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Review: Soul's fitness-friendly on-ear Transform headphones
3.8Overall Score

Price (RRP): $169
Manufacturer: Soul

Earbuds and in-earphones are generally the domain of the activity taker and fitness addict, but not everyone wants to wear tiny in-ear speakers. Some people like larger pads that sit comfortably on the ear, as opposed to in, and that’s where Soul is positioning its Transform headphones.

Features and performance

There are lots of different types of headphones out there in the world.

There are your usual classes, with the usually uncomfortable earbuds, the more comfortable in-earphones, the semi-invasive but excellent audiophile intra-aural canal-phones, and then there are headphones that sit on the ear (supra-aural) and those that sit around the ear (circumaural).

While that might seem like a lot of information for one type of product, there’s still more, because you have different types of headphones — open and closed — and then more grades again dependent on what sort of quality you’re planning to listen to — standard or high-resolution — and even what sort of activity you’re doing.

That last one is particularly important because everyone uses headphones differently.

Most of the time, this writer is in transit, walking around or catching public transport, and so when he’s out of the office, he usually relies on a pair of noise cancelling wireless headphones.

In the office, there’s a different headphone again, with one made for big bursts of sound where you want to hear every detail, and that’s where the whole high-res headphones come into play.

But what about if you go running? What are your needs then?

Aside for good sound, you’re looking at something that can survive your movement and your sweat, with that last one a necessary requirement, because you wouldn’t want to have to throw something out just because it’s getting a little ugly or unhygienic to use.

With that in mind, Soul has launched the Transform, a pair of fitness-friendly headphones that you can use out and about, and then pull apart and wash, with bad that can be easily removed for cleaning later and a polyurethane band that you can quickly wipe off with a damp cloth.

Beyond the fabric pads and rubbery band, most of the headphones are plastic, with black framing a colour (blue on our review headphones), some branding, and cans that can be pulled down into place depending on the size of your head.

The earpieces don’t offer a lot of articulation — basic pivoting, really — though we suspect ultimate comfort is the last thing on your mind when you’re going for a run, with the only real requirement beyond sound quality being that the headphones stay put.

Stick them on and you’ll find just that, with a relatively firm grip on the ears, though it might be seen by some as being too tight. Given that these aren’t supposed to fall off, we get it, and you should too, through do try them on before buying as the grip might be too much for some.