When it comes to listening to music for any length of time, I either want to listen to a speaker or through a set of over-the-ear headphones. Earbuds are just too uncomfortable for me for extended wear, so I prefer the traditional "cans" that cover my ears with padded luxury. Unfortunately, that usually means forgoing lightweight and wireless earbuds for heavy wired headphones. The 808 Performer BT headphones ($99.99, $93.12 through Amazon affiliate link) were hiding in my office and should have been reviewed quite a while ago, so this is a "better late than never" look at these wired/wireless headphones.
Pretty much every headphone is going to look the same; two over-the-ear padded ear cups connected by a band of some sort. That's the case with the 808 Performer BT headphones, although the design has a couple of features that make it stand out from the rest.
First, 808 has invented a patent-pending Flex Fit design allows the ear cups to float independently of each other for the perfect fit. When you get a good fit with headphones, you get great noise isolation and better sound. The Performer BTs also have the traditional adjustable band to fit just about any head size, even my oversized noggin.
Second, the Perfomer BT headphones can be used with or without a cable. In those situations where you just want to comfortably listen to music, you can yank the cloth-covered cable and listen to tunes over Bluetooth. Need to make phone calls while you're listening? Plug the cable in, and use the microphone and controls.
The headphones make use of a lot of silicone-like rubber on the interior and outside of the band, which is comfortable, but causes some other issues that I'll bring up in the Function section of this review.
Now, about that silicone rubber material. Let's just say that it has one really annoying tendency -- it picks up dust, dirt and cat hair like a magnet. How bad is it? Let's just say that while the Performer BT headphones were sitting in a box awaiting review, they picked up a nice coating of dust... sitting in a box. The OCD person inside me had to grab a wet paper towel and clean them off before I put 'em on my head.
OK, that's out of the way. The headphones took about 3 hours to charge fully, showing a red LED while charging. 808 says that the Performer BTs get about 15 hours of life off a single charge, although I was not able to verify that claim.
There's a single power/pairing button on the right ear cup; a press turned the headphones on, and a long press put the Performer BTs into pairing mode. Pairing was fast and flawless.
As for comfort, the Performer BTs are great for extended wear. They're light, and with a few easy adjustments the headphones feel like they're ... well, not there! When being used wirelessly, the controls for the headphones are a little odd, although they become intuitive. The right ear cup has controls built in -- a quick press at the top of the ear cup raises the volume, and the same "gesture" at the bottom lowers the volume. Press and hold the top, and you're jumped to the next track. Press and hold the bottom, and you get transferred back to the beginning of the track or the previous track on an album.
How about the all-important sound quality? As I mention in every review of sound equipment, everyone hears music differently, so your mileage may vary. I found the sound quality to be acceptably good with a variety of music; not the best I've ever heard, but then again these aren't the most expensive or high-tech headphones I've ever tested. Some older classical recordings sounded remarkably muddy through the Performer BTs; that was probably more an indication of the quality of the original recording than it was the headphones, although I haven't noticed as much of this muted muddiness on the same recordings as I did with these headphones.
The 808 Performer BT headphones have a lot going for them at a rather bargain price. For a MSRP of $99.99, you get a pair of comfortable headphones that can be used in both wireless and wired modes. They're not noise canceling, they don't have any special boosting circuitry built in, they're just a rather average pair of headphones sound-wise. But if you don't want to spend an arm and a leg for comfort and convenience, these may be the headphones for you.