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Welcome to our review of the Honeywell Sync Wireless bluetooth earmuffs or headphones! These are a Class 5 form of hearing protection while also offering the advantages of bluetooth sync for music and phonecalls. They're not the cheapest earmuffs around - see Amazon, eBay US or eBay AU - but one would hope that the additional cost is worth it. Let's find out!
The exact model we are reviewing today is the RWS-53017, which seems to be the variant we get in Australia - for the States it's RWS-53016. There don't appear to be any specification difference between the two. The earmuffs come in a glossy box:
They seem to be branded as Howard Leight in Australia but there's no mention of this on the packaging. There's a helpful breakout box showing the various frequencies and how much the earmuffs attenuate the sound:
The back of the box has the same paragraph in several languages and an image showing the range of movement of the microphone - yes, it has a microphone for your phonecalls, making it look a bit like a gaming headset:
Passes the AU/NZ standards:
Opening the box we can see the top of the earmuffs - it's an aesthetically pleasing design if you ask me:
Out of the box:
Also in the box is a USB cable for charging - and it's a standard Micro USB end for the earmuffs, same as many phones - along with a 5V 1A charger and a 3.5mm headphone adapter.
Oh, and a pamphlet with instrutions.
One side of the earmuffs has the microphone boom, and the other has the controls:
Pretty self explanatory - top going clockwise, play, forward track, power, back track with a volume knob at the bottom. The Bluetooth symbol lights up with different colours depending on what is happening - red while charging, green when charging is done, blue when connected to a device:
The padded section of the earmuffs is quite comfortable:
So, how do they actually perform in use? They're comfortable for extended use - the earmuff padding is good and the pressure against your head is in a comfortable range. I wear spectacles and have had no issues with the earmuffs both working properly and being comfortable whilst being worn at the same time.
So far I have tested them whilst using a nailgun, air compressor for sandblasting, angle grinder and circular saw and the degree of sound attenuation is extremely pleasing.
As far as the Bluetooth goes connecting to an iPhone 7 was painless and the earmuffs automatically reconnect each time they are powered on without fail. Battery life is very good, long enough for a solid workday - though I am deaf in one ear and only have the phone outputting one of the two sides, so I would expect that I get better battery life than average. The maximum audio volume level is more than sufficient, though it's clearly limited to a range that won't damage your hearing... which is good.
Phone calls are surprisingly possible - I'm not sure if there is audio cancelling going on or whether the design of the microphone is just very good but people seem to be able to hear me clearly even when doing something noisy in the background. There were two phonecalls where the audio mysteriously disappeared after a while, requiring a repeat call - that hasn't happened since, though, so I can't knock the earmuffs for that as I can't be sure where the problem lay.
Overall I would highly recommend this product - it does what it says on the box, is comfortable and makes the work day more pleasant through being able to listen to music and make phonecalls while still enjoying a good degree of hearing protection. Grab your own set from Amazon, eBay US or eBay AU.
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