do a very good job of cushioning your head. Because it is rubber, I found it often created a lot of resistance against my hair, which was equally annoying when doing minor adjustments. As you can probably tell by now, I am not very impressed by the overall comfort of the headphones. I understand these Bluetooth headphones are leaning towards the budget-oriented side, but physical problems leave a lot to be desired. The build is less than satisfactory, and all of these little things really add up to hurt what is otherwise a decent design.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware
3. Subjective Audio Analysis, Usage