By Terry Gardner, Special to Tribune Newspapers
7:10 PM EST, November 27, 2012
Name: MEElectronics Air-Fi AF32 Stereo Bluetooth Wireless Headphones with hidden microphone
What they are: High-fidelity stereo Bluetooth on-ear headphones with a hidden microphone from MEElectronics, a pioneer in affordable earphones. Three toggle switches on the right earphone control the power, Bluetooth pairing, phone calls, volume and music tracks. The headphones fold for travel and come with a carrying case, a USB charging cord that plugs into the 3.5 mm audio jack, and a cable for use with non-Bluetooth devices. AF32 is available in many color variations and is compatible with most Bluetooth phones and tablets, including iOS, Android and Windows systems.
The good: Sweet sound for less than $100. The on-ear design reduces noise around you without any noise-cancellation feature. Making a hands-free call is a snap. I tap the toggle switch on the right earphone and make a voice-activated call or ask Siri to call someone. Similarly, I can access my music without touching my iPhone. The folding feature makes the earphones compact to always fit inside my carry-on, even when I over-pack. On a train, I can use them in Bluetooth mode. On a plane, where Bluetooth devices are prohibited, I power them down and use the audio cable to listen to music. The audio jack also allows the headphones to work with non-Bluetooth devices such as my sixth-generation iPod Nano.
The bad: When used without the Bluetooth feature, you have to switch tracks or adjust the volume via your device rather than the headphones. I hope the next generation of the AF32 has a non-Bluetooth cable with a volume and track-changing switch, even if it raises the price a bit.
Cost: $99.99, but regularly on sale for $79.99
Available from: meelec.com, amazon.com, bestbuy.com and walmart.com
Copyright © 2014 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC