Sennheiser CX 275s earphones (£50)
Music fans after some good quality earphones for the commute will love the CX 275s from Sennheiser. These in-ear efforts plug straight into your smartphone’s audio jack and are a snug fit, with different size replacement buds to ensure they’ll fit any ear. They’re comfortable to wear for lengthy journeys. We used them while walking and never had any issues with them slipping out, while the 1.2m cable is long enough even for lanky users. They also do a good job of blocking out surrounding noise, a massive plus if you’re stuck on a train with noisy commuters and kids.
Sound quality is strong, with enough power to satisfy even the most hardcore metal head. Best of all, if your music is interrupted by a phone call, you don’t have to pull out the earphones or fumble for your phone. A handy button on one of the ear cords picks up the call, and a built-in mic means you can chat away without lifting the phone to your face. The ‘phones are compatible with Samsung, Apple, HTC, Nokia and many other brands of mobile.
Swissvoice ePure CH05 corded handset (£35)
'You will never be tired of the conversation with your beloved. Keep talking to your friends, you have no reason to stop,' so claims the manual for this funky mobile accessory, which plugs into your smartphone’s audio jack and gives you an old school handset to chat with. We love the hollow plastic design and bright colours (pink, orange, blue and green models available), and while the handset does flex when squeezed, we never felt like it would break.
You might be wondering why you’d want a massive handset to use with your mobile, but it really is practical when used around the home. For a start, it’s easy to wedge between shoulder and ear when your hands are busy, and you can also access your phone’s screen for checking texts, emails etc. during a conversation. Anyone worried about radiation killing their brains will also be reassured. Sound quality is perfect, and if you’re rocking an iPhone, you can adjust the volume and bring up Siri. A non-slip mat is also included to rest your mobile on.
Edifier Tick Tock Dock for iPod/iPhone (www.edifier-international.com, £35)
Following on from the retro-style SwissVoice handset, here’s another smartphone accessory that gets us all nostalgic. This iPhone/iPod dock is shaped like an old school alarm clock, complete with fake bells on top. The front piece flips around to reveal the connector, and sliding on your iDevice automatically outputs all audio to the speakers covering the front of the Tick Tock. You can play, pause and skip through your tunes with the rubber pad on top, or simply use the screen as normal. The dock also charges your Apple kit when the two are connected.
In a neat touch, the dock can also be used on its own when your phone isn’t hooked up. The tiny round display – normally hidden behind your mobile when it’s docked – shows the time and day of the week, and can be used to select an FM radio station. There’s a built-in alarm function and you can connect other audio devices via AUX IN to play through the dock’s speakers. The speakers themselves blast your music at a surprisingly loud volume, although audio quality isn’t quite as crisp as we’d hoped.