Audio

Listen and charge at the same time

The Pioneer Rayz Plus earphones includes a separate charging port on its cable, so users can listen to music and charge their phones simultaneously.
The Pioneer Rayz Plus earphones includes a separate charging port on its cable, so users can listen to music and charge their phones simultaneously.

Users of the latest Apple iPhones, which ditch the headphone jack for a sole lightning port, know the frustration of not being able to listen to music on wired earphones and charge their phones at the same time.

A workaround is to buy a pricey dongle that acts as a splitter with two ports - one for charging and the other to connect a pair of lightning-compatible headphones.

Pioneer's Rayz Plus earphones alleviate that inconvenience by having a separate charging port on its cable - so users can do both.

But the Rayz Plus' features do not stop there - Pioneer packed it with noise-cancellation, music bypass and an app that lets you personalise its button functions.

The result is a nifty, feature-packed pair of earphones that sound pretty good, but the pretty hefty price of $209 might give consumers some pause.

These earphones are compatible with only iPhones and other Apple devices which sport a lightning port. This constrains their versatility if you have other music devices and the product makes sense only if you own many Apple products.

  • SPECS

    PRICE: $209

    DRIVER DIAMETER: 9.2mm

    FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 10Hz to 20kHz

    WEIGHT: 5g (without cable)

  • RATING

    FEATURES: 5/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

They offer a consumer-friendly sound, with emphasis on bass and slightly elevated highs.

But the pronounced warmth and harsh highs make some songs sound less clear than they should, giving an overall impression of them being muffled and veiled.

The earphones do a good job charging devices even when they are being used to listen to music. I hear no audible hiss or distortion doing both at the same time, although charging times are slightly longer by a few minutes.

The noise-cancelling feature is surprisingly decent for a pair of earphones, adding a good layer of active isolation that is able to block out most outside noise.

The music-bypass feature is convenient, allowing you to hear outside noise, such as someone talking, through the earphones without needing to take them off.

The inline control is a bit long, but contains a useful customisable button that lets you map different short cuts to it through the companion app.

It can turn noise-cancelling on or off with a single tap, for instance, and also activate music bypass by double tapping it.

• Verdict: The Rayz Plus is a decent pair of noise-cancelling earphones and provide iPhone and iPod users a convenient workaround to listen to music and charge their devices at the same time. The host of features justifies its price, but its limited compatibility with only Apple devices make it a hard sell.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 25, 2018, with the headline 'Listen and charge at the same time '. Print Edition | Subscribe