Polk Audio is a household name; a maker of high-end audio equipment (aka, stuff I cannot afford). Recently they sent me their Hinge headphones—both the wired and wireless versions. Clearly, these are going to be better than your typical ear buds, right? Except the killer feature here isn’t how it processes sound, but the design.
As you might guess from the name and photos, the Hinge folds up. You get comfortable, cushioned headphones without the bulk. Now these are not the kind of cans that cover your entire ear, but they do block out external sounds well (well enough to annoy a ticket-taker on a New Jersey Transit train, in fact). I tried going back to bundled Apple earbuds at one point and the difference was beyond noticeable—the earbuds were horrific.
The Hinges fold up small enough to fit in a cargo pant pocket, and they fit even better in my Scott eVest’s pockets. The hinge construction is solid. In fact, I would suggest adjusting to it and not wearing it for a four-hour writing binge on the first day. I was not so smart and did this. The hinges weren’t used to my head yet, and pressed my ears down on my glasses a tad. Now, after a week or so, I can use them for hours without that issue.
As most people use headphones with a smartphone, Polk was smart enough to build a microphone in. I had multiple phone conversations using the Hinge and everything was crisp and clear on the wired version. The wireless model (which pairs over Bluetooth or NFC) had some echo issues for people I was talking to, but sounded fine to me.
In fact, I was impressed with how little difference there was between the wired and wireless (which actually comes with a detachable wire just in case). Audio was crisp, setup was easy, and not having a cord to bother with was far more freeing than I was expecting. It was almost impossible to tell which I was wearing.
I’m actually not going to link to the Polk Audio landing page for the Hinge. Why? Because at their in-store price, you’re paying a lot more than I would ($129). But here’s the thing—the Hinge goes on sale frequently. There is currently a Groupon for the wired version for $35. They were the same price on Amazon last week but have gone up to $46. In fact, they were cheaper on both sites at first – it looks like they are trending upwards.
The wireless pair is $150 on Amazon. The $199 at Polk and elsewhere for a wireless headphone of this quality? That’s not insane.
Who should consider the Hinge? In general, I would say this is perfect for the frequent traveler. I used it on a few flights and it was great. In fact, with the wired one so affordable, this may be the perfect gift for the music lover in your life—like, say, someone who is graduating? Also, isn’t Father’s Day coming up?
Polk Audio provided me with two pairs of headphones – one wired and one wireless. People keep asking me which of them I love more. Don’t make me choose, you guys.