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ATPM 14.09
September 2008


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Hardware Review

by Lee Bennett,

iMetal Headsets

iP-HS2 iMetal Isolation Headset For iPhone


Developer: Maximo

Price: $70

Requirements: None

Trial: None

Earphones that are designed to fit in the outer ear canal are, admittedly, not for everyone, and I’ve never really considered myself among those who enjoy using this style. Yet Maximo’s iMetal Isolation Headset seems to have swayed my opinion.


iMetal Isolation Headsets are stylish and comfortable. They also sound great and block out a considerable amount of ambient noise. I liked the inclusion of a simple pouch for storing the headset rather than the latest gadgety gimmick intended to “contain” the cable.

I am not insinuating that all in-ear headsets are uncomfortable, but the iMetal Isolation Headset is the first model that I felt I could use all day long. Three sizes of rubber eartips are included, which should help ensure a good fit for anyone.


The included rubber eartips should make for a good fit for almost anyone. I tried all three to be certain of a good fit, though the middle-sized tips, which were originally attached, were the best for me. A two-foot extension cable is also included; however, the headset cable, at four feet, is plenty of length for most needs.

While I’ll never give up my Bose QC-2 headphones, the sound quality of the iMetal Isolation Headset is excellent to my decidedly non-audiophile ears. Bass response is very good, as is the noise isolation. I enjoyed the significantly diminished noise during a recent flight on a commercial airliner.

Owners of the first generation iPhone won’t need an adapter to use the iMetal headset, and the tiny in-line microphone shouldn’t get in anyone’s way. The button to answer/disconnect calls and advance/pause music tracks is separate from the microphone, and I feel this is better than Apple’s microphone/button combo. I have to wonder, though, how much noise a caller hears when a hand swishes across the microphone on Apple’s earbuds before the button is clicked.

Perhaps not quite as important as audio and noise isolation quality, but important nonetheless, is the style of the headset. I’m a fan of chrome/silver/gray color schemes. For my own taste, the iMetal Isolation Headset is unquestionably the best-looking in-ear headset I have ever used.

By rating this headset Excellent, I don’t mean to imply that no in-ear headset could be any better. Rather, having not identified any shortcomings, I found no reason to rate it any less than Excellent.

iP-HS1 iMetal Stereo Headset For iPhone


Developer: Maximo

Price: $70

Requirements: None

Trial: None

When the time came to set aside the Isolation Headset and put the earbud-style iMetal Stereo Headset to the test, I frequently had to remind myself that I was testing this product for review and to ignore my desire to return to the Isolation Headset.


The iMetal Stereo Headset is just as stylish as its isolation-style cousin.

The sound quality of the iMetal Stereo Headset is fine—certainly at least as good as any decent earbud-style headset. Like its cousin, it sports a good-looking design style, the same in-line control button and microphone, a first-generation iPhone-friendly plug, a two-foot extension cable, and the same carrying pouch. Instead of the Isolation Headset’s rubber eartips, this headset, as with most earbuds, came with foam covers to wrap around the buds. Unfortunately, the people who designed the shape of the covers seem to have done so without measuring the size of the earbuds. I found it impossible to put the covers on the earbuds before ripping one of them.



I tried again with the second, being even more careful, than I was with the first, but I felt it beginning to come apart and I stopped before ripping it again.

I would have liked to try using the earbuds with the covers because I believe they may have presented a solution to a bigger issue I encountered with this headset. The earbuds kept falling out of my ears. Had I been able to attach the foam covers, the slight extra padding may have helped comfortably hold them in place.

There seems to be two factors contributing to the fallout problem. First is the shape of the earbuds. They are visibly bulkier than others I’ve used—including Apple’s. Also, the leading edge tapers in more significantly than the Apple earbuds. Second, the metal bar that extends from the earbuds may look stylish, but it seems to add unnecessary weight that tugs on the back of the earbuds, making them prone to being pulled out with only a minimum of head movement.


Comparing apples to, um, Maximos.

Obviously, I cannot account for someone else’s differently shaped ears, and perhaps someone else may find the iMetal Stereo Headset to be a perfect fit. What I can say, though, is that no other earbuds I’ve used have been so prone to coming out of my own ears, and I’ve seen no other earbuds that possessed such visible clues that might lead to unexpected departures.

Reader Comments (1)

Ara Keoshkerian · September 4, 2008 - 01:43 EST #1
Great review. I bought the iP-HS2 iMetal Isolation headset around 6 months ago - and I absolutely love them! Great fit and finish, look and sound! Specially for the price!

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