Review on Onanoff BuddyPhones Play+
- Award Winning Safe Audio for Kids: BuddyPhones are kids’ headphones with the most awards for innovative design and features. All BuddyPhones have a KidsMode setting, where built-in volume-limiting circuitry protects kids’ hearing at the WHO-recommended level of 85dB. Engineered with certified safe materials that are hypoallergenic, super durable, and custom-made for kids to be comfortable to wear.
|Price history for All New, Made for Amazon Volume Limiting Bluetooth BuddyPhones, PlayTime in Purple. Ages (3-7)|
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The Review on Onanoff BuddyPhones Play+
Pros Rich, clear, natural audio Three volume limiter modes Study mode targets the range of human voices Cons Plastic construction feels cheap
Buttons are difficult to operate The volume gets louder than some parents like
Onanoff specializes in kid-friendly headphones, and at $49.99, the Onanoff BuddyPhones Play+ are significantly cheaper than the company’s $99.99 BuddyPhones Cosmos. You’d think we’d tell you to jump for the more expensive pair, but the BuddyPhones Play+ achieve the same fundamental goals – they don’t make dangerously loud and they have a study mode that focuses on the human voice – without the less necessary noise cancellation. by the Cosmos. The audio performance here is rich and clear, and the lightweight on-ear design is less enveloping than the Cosmos, so we’re saying save the $50. That said, if you’re willing to pay a little more, the Puro Sound Labs JuniorJams deliver. at $69.99 overall, they offer even better performance and earn our Editors’ Choice award for kids’ headphones. A comfortable, adaptable design
The BuddyPhones Play+ headphones have a supra-aural (on-ear) design and feel exceptionally light. The ear pads aren’t as plush as on the Cosmos, but the cushioning is enough to feel comfortable. Like most kids’ headphones we’ve tested in this price range, the design here has a cheap plastic feel, while the Cosmos is much more like adult headphones.
Instead of the printed images of the Cosmos, the BuddyPhones Play+ come with stickers (cartoon-like designs of pirate, mermaid, shark and octopus) that your child can choose to apply or not. Without them it is a uniform plastic design in blue, light blue, gray, pink, yellow or white. Internally, 40mm dynamic neodymium drivers deliver the audio.
The side panel of the left earcups contains a study mode switch. When enabled, it focuses the audio on the human vocal range, ringing back other sounds beyond, ostensibly for more focused listening during study time or online classes. A very short USB-C to USB-A charging cable plugs into the USB-C port on the left ear.
The right earcup contains the rest of the controls, including a play/pause button which also handles power, Bluetooth pairing and call management. The plus/minus buttons control both volume and track navigation – we are never a fan of combining these two functions in the same way buttons, because it’s easy to accidentally skip a track when you want to adjust the volume. The buttons are also quite stiff and can be difficult to squeeze. The included audio cable for passive, wired listening plugs into the side panel of the right earcup. Also included is a small drawstring bag that can fold the headphones to fit inside. onanoff buddyphones play+ lifestyle
Like the Cosmos, the BuddyPhones Play+ has three volume modes: Toddler (75db max volume), Kids (85db max) and Travel (94db max). We found the mid and high volume modes too loud for kids on the Cosmos, but here they are closer to what we expect them to be. We recommend skipping the loudest mode (Travel), while the other two modes display levels that seem relatively normal for children’s headphones.
That said, switching modes is tricky. You have to press the plus and minus buttons at the same time, but good luck with it. Usually I pressed a button a split second before the other, and so it just adjusted the volume up or down. The good news is that your child will also struggle to get out of the chosen mode, so maybe this isn’t a design flaw.
Onanoff estimates battery life at around 20 hours, about average for kids’ headphones, but your results will vary depending on your volume levels. BuddyPhones Play+ Audio Performance
Some of our test volume tracks had audio artifacts added to the mix when the BuddyPhones Play+ was in the lowest volume mode (Toddler). We therefore recommend listening in the medium volume setting (Kids), which comes out at 85dB. The tests we describe below are in Kids mode. Onanoff BuddyPhones Play+
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 headphones deliver a solid reproduction of the deep lows on this track without distorting or overpowering the mix. The bass depth is balanced with clear highs.
See how we test headphonesSee how we test headphones
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 on this track sound natural, heavy and have a nice thump, while Callahan’s baritone vocals have a realistic low-mid richness. The high-mids and treble add contour and clarity to vocals, helping the higher-register acoustic strums and percussive hits remain clear and refined. In all the kid’s headphones we’ve tested, this is the sound signature (at least in kid mode), which comes closest to what audiophiles and purists are looking for: a flat response with no bass depth.
On Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “No Church in the Wild,” the kick drum loop takes on a lot of high-mid presence, allowing the attack to retain its punchiness, while the sub-bass synth hits that accentuate the beat produce a robust, powerful sound without ever overpower the mix.
Movie audio and dialogue come across crisp and clear, with nice bass depth for special effects.
The built-in microphone offers below-average intelligibility. The Voice Memos app on an iPhone allowed us to understand every word we recorded, but the audio was blurry with Bluetooth distortion. This isn’t a deal breaker unless your kid needs super-clear microphone clarity headphones for school work. Headphones for audiophiles in the making
For $50, the BuddyPhones Play+ gets most things right. Volume is limited to reasonable levels and audio performance is balanced, with rich bass depth combined with crisp, clear highs. If the build feels cheap and the buttons are difficult to operate, it seems somewhat forgivable given the sound quality and price. That said, our favorite pair of headphones in this price range, the $70 Puro Sound Labs JuniorJams, offer equally rich, natural bass presence in a more comfortable design. And since there are no volume modes to switch between, you don’t have to worry about your child listening to anything too loud.
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