If you’re like me, you don’t accept compromise — even if you can’t afford to go to the top of the mountain where the “higher priced spread” lives. Take headphones for example. I want a pair that fits easily over my ears, not in them, so I can hear what’s going on around me when needed. I don’t want wires either — it’s got to be wireless and connect with as little effort as possible. And run a long time before needing another drink of juice. Oh, and it has to be lightweight so I can wear them for a long time without feeling like my ear’s just part of Mr. Potato head who’s going to pop them off for a new pair. And as for spending big bucks for the headphones — no way!
I never heard of Accessory Power or their GOgroove SolaceAIR wireless Bluetooth stereo headset, but once I tried them on, I was hooked. Follow me on a quick tour once we glom over the design.
These are over the ear — think padded “cups” that fit against your ears sort of like a Tupperware lid. The headband holding the left and right cup is a thin plastic-covered flexible wire like affair. And each cup free hangs, which means it can tilt and swing to fit however feels most comfortable. Weight? 3 ounces. A baseball cap is more noticeable.
So one cup is smooth and ignorable — all the stuff needed is on the other. As in a rocker switch for volume control and a Power button that does triple duty. Press and hold it in to engage the Bluetooth technology — let go after enough time has passed so that a blue LED is blinking widely. Hold the button in again for about five seconds of time and the LED goes red and the unit turns off. And once the GOgroove SolaceAIR has been paired with a device, you’ll press it in for about five seconds to start the blue LED blinking every few seconds to pair it again.
But should you get an incoming call from the device that’s paired to the GOgroove SolaceAir, a single press of the Power button connects you with the caller. Which is why there’s a built-in mike. When done, press the button again to hang up. Should you be listening to music, the Power button will function like a Pause/Play button instead.
Now if you’ve ever wondered why the heck Bluetooth gets praise, it’s because of two things. The first is that the distance between the devices that are pairing together is short — 30 feet on average. So that limits the data being transferred from “leaking” elsewhere. The second reason is that it’s simplicity to pair the devices. Here we go, using my iPad. I select “Bluetooth” from the Settings menu and start it searching for a buddy. I press the Power button on the GOgroove SolaceAIR till the blue LED starts up. Then I wait for the headphones to appear on the Bluetooth menu of the iPad and turn into “Connect.” I also get a corresponding agreement beep from the headset….. That’s it. All done. End of story.
As to the battery, it gets its charge from a USB socket near the controls — just plug it into any USB port or USB power supply and let it soak up about 2 hours to start. Then you’ll have up to 15 hours to work with — in my use, the battery never delivered less than 12 hours at a clip. In other words, you don’t have to charge it that much.
You probably noticed that I’ve yet to talk about how it sounds — it sounds fine. The stereo separation works as it should and there’s some enhanced bass tech working to give the ear-cups a bit more “oomph” than you’d expect. Sure they can’t beat a $400 pair of headphones, but compared to the earbuds most are using that came with their smartphone, these are golden.
Bottom line: If the whole purpose of headphones is to provide audio to your ears without ticking your ears off or making you have to work for it, then the GOgroove SolaceAIR is pretty sweet. And since you can buy it for about $29, you probably have more than that in your Starbucks coffee piggy bank already.
- Adjustable headband
- Long battery life
- USB cable included
- USB rubber cover easily breaks off
Marshal Rosenthal is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and journalist specializing in technology, consumer electronics and pop culture.