I’m not sure which came first, either more people choosing to listen to their own devices while flying or the now growing trend from airlines like Air Canada Rouge to only offer video and audio through passengers devices. Either way, this is now very much the reality, and it presents a new problem for us, the traveler.
I have tested multiple devices with the standard ear-buds that come with them and with the back ground noise and popping ears at cruising altitude, the quality of the sound just disappears. If you are going to travel and want to relax with a movie or you favorite music for three and a half hours while in flight, you need to invest in some good quality noise cancelling/damping headphones. So the question is, which will be best for you?
It’s easy to read the reviews and compare the different qualities that are out there, but that does not mean they will be good for in flight use. So, we looked at multiple brands and after testing on the ground, we narrowed it down to two units that we thought were very good quality and still at a reasonable price. We wanted to also make sure to test the best in-ear and the best over-ear products while in-flight.
For the in-ear, we choose the “Bower & Wilkins C5 In-Ear Headphones” as our number one product pick. It has several very nice features that will be appealing to many different people. It uses passive technology get rid of that background noise and enhance the sound coming to your ears. We really liked the secure loop that expands to let you loosely wear these is a normal environment or they can be snugly inserted for the noisier environments.
For the over-ear product, we went with the “able planet Linx Fusion” as the number one pick for this category. This unit has a rechargeable battery built in and offers you a truly great listening experience in any environment. It not only blocks out the background noise, but, at the same time, it is enhancing the quality of the to-ear sound through their 4-D technology.
Both of these products are worthwhile purchases and we feel you will be pleased with either choice. But, which one is better for air travel?
For traveling, the compactness of the C5 was great. However, If you are carrying your laptop, tablet and other things in your carry on, then size is not really a factor and we had no problem with the larger Linx Fusion.
But, the point has to go to the C5 since many travelers would only have their tablet and headphones for on the plane.
During the flight both products worked well. The C5 needed to be firmly in the ear as the environment was noisy. The Linx Fusion has a firm tension and snuggly covered your ear, offering you a very nice sound experience. However, while this was fine for music, when it came to videos and if you wear glasses, the added pressure on the rim area did cause some discomfort over time. This is going to be the case for all over-ear products.
When it came to meal time, it was the Linx Fusion that won the point. The C5 being firmly in the ear, caused that very loud internal sound while eating and drinking. Try eating a potato chip while you have your fingers covering your ear and you will understand. We had to loosen them and then the sound quality went away.
Overall, while there were some things that are noted, both products are the best in their class. If you are a convince person that likes to travel light and pauses the entertainment while you eat, then the “Bower & Wilkins C5 In-Ear Headphones” is a clear choice. If you want the best overall sound quality and power assisted noise cancellation then the “able planet Linx Fusion” would be an excellent choice for you.
Either way, they both pass the In-Flight test and both provide “Easy listening at 35,000 feet”