In my dwelling, headphones for my youngsters are usually a hand-me-down affair. Once I’ve upgraded to one thing newer or higher, I go down my outdated cans to my youngsters to make use of with their tablets or Chromebooks. However that is lower than superb for a wide range of causes: the older headphones is likely to be missing options like Bluetooth or noise cancellation; what matches my outsized head seemingly received’t sit comfortably on their kid-sized domes; and normal headphones don’t have a strategy to restrict their most quantity, which might result in listening to loss in kids.
That’s the place the BuddyPhones Cosmos Plus are available in. The $99.99 Cosmos Plus verify off each characteristic you may want in a pair of youngsters’ headphones. Bluetooth? Yup. Noise cancellation? You bought it. Quantity limiting? Three totally different ranges, as a matter of reality. Child-friendly aesthetics and dimension? Sure and sure. They arrive in six totally different colours with cartoon graphics on the ear cups and have a color-matched arduous case, USB-C charging cable, 3.5mm cable, and growth mic all within the field. Although some mother and father could balk at spending $100 on headphones for his or her youngsters, you’ll be able to’t deny that there’s a variety of worth packed within the Cosmos Plus.
The Cosmos Plus have a colourful, all-plastic design, with a padded headband and plush ear cups. Their 227-gram weight makes it simple for smaller heads to put on them with out getting drained, and so they have a variety of dimension adjustment, from sufficiently small to suit on a five-year-old’s head to sufficiently big to stretch over my larger-than-average adult-sized skull. Although these received’t evaluate to higher-end wi-fi headphones when it comes to supplies and construct high quality, they’re sturdy and versatile and don’t really feel like they’ll break instantly. The included arduous case helps guarantee they received’t break when tossed in a bag or not getting used.
The surface of the ear cups have cartoon graphics — a fairy princess and rainbow unicorn on the fashions I examined, with a lion, cartoon DJ, scientist, and pirate on the opposite shade choices — and you may get them in pink, white, yellow, grey, blue, or darkish blue relying in your youngster’s desire. There’s no mistaking the truth that these had been designed with youngsters in thoughts.
I used to be capable of take a look at the Cosmos Plus for just a few weeks with my very own six-year-old and nine-year-old. We used them at dwelling throughout their allotted screentime and through two lengthy highway journeys. For essentially the most half, my youngsters appreciated the headphones — there have been no complaints of discomfort or lack of ability to listen to their movies or video games, and so they each appreciated the cartoon designs on the ear cups. My partner and I appreciated the silence within the automobile as we crossed lots of of miles with none bickering or arguing between them.
As for the audio specs, the Cosmos Plus have 40mm neodymium drivers, much like many different over-ear Bluetooth headphones. The sound high quality isn’t going to remotely compete with the most effective from Apple or Sony — there may be bass, however it’s not particularly pronounced, and devices can get misplaced within the combine simply — however it’s common for this worth level and simply nice for the music or content material youngsters would possibly use them with.
Extra importantly, the Cosmos Plus have three ranges of quantity limiting: 75dbA, 85dbA, and 94dbA. The default mode is the 85dbA setting, which BuddyPhones identifies because the “youngsters mode.” The bottom setting is supposed for the extra-sensitive ears of toddlers (BuddyPhones recommends the Cosmos Plus for ages three and up), whereas the very best setting is dubbed “journey mode” and is designed to beat the noise of an airplane engine. Sounds above 85dbA are thought-about dangerous and needs to be restricted as a lot as doable, in line with listening to specialists.
All three ranges of quantity limiting can be found when the headphones are utilized in Bluetooth mode, whereas the wired mode is ready to the 85dbA restrict. Altering the mode requires holding quantity up and quantity down buttons collectively for 2 seconds, which is able to cycle the headphones by way of the varied modes. It’s comparatively easy for fogeys to vary however not apparent for youths to do on their very own. Although I don’t have the gear to validate BuddyPhones’ particular decibel claims for every stage, there’s a noticeable distinction with how loud every setting permits the headphones to be and the center setting is definitely decrease than the max quantity my very own headphones attain.
Additional aiding the quantity limiting characteristic is the Cosmos Plus energetic noise cancellation, which can be utilized in both wired or wi-fi modes. A button on the left ear cup turns the ANC on or off, with a inexperienced mild indicating it’s on. The noise cancellation received’t silence the world in the best way the most effective noise canceling headphones in the marketplace can, however it’s efficient sufficient to assist scale back low frequency seems like a relentless fan, highway noise, or the drone of an airplane cabin. Having noise cancellation is mostly beneficial for youths, because it permits them to listen to their music or video simpler with out having to show up the quantity extra.
The Cosmos Plus even have a “Research Mode,” which is activated by a change on the left ear cup. The corporate says this boosts the midrange and “lowers down a part of the audio spectrum which isn’t on the voice human spectrum and may affect audibility of a voice.” It’s additionally designed to make it simpler to listen to voices when on video calls. The Cosmos Plus have microphones on the ear cup and the removable growth mic that can be utilized as an alternative. However neither are significantly nice — I examined the Cosmos Plus on a day of Zoom requires work and had combined outcomes. My colleagues stated the growth mic brought on my voice to clip, producing a crackling sound, whereas the ear cup mic had a noticeable echo.
Lastly, the Cosmos Plus have the power to share their audio with one other set of wired headphones, just by plugging them into the three.5mm headphone jack on the left ear cup. This can be a handy characteristic when two youngsters are watching the identical film on a single gadget.
However regardless of the lengthy listing of options, there may be room for enchancment, significantly in how the Cosmos Plus are powered on and off. As a substitute of a change to go from off to on to pairing mode, the Cosmos Plus depend on long-pressing a single button positioned between the quantity buttons. A one-second press will flip the headphones on and flash a blue mild; do the identical when they’re on and the sunshine will flash pink and switch the headphones off. However for those who maintain that button down for a second or two too lengthy and miss the primary mild flash, the Cosmos Plus will go into their pairing mode and it’s a must to launch the button and maintain it down once more for 5 seconds earlier than they absolutely shut off and you can begin over.
This made it troublesome for the children to show the headphones on and off themselves — practically each time they needed to make use of them my partner or I must deal with turning them on and ensuring they linked to their tablets appropriately. In the event that they didn’t flip the headphones off correctly once they had been finished, they risked working the battery down unnecessarily within the case. Although I admire the button controls over the contact swiping that a variety of trendy Bluetooth headphones use, the facility button ought to actually be a change as an alternative.
Moreover, whereas it’s good to have the noise cancellation separate from the Bluetooth controls, permitting it to work each wired and wirelessly, it additionally meant that generally the children would bear in mind to show it on and generally they wouldn’t. They’d additionally overlook to show off the ANC once they put the headphones away, because the button is separate from the facility button.
As for battery life, BuddyPhones claims as much as 24 hours between prices. I don’t suppose they lasted fairly that lengthy in our testing, however they do final lengthy sufficient that we solely must cost them as soon as per week or so at dwelling. Additionally they lasted by way of an 11-hour automobile trip with loads of juice to spare, although they weren’t getting used your complete time. Charging is finished by way of the USB-C port and takes a few hours to high them up.
In all, there’s little to complain about with the Cosmos Plus. They’ve a large set of options, together with the vital issues like quantity limiting and noise cancellation; are available in a bunch of colours youngsters like; and have all the required equipment within the field. Although the facility button state of affairs can definitely be improved and the microphones aren’t pretty much as good as costlier headphones, the Cosmos Plus are a really perfect journey headphone for youths and positively higher than my outdated hand-me-downs.
Images by Dan Seifert / The Verge