There are plenty of headphones available, some good, some bad. But when was the last time you saw a pair aimed at younger children? That's the plan with the Griffin MyPhones, a set of headphones that are aimed at the little angels in your life. But do they work? We plugged in our 3 year-old daughter to find out.
The MyPhones main claim is that they feature an always-on volume limiter so your child can't turn the volume up too loud and blow their ear-drums out. Set to a maximum 85dB all the time, they can still get loud, but not loud enough to do any damage.
To put 85dB into context, you and I talk normally at around 60dB while an MP3 player such as the iPod (without the volume limiter turned on) is around 120dB - the same, indecently, as an ambulance screaming past you in the street.
In practice and the headphones look like your average grown-up headphones. They have big comfortable cans on either side and an adjustable head strap to fit different sized heads, but things are kept small for children. The cans are well padded and replicate what you would expect on an adult "professional" model, leather or faux leather we can't determine, but either way they are good enough to block any noise (not that it gets that loud anyway).
There is a long cable (127cm) with a 3.5mm jack so the MP3 player can be tucked neatly away in a back pack (kids pockets are usually full of stones or tissues), which is an unexpected but pleasant surprise and should see you right on planes and in the back of the car.
Where the Griffin MyPhones headphones aim to appeal to children is with the interchangeable cover inserts. You get two designs in the box - blue or pink - and before you start to think this is just another marketing idea to sell you more, you also get a further two sets of blank templates so you can colour in your own. The templates are easy enough to copy (it's just a circle after all) and that means your kids can colour their hearts out and put their own stamp on them.
So what about performance? After asking the 3-year-old and getting nowhere without a "they sound great daddy", we tested them out (in the interest of reviewing you understand). The sound isn't anything spectacular, however it's not awful either. There is a good balance of treble and bass with the bass, as you would expect, on the light side. Noise cancellation was good and although we weren't able to test them on an aeroplane they did manage to isolate the noise of our washing machine when standing next to it.
I listened to everything from The Beatles to Berlioz and would be happy enough with the performance to know that my daughter and son won't be complaining any time soon.
Everything is kept in a large strong plastic carry case, and the marketing bumpf can be removed and the accompanying "These myPhones belong to..." panel inserted instead.
Grumbles? There aren't any.
As a parent you always want to protect your children, but not go over the top and wrap them in cotton wool. Although some MP3 players (iPod included) do offer a volume limiting system, it's sometimes hard to find the setting and fiddly fingers will always turn it off.
The volume limiting here is done via the hardware and is always on - there is no off switch – so all you have to worry about is plugging them in. Couple that with the ability to customise, and our 3-year-old was excited about not only colouring them in but then wearing them afterwards.
If you're a parent and need a set of headphones for your little one, these are the ones to get.