Review on Onanoff BuddyPhones Cosmos
- Next Generation: PopTime is a safe, wireless audio option for the next generation of bold pop culture creators. Specifically designed for young listeners, the PopTime headset offers two safe listening modes in a cool and creative product.
|Price history for All New, Made for Amazon, Volume Limiting Bluetooth BuddyPhones, PopTime in Blue. Ages (8-15)|
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The Review on Onanoff BuddyPhones Cosmos
Advantages Bass-forward sound signature Good noise cancellation for the price Unique design Cons Can get too loud for children Noise cancellation dramatically affects sound signature Pricey
Many of the kid-friendly headphones we test have a look similar to adult headphones for kids who want to feel grown up. The Onanoff BuddyPhones Cosmos take a different approach, with whimsical designs themed around dragons and unicorns. The headphones are undoubtedly cute, although this is somewhat at odds with the surprisingly mature inclusion of ANC (Active Noise Canceling). While the headphones deliver solid ANC performance for the price, you’ll pay a premium for them at $99.99. And while the audio performance is bass-forward and dynamic, it sounds very different with ANC on. Unless your child absolutely needs headphones with ANC, we recommend that you save some money by choosing up the $69.99 Pure Sound Labs JuniorJams, our Editors’ Choice winner. A playful, unique look
The BuddyPhones Cosmos is available in a bluish dragon theme or a pink unicorn theme. While the styling will appeal to or repel your child, the actual fabrication and quality of the design is strong – the dragon and unicorn graphics on the earcups aren’t punched with a cheap sticker, but printed onto the panels in crisp, vibrant colors.
The ear cups are large and soft, with anti-allergic leather-like covers, as is the headband, and the detail work, such as raised lettering on the top of the headband, is a few steps ahead of the competition. These may be more expensive than other models, but you can feel that higher quality materials have been used. The circumaural (over-ear) auricles feature memory foam padding and internal 40mm drivers. The fit is exceptionally comfortable.
The side panel of the left earcup contains the ANC on/off switch, while the side panel of the right ear contains the play/pause function button (which also serves as power/pairing) button, as well as the call management control). There are track forward/backward buttons that double as volume controls depending on how long you hold them down; we are never a fan of combining these two functions at the same time button, because it’s way too easy to accidentally skip a track when you want to adjust the volume. Press play/pause and track forward buttons at the same time the hidden trick to adjust the three volume limit modes (Toddler is 75dB, Kids is 85dB and Travel is 94dB). onanoff buddyphones cosmos on piano
like most kid-friendly models we’ve tested lately, the BuddyPhones Cosmos can be daisy-chained so more than one person can listen to the same audio. A cable is included; it plugs into the side panel of the right earcup and can also be used for wired, passive listening. A USB-A to Micro USB cable is also included; it plugs into the side panel of the right earcups. Finally, the headphones come with a sturdy hard shell zippered case, an accessory that most competing models don’t have.
Onanoff estimates battery life at around 18 hours, but your results will depend on your volume levels. This is on the lower end of the wireless headphone battery life scale, but the included ANC is certainly one of the reasons why. BuddyPhones Cosmos noise cancellation and audio performance
The BuddyPhones Cosmos offers decent noise cancellation. The ear pads themselves do a good job at dampening ambient noise, but the ANC circuit also dials back a fair amount of low-end rumble, like you’d hear on an airplane. The circuit also blocks out a significant portion of the midrange, but on a recording of a noisy restaurant, a lot of the high frequencies still came through. The ANC also emits a faint high-frequency hiss – this is common with cheaper ANC headphones, and for $100 it’s not bad.
That said, the noise cancellation here has a drastic impact on the sound signature. This is also common with cheap ANC, but it’s one of the most notable examples we’ve heard. With ANC on, the highs are crisp, clear and sculpted, while the lows are rolled back. When ANC is turned off, the treble is less clear and the bass is chosen up. What is going on? The ANC seems to be lifting the lows in the music itself – a good… feature for airplane rumble, but not for music coming from the headphones. It is enough that your child may not want to use the ANC in certain scenarios where the bass will suffer. Onanoff Buddy Phones Cosmos
We tested the audio performance with the ANC turned off, considering how much it affects performance. At the maximum volume of an iPhone with the headphones set to Travel mode (94dB, the loudest), they were uncomfortably loud. I highly recommend switching to toddler mode (75dB), which is by far the most effective volume limit mode. The middle mode (Kids) should be 85dB, but it is significantly louder than the Puro Sound Labs JuniorJams. So not only was ANC turned off for the audio tests, but we also used the Toddler setting.
See how we test headphonesSee how we test headphones
The following tracks may not be in your kid’s playlist, but they’re part of our regular test suite and give a clear idea of what the drivers are capable of. On tracks with intense sub-bass content, such as The Knife’s “Silent Shout”, the BuddyPhones Cosmos delivers a palpable bass thump and does not distort at maximum volumes. At more modest levels, the bass depth is still rich and robust.
Bill Callahan’s “Drover”, a track with much less bass in the mix, gives us a better idea of the overall sound signature. The drums take on a powerful, heavy presence without sounding overly pushed, and Callahan’s vocals sound rich, graced with enough high-mid presence to give them some treble. However, this is a bass-forward sound signature with the ANC turned off – less crisp and clear, richer. When the ANC is on, the sound signature becomes crisp, clear and slightly devoid of bass.
On Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “No Church in the Wild”, the kick drum loop takes on less high-mid presence than we normally hear, while the high frequencies seem to be modeled so that the attack of the drum loop is muffled (high-mid range), but the creaks and hiss of vinyl are slightly more audible (high mids and highs). The drum loop gets some extra bass thump, the sub-bass synth hits that punctuate the beat are delivered with respectable power, and the vocals get a clean delivery despite the high-mid feel being rolled back. Turn on the ANC, and the bass more or less disappears and the mix sounds brighter and clearer.
Movie audio and dialogue sound clear and dynamic in both modes, and since movie bass effects are often chosen up, turning on the ANC for movies might not be a problem – there will still be plenty of bass depth and dialogue will be sharper. For kids who need noise reduction
The Onanoff BuddyPhones Cosmos offers something most other kid-friendly headphones don’t: active noise cancellation. That said, the ANC has a definite effect on audio performance, and the volume limits set by each mode are questionable. The lowest mode is indeed quite low, while the other two seem louder than they should be. I almost want to give different ratings for the different modes. Ultimately, our top pick goes to the $70 Puro Sound Labs JuniorJams, a pair that has less features, but that has a single volume-limiting mode and better sound quality. However, if your child needs noise cancellation, the BuddyPhones Cosmos will get the job done.
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