I've never been a fan of earphones. I prefer my personal audio speakers to have a padded cushions that either sit on, or over, my ears. But when I first put on the Atomic Floyd AirJax earphones, I was so impressed by the comfort and audio quality that I was ready to leave my old headphones behind. Then they broke - both my heart, and literally.
Atomic Floyd are pitched at the premium end of the earphone market. Made from Titanium, 24K gold, and custom heat-treated steel, the $349 AirJax +Microphone pair I was sent for review are stunningly designed. The earbuds rest comfortably in the ear, with a metal loop securing them in place. Hooking them on took a little bit of getting used to, but within an hour's use I'd forgotten they were even there.
Sound quality was awesome. And although I have a tendency to throw that word about like a lucky shuriken, it's the only way to describe the way these tiny earphones sounded. Great bass, great mid-range and good on the high frequency stuff too, the Atomic Floyds offered the full gamut of sounds in a small, comfortable package. I did unfortunately discover they were no replacement for noise-cancellers on a plane, but even with the aircraft's background noise, they still sounded great.
The microphone component - a metal disc with a single button - worked a treat when combined with my iPhone's voice control feature, with sound quality on both ends being superb. The cord, rather than running with the boring rubber coating so often found on headphones, was made from fabric designed not to tangle with a rugged feel.
But this rugged feeling was a lie. Last week, when I went toput the headphones on for my morning commute, tragedy occurred. The cable - while still appearing in tact - was hiding a broken wire to the left earbud. The familiar hiss and crackle of a broken wire - something experienced thousands of times with cheap headphones - had now killed the AirJax for me.
And that is how they broke my heart. For I had grown to like them. A lot. And then they failed me...
UPDATE: I've just been informed that the Atomic Floyds have a two year warranty, so the review pair that broke are being collected and another pair being sent out. It may have been an unfortunate coincidence that the pair I was testing was faulty - I guess I'll find out. Apparently Atomic Floyd are also going to look into why the pair I had failed and hopefully I'll get them to tell me...