What's Hot: Good audio quality, very comfortable to wear and very good noise isolation.
What's Not: Some tracks sound muddy.
Reviewed by Tong Zhang
iLuv's new ReF Premium Headphones are designed to attract urban commuters who play music or movies while on a commuter train or bus to block the city noise. The headphones have a comfortable form and look unique in fabric exterior. The sturdy build, braided fabric cord and eight color schemes make the iLuv ReF Headphones eye catching while fairing nicely in daily urban hustle and bustle.
iLuv ReF Premium Headphones has a unique fabric exterior that comes in 8 well chosen colors and covers the exterior of the headband and the ear muffs. The interior of the headband and the earmuffs has a different color that either compliments the exterior color or gives it some contrast. The strong hinges that hold the metal wires for the ear covers also come in matching colors of the exterior. In the most noticeable spots - the exterior of the ear cups - you'll find iLuv logo patches in the same color as the contrasting decorative stitching for added style.
The headphone construction feels sturdy and the metal wires that connect the headband and the ear covers allow easy adjustment to the length to fit the size of your head. The ear covers have just the right size to cover your ears and the soft padding makes them comfortable to wear. Even though they feel snug and block out background noise very efficiently, the headphones don't tire out your ear nor your head even if you wear them for long periods of time. The hinges that hold the wires can also fold the ear cups to make the headphones into half of its full size for easy storage.
The iLuv ReF Premium Headphones comes with braided fabric audio cord that measure 1.2 meters. The cable feels sturdy and doesn't tangle easily, and it has a built-in mic and a call answer and end button. The 3.5mm audio plug is in "L" shape and has gold plating. To give the design a unified look, the audio cable has the same color as the exterior canvas fabric.
The iLuv ReF Premium Headphones have 40mm drivers with titanium-coated diaphragms and decent sized acoustic chambers for headphones in this build. The headphones operate on 20-20kHz frequencies and have 114dB sensitivity. We tested the iLuv ReF with a variety of mobile devices including an iPhone 5, a Galaxy S 4, an HTC One and various notebooks including the new MacBook Air 13" Haswell, Sony VAIO Pro 13 and Lenovo IdeaPad Y510 gaming notebook. The most noticeable characteristic is how effective the noise isolation is through the headphones. The iLuv ReF could almost achieve the noise isolation level of the Wicked Audio Solus which has much bigger ear cups and beefier housing and insulation. The headband and the ear cups work well together to fit the iLuv ReF tightly over your ears yet the headphones never squeeze any part of your head.
Sound quality is quite good in playing most genres we tested and volume is quite high. The bass sounds strong with added vibration via the spacious acoustic chambers, though in some tracks the bass can overwhelm the other tracks a bit. Treble is clear in most styles of music- vocals in songs and string instruments in symphonies have good clarity. The audio balance is also good with most tracks presented fully, only some tracks sounded muddier than the original production quality.
The iLuv ReF Premium Headphones iHP635 model had different volume levels when working with different devices but overall it was loud enough on all machines we tested, but it's tuned to iOS devices' audios specifically. As a result, the headphones sounded louder on the iPhone 5 than on the Galaxy S4 and the HTC One. It also sounded louder on the MacBook Air 13" than on the other notebooks we tested; at 50% volume setting the audio was more than loud enough for movie playback, music playing and gaming.
Leave it to iLuv who has designed some very stylish cases to come out with headphones with canvas covers that might match your sneakers or bags. The iLuv ReF Headphones speak well to the urban consumers who do purchase their gadget accessories as part of their image. The iLuv ReF Premium Headphones have good audio and loud volume, and they're extremely comfortable to wear for long periods of time. The headphones block out most road noise for daily commuters and they have good material and build. We love the color selection of the iLuv ReF though not all colors are currently available. The iHP635 is designed for iOS devices and iHP636 is for the rest of smartphones.