It may not be very cool to call them cute, but this headset manages to be both with its stylish design and tiny, lightweight structure.
The SteelSeries Siberia Neckband isn’t exactly new – it’s been around for a few years – only now they’ve updated it with a comfy chair on the Apple device bandwagon. The Siberia Neckband for iDevices features the sound quality of SteelSeries gaming headsets in a portable music-friendly package.
Optimised for iPods, iPhones and iPads, the one metre cable (slightly short for the average pair of headphones) has an attached in-line remote for volume control and one other button that acts as every other function in a veritable act of Morse code.
One press pauses, plays, answers and hangs up calls, double clicking skips song, double click and hold fast forwards, triple click and hold rewinds, and the clicking code continues. It keeps the layout simple, but a back and forward button might’ve been a little simpler.
On the design front, the Neckband is visually pleasing with its black on white colour scheme and neck-resting design. By resting the headband across the back of the neck rather than over the head, the Neckband is made more comfortable than typical headsets while lending itself to a less impeding design.
While other neckband-style headsets coil around the ear and get uncomfortable after long uses, the lightweight Neckband’s thick padded cushions stay on comfortably without that pull on your ears. The added bonus is you can get away with styling your hair or even wearing a hat – it’s a headset that you can accessorise with if you like the urban, headphone look.
They aren’t always comfortable though – walk around with them for a while and gravity will have them slipping down and pushing against the tops of your ears. This is mostly because they don’t fit tight enough to securely fix to your head, which downs the mobility of this pair of ‘phones that should, by design, be more mobile than other, bigger headsets. Worst part is – the loose fit affects sound quality.
The headphones deliver fair quality sound for such small, lightweight speakers, but don’t push any limits. The mid-range and high-range sound is clear (though treble sometimes peaks a little) and bass is consistent even if it isn’t very deep. The sound never gets unbearable, with deep bass being played down at its extremes – you won’t find distortion on these headphones.
This is probably because you can’t push the volume very loud. If you push the headphones up against your ears, you’ll hear the potential of the speakers which deliver some pretty rich but not extraordinary sound. What you get from normal use is a watered-down version of this thanks to the loose fit and big, cushy cups that allow sound to seep in and out.
The fibrous cushions doing nothing for noise cancellation, which means you’ll often be sharing your music with the person next to you. This doesn’t help the low maximum volume either.
It’s a shame that these headphones aren’t the best for music on the go since they seem to be suited for that exact purpose, especially with added functions for iPhone call control and a flexible, retractable microphone.
They’re small and cute when you’re holding them and edgy when you’re wearing them, but a few slip ups on getting the right fit push the potential down a notch. If you’re willing to sacrifice some sound for design, they’re still a worthwhile pair.
The SteelSeries Siberia Neckband for iDevices will set you back 79.99 Euros from the SteelSeries online shop.