In my residence, headphones for my kids are usually a hand-me-down affair. Once I’ve upgraded to one thing newer or higher, I move down my previous cans to my kids to make use of with their tablets or Chromebooks. However that is lower than ideally suited 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 gained’t sit comfortably on their kid-sized domes; and normal headphones don’t have a option to restrict their most quantity, which might result in listening to loss in youngsters.
That’s the place the BuddyPhones Cosmos Plus are available in. The $99.99 Cosmos Plus examine off each characteristic you may want in a pair of kids’ headphones. Bluetooth? Yup. Noise cancellation? You bought it. Quantity limiting? Three totally different ranges, as a matter of reality. Child-friendly aesthetics and measurement? Sure and sure. They arrive in six totally different colours with cartoon graphics on the ear cups and have a color-matched laborious case, USB-C charging cable, 3.5mm cable, and increase mic all within the field. Although some mother and father might balk at spending $100 on headphones for their kids, you’ll be able to’t deny that there’s numerous 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, they usually have a variety of measurement 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 gained’t evaluate to higher-end wi-fi headphones by way of supplies and construct high quality, they are sturdy and versatile and don’t really feel like they’ll break instantly. The included laborious case helps guarantee they gained’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 coloration choices — and you will get them in pink, white, yellow, grey, blue, or darkish blue relying in your baby’s choice. There’s no mistaking the truth that these had been designed with kids in thoughts.
I used to be capable of take a look at the Cosmos Plus for a couple of weeks with my very own six-year-old and nine-year-old. We used them at residence throughout their allotted screentime and through two lengthy street journeys. For probably the most half, my kids preferred the headphones — there have been no complaints of discomfort or incapacity to listen to their movies or video games, they usually each preferred the cartoon designs on the ear cups. My partner and I appreciated the silence within the automobile as we crossed a whole bunch 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 perfect 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 superb for the music or content material kids 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 “kids 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 “travel mode” and is designed to beat the noise of an airplane engine. Sounds above 85dbA are considered harmful and should be limited as much as possible, based on listening to specialists.
All three ranges of quantity limiting are accessible 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 two seconds, which is able to cycle the headphones by way of the varied modes. It’s comparatively easy for mother and father to alter however not apparent for kids to do on their very own. Although I don’t have the gear to validate BuddyPhones’ particular decibel claims for every degree, 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 amount limiting characteristic is the Cosmos Plus lively 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 gentle indicating it’s on. The noise cancellation gained’t silence the world in the best way the perfect noise canceling headphones in the marketplace can, however it’s efficient sufficient to assist cut back low frequency seems like a relentless fan, street noise, or the drone of an airplane cabin. Having noise cancellation is generally recommended for kids, because it permits them to listen to their music or video simpler with out having to show up the amount extra.
The Cosmos Plus even have a “Research Mode,” which is activated by a swap 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 might influence 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 increase mic that can be utilized as an alternative. However neither are significantly nice — I examined the Cosmos Plus on a day of Zoom calls for work and had combined outcomes. My colleagues mentioned the increase mic induced my voice to clip, producing a crackling sound, whereas the ear cup mic had a noticeable echo.
Lastly, the Cosmos Plus have the flexibility 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 kids are watching the identical film on a single machine.
However regardless of the lengthy record of options, there may be room for enchancment, significantly in how the Cosmos Plus are powered on and off. As an alternative of a swap to go from off to on to pairing mode, the Cosmos Plus depend on long-pressing a single button positioned between the amount buttons. A one-second press will flip the headphones on and flash a blue gentle; do the identical after they are on and the sunshine will flash crimson and switch the headphones off. However in case you maintain that button down for a second or two too lengthy and miss the primary gentle flash, the Cosmos Plus will go into their pairing mode and you need to launch the button and maintain it down once more for 5 seconds earlier than they totally shut off and you can begin over.
This made it tough for the kids to show the headphones on and off themselves — practically each time they wished to make use of them my partner or I must deal with turning them on and ensuring they related to their tablets appropriately. In the event that they didn’t flip the headphones off correctly after they had been achieved, they risked working the battery down unnecessarily within the case. Although I recognize the button controls over the contact swiping that numerous trendy Bluetooth headphones use, the ability button ought to actually be a swap 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 typically the kids would keep in mind to show it on and typically they wouldn’t. They might additionally overlook to show off the ANC after they put the headphones away, for the reason that button is separate from the ability button.
As for battery life, BuddyPhones claims as much as 24 hours between expenses. I don’t suppose they lasted fairly that lengthy in our testing, however they do final lengthy sufficient that we solely need to cost them as soon as per week or so at residence. In addition they lasted by way of an 11-hour automobile experience with loads of juice to spare, although they weren’t getting used your entire 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 necessary issues like quantity limiting and noise cancellation; are available in a bunch of colours kids like; and have all the required equipment within the field. Although the ability button scenario can definitely be improved and the microphones aren’t pretty much as good as dearer headphones, the Cosmos Plus are a really perfect travel headphone for kids and positively higher than my previous hand-me-downs.
Images by Dan Seifert / The Verge