August 26 2011
I was curious to spy the rare “Designed in New Zealand” notice on these earphones. New Zealand is a quiet place, so it’s fitting that the Blackbox i10, made for iPod, is a noise-cancelling model, but one worn in-ear, hence way more compact than over-ear ones.
The i10’s designer, Phitek, has been in in-flight noise-cancelling for a while, and it’s on flights that you will most appreciate the i10. The reason is not so much that the device works really well, but that it isn’t suitable for iPhones or iPads unless they are in flight-safe mode. But use i10s with an iPod or flight-mode iPhone/Pad and it’s bliss itself – fine sound and effective noise blanking. Most noise cancellers measure and null the noise around you, but the i10 samples and kills noise it detects inside your ear – ie, the stuff that gets through the well-sealed buds. Another flight delight: the i10 has a voice-over button to mute your music when they ask if you’d like the beef or chicken.
One caveat: I can’t work out whether it’s because my hearing is declining, but I found the i10s about 10 per cent quieter at maximum volume than my ideal. But I also have to record that no other reviewer has complained of this.