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The day before our annual family holiday, I remembered that the kids had all managed to break their headphones. Having purposefully invested in portable DVD players for long journeys, I nipped up to PC World to buy some last minute replacements. These 'Tinyphones' compact children's headphones by JVC seemed the ideal choice for my two youngest sons, aged six and almost three. I paid £14.49 for each set from PC World but they are currently available on Amazon for £11.99.
These child friendly headphones come in a relatively unisex colourful yellow and blue combination, although there was also a pink version available in store. The main attraction was, undoubtedly, the inclusion of lots of stickers for the child to personalise their own headphones. My boys, like most young children, absolutely adore stickers and loved having the opportunity to decorate their new headphones to their liking! There are three sheets of stickers provided with each set of headphones, featuring a wide range of images although the majority seem to be aimed more at boys (cars, dinosaurs, spacemen, skulls and the like) so I would imagine that the pink version features different stickers. My six year old particularly liked the inclusion of a set of letters so the headphones can be personalised with the child's own name. There is a good selection of letters included, with at least two of each letter, so most names should be achievable.
As a parent, I was a little disappointed with the quality of the stickers. Given the full RRP of these headphones, I had expected the stickers to be pretty durable and would have liked them to be repositionable. Sadly, these are fairly standard stickers and are no more robust than the kinds of stickers given away with children's comics. They are easy to stick, with the adhesive on the back seeming fairly strong on application but the outer covering is just paper based so they will tear or become damaged very easily. The stickers are also quite small and, after just a few months of use, the outer edges are curling with quite a few stickers having worked their way off completely. Part of the problem may be the quality of the initial application as my boys were more than a little haphazard when it came to designing their headphones and some of the stickers were placed unevenly or overlapping which has not helped matters. To be fair, my boys enjoyed the process of decorating their headphones and the addition of the lettering does help to distinguish each individual pair which is useful when more than one pair is purchased. The overall quality of the stickers is not brilliant, however, and I wouldn't expect them to survive the lifetime of the headphones.
The headphones themselves feature a particularly wide band section, which serves to accommodate plenty of stickers. It also makes the headphones themselves feel pretty strong and fairly robust, without feeling particularly heavy. There is a good degree of flexibility within the band so they can cope with rather heavy-handed children pulling these on and off or flinging these around rather carelessly. The cord length is an adequate 0.8 metres in length which has offered enough flexibility for most of my sons' devices without being so long that it becomes cumbersome. The jack fitting is a standard 3.5mm size which fits everything from a DVD player, tag reader to a tablet PC.
The headphones are designed to be used from children aged three and over. My youngest son started to wear these just a few weeks short of his third birthday. He is smaller than average but, despite that, the headphones proved to be a comfortable and secure fit for him at the smallest setting. The headphones do expand, with a simple adjustable section, so there is plenty of room to suit older children. My six year old has plenty of room left to adjust these as he grows and I suspect that a child would outgrow the concept of headphones adorned with stickers long before they would actually physically outgrow these. (They are generous and flexible enough to even fit my head!)
These are over the ear headphones with very generously padded ear sections which are white with a leathery feeling outer covering. The pads are slightly too large for my three year old son and do slip slightly, especially if he fidgets or fiddles with them. He doesn't tend to use them for any great period of time which is no bad thing considering his age. My older son finds the padded section to be soft and comfortable and they appear to be a good fit for his ears. He will wear these for extended periods if watching a full length DVD in the car or whilst playing on his tablet and has never complained of any discomfort.
The sound quality of these headphones is pretty impressive, certainly for a child's set and my boys are able to listen to their various devices without being distracted by other background noises. I have been impressed by their lack of sound 'leakage' so I'm also not disturbed by my kids' music or games. The headphones themselves do not offer any means of adjusting the volume, so this has to be manually adjusted on the relevant device. They do, however, feature a built in volume limiter which restricts the volume to a maximum of 85 decibels to protect a child's developing hearing. This seems a reassuring feature and hasn't had any negative effect on my boys' enjoyment of their devices.
My boys have been using these headphones for the past three months and, thus far, I am pleased with the quality of the product which is in line with my high expectations of the JVC brand. The kids have managed to damage previous sets of headphones but these have survived intact with no indication that the connection is working its way loose. My youngest son has been particularly rough with his set, carting it along on the floor by the jack, with no evidence of any damage as yet.
For the reasonable price paid, I am happy to recommend this set of child-friendly headphones. They meet the difficult challenge of appealing to youngsters with the addition of fun stickers whilst having sensible features such as the volume limiter and sturdy build quality which also appeal to parents.