Headphone and phone accessory manufacturer SUBJEKT has combined a full feature set with simplistic and durable design to create the SUBJEKT Pulse Bluetooth Headphones. Not content with relying on its good looks, the Pulse comes with skip and volume control buttons, Bluetooth wireless connectivity, and an integrated microphone. They cut the cord but do they cut the mustard?
The lines of the headphones are simple, squared and smooth. The broad, low profile band is deceptively sturdy and much more satisfying to the touch than the traditional leather and metal frames. It also helped prevent the all-too-common depression of hair across the top of the head that most padded and heavy headphones cause. A piano black gloss finish gives the headphones a great, high-end feel. The tension is perfectly balanced and keeps the speaker drivers snugly pressed against the ear without becoming painful or irritating, even on larger heads. The interior of the band and control buttons are covered in a grippy rubber that makes it easy to operate, masks fingerprints and helps prevent the headset from slipping.
The Pulse charges off of an included USB cable, which is a bit short but does an adequate job of refilling the impressive power reserves in a jiffy. Talk time is 11 hours or 10 hours of steady music playback while standby time is rated at a generous 250 hours. Left untouched for a week, the batteries still had a good three hours of life in them when they were needed. Compared to some of its contemporaries, it looks better, has a more streamlined and light design, feels more durable and has a better battery life.
Although the speakers are relatively small, the sound quality is great. Highs and mid-tones are sharp and defined, but bass levels leave something to be desired. These are exceptional for getting your everyday music fix, but not as a serious listening device. Bass addicts and dubsteppers should look elsewhere, and trying to circumvent the shortcomings with a software-based, bass-boosting equalizer on a device like a smartphone resulted in heavily distorted audio. While it can be used with a PlayStation 3 or Bluetooth enabled PC as a headset, the low output could be a hindrance to online competitive multiplayer and the Pulse should be relegated to chatting between partners in cooperative scenarios or games that do not rely as heavily on audio cues.
The integrated microphone may be tucked away and hidden, but it picks up even the slightest murmur. Audio is clear and devoid of any distortion or drops and, in some instances, sounded better than the microphone on the device that was connected to the Pulse. SUBJEKT could have thrown a cheap, underwhelming microphone in to add another bullet point on the box or to claim superiority over their competition, but it is apparent that they have placed an emphasis on quality, even in the feature that may be used the least.
With a sticker of $99.99, the SUBJEKT Pulse Bluetooth Headphones are reasonably priced. The build quality is unrivaled by other wireless headphones in the price range and the addition of the integrated microphone makes it effortless to transition to phone calls. Headphones with better audio replication can easily run double the asking price of the Pulse, but will not look nearly as good while doing so.
The Pulse Bluetooth Headphones from SUBJEKT are an impressive package with only a couple small issues to keep them from being perfect. The full feature set, along with good quality sound output, a great microphone and solid construction makes this an obvious recommendation.