Phiaton’s active lifestyle headphones do noise canceling on a budget


Public transit during rush hour, a busy Starbucks, or a loud workplace — they all have one thing in common: They generate a lot of noise. It’s the kind of noise that most of us would prefer not to listen to, but we rarely get the choice. Active noise-canceling (ANC) headphones are a good solution, but they tend to be pricey. When they’re not in the hundreds of dollars, they can still be bulky affairs, often with over-the-ear designs. And as for finding a pair that can take some abuse (like splash resistance)? Good luck, my friend.

So it’s great to see that Phiaton, an audio brand known for its careful balance of price and performance, has just launched its new $79 Curve BT 120 NC earbuds. These around-the-neck earphones may not be fully wireless, but given that they are aimed at an active lifestyle, that might not be such a bad thing. With an IPX4 rating, they’re fully sweat-proof and can probably stand up to a rainy day without suffering any damage.

The Memory Flex neckband contains the battery, which is good for 8.5 hours of music listening. You can get a full charge in two hours, but if you’re already late for your morning run, a fast-charging feature will score you an hour’s worth of music in only five minutes. It also packs the Curve’s vibration motor, which can do double duty as a call indicator and a warning if you leave your phone behind.


But the key feature for most potential buyers will be the active noise cancellation. Phiaton says the Curve can cancel 95 percent of low-frequency noise (under 1kHz), which is a bold claim. Most noise-canceling manufacturers like Bose and Sony, refuse to offer a specific number because environments can vary. Still, the company’s previous efforts, like the BT 150 NC, have done an excellent job of canceling noise, so this spec might not be too far from the truth.

It’s too soon to make any observations on the Curve’s sound quality, but if Phiaton’s previous headphones are any indication, we expect they will sound much better than other earbuds at this price, and possibly better than more expensive ones, too. We’ve been reviewing Phiaton’s audio products for the better part of a decade now, and with almost no exceptions, they usually turn in a solid performance.

The Curve BT 120 NC comes in black, with a white option coming in January.


Bose introduces QuietComfort Road Noise Control tech for cars at CES 2019

If you find road noise annoying and tiresome at highway speeds, Bose introduced QuietComfort Road Noise Control (RNC) active sound managment technology at CES 2019 to help quiet your world when you travel in cars, trucks, and SUVs.
Buying Guides

Block the outside world, tune into your own with the best in-ear headphones

Over-the-ear headphones offer top-flight sound, but they're not so easy to take along with you. If you're looking to upgrade your portable sound, check out our favorite in-ear headphones -- there's a model for every user and every budget.
Home Theater

Wireless headphones are finally awesome, and these are our favorites

With sleek form factors, prime audio quality, and the freedom of untethered listening, there has never been a better time to pick up a pair of wireless headphones. These are the best ones currently available.
Home Theater

These loaded cans bundle a wireless stand that even charges your phone

We thought we'd seen just about every kind of wireless headphone feature under the sun, but HiVi's new AW-85 active noise-canceling headphones come with a cool new trick: A wireless charging stand for the headphones and your phone.

Apple may be developing a new iPod Touch to woo younger users

Apple may be developing its first new iPod touch model since 2015 as it aims to capture younger users who are not yet ready for their own smartphone, and expand its overall listening base in the future.
Home Theater

Cord-cutting has grown by 48 percent in 8 years, according to Nielsen

People are continuing to ditch cable but not all cord-cutters are the same. In fact, there are two distinct groups within the cord-cutting universe, with a very small, yet growing third group that's worth paying attention to.
Home Theater

Spotify adds simplified Car View mode for Android users

What was once just a test is now a reality: Spotify is rolling out a new, simplified in-car user interface for all Android users called Car View, which automatically engages when the app detects a car Bluetooth connection.
Home Theater

All of the TVs getting Apple’s AirPlay 2 in 2019

This year, Apple made it clear it was done keeping its AirPlay wireless streaming technology to itself. With an open API, the way is clear for a plethora of third-party devices, including this growing list of TVs.
Home Theater

New TV? Here's where to go to watch the best 4K content available

Searching for content for your new 4K UHD TV? Look no further. We have every major source of the best 4K content, along with the cost, hardware requirements, and features that make each service worth a look.
Home Theater

Cutting the cord? Let us help you find the best service for live TV streaming

There's a long list of live TV streaming services available to help you cut the cord and replace your traditional TV subscription. Each is different in important ways, and this guide will help you find the best one for you.
Movies & TV

New trailer for 'The Punisher' season 2 teases a bloody showdown

The Punisher is getting a second season on Netflix, with Jon Bernthal returning to play Marvel Comics' gun-toting antihero Frank Castle. Here's everything we know about season 2 of The Punisher so far.
Home Theater

Set your ears free with the best completely wireless earbuds

If you can't stand the tangle of cords, or you're just excited about completely wireless earbuds, you're going to need some help separating the wheat from the chaff. Our list serves up the best true wireless earbuds around.
Home Theater

How much are the initials ‘LV’ worth? $700 if you put them on your earphones

If you're looking for truly wireless earbuds that make as much of a statement about the state of your finances as they do about your high-tech street cred, Louis Vuitton's Horizon earbuds fit the $995 bill.
Home Theater

What’s new on Amazon Prime Video (February 2019)

Amazon Prime Video adds new titles each month that are available for free to all Prime members. Check out our list to find all the content hitting Amazon Prime Video in January and February, from new original series to classic films.