No battery required
New users require new earbuds
External audio is quiet
Microphone wanders in turbulence
Good if you want a very light and unobtrusive headset.
Depending on how geeky you want to get, there are basically two types of headset – those with a traditional band and ear cups, and those with something that’s designed to sit in your ear, and it’s a pair of the latter from Faro that we’ve tested here.
There’s not a huge amount to get excited about when the Faro In-Ear headset is unboxed. You’ll find a thin metal band that situates the microphone on your head, a control box with a stereo and mono switch with volume sliders and an input socket to connect an audio source (music, GPS, etc) to the headset (the wire is supplied) and a small bag of various sized foam ear buds that screw onto the headset.
The Faro sells in the US for about $389 so it sits at the lower end of the in-ear market, but that’s not obvious from the build quality, at least in the time we’ve had them. For first-time use you select the ear bud size that suits your ear and screw them to the headset. They are quite soft, so this almost inevitably squashes them and you’ll have to wait a few minutes for the buds to get back to their original size. While you are waiting you can fit the metal band to your head, making sure that both it, and the loops that fit over your ears, are adjusted properly (this means bending them by hand).
In the aeroplane, using the volume controls on the radio, the audio panel and the headset’s control box, it is easy adjust the level, but plug in the aux audio to something like my iPhone and the music is super quiet, certainly not loud enough to listen to in-flight, if that’s your thing. As the Faro doesn’t auto-mute with ATC transmissions, I guess you could consider that a good thing. The audio quality both receiving and transmitting is good, but as the headset isn’t clamped to your head the microphone does have a tendency to wander around a bit, particularly in turbulence.
I’d sum up by saying that these headsets are good if you really want something light or if you happen to have big hair that you don’t want remodelled by clamping on something more traditional. They’re not great if you want to share them (unless you really want to stick the same bud inside multiple ears) and they’re not suitable if you don’t like the idea of putting something in your ears. Ian Seager