When I got my OnePlus One I was looking forward to once again using my Samsung headphones with them. I got these with my Galaxy S2 many years ago and have served with me well with an excellent sound quality. They have a single button inline which I use for muting audio.
Except, when I tried them on my OnePlus, the button simply increased the volume each time it was pressed. It turns out that there are two standards for sending button signals through the headphone jack – not surprisingly, one is a standard that Apple created. A lot of phones support both but the OnePlus doesn’t, and the Samsung headset uses the Apple standard, which isn’t supported by the phone. Admittedly, this wasn’t a great lose as the Samsung’s are getting quite old now and falling apart in places – I’d already been looking for a potential replacement. Now, though, that choice was more difficult as I wanted to get some that I knew would work with my phone, and headphone manufacturers rarely say which standards they support.
I’d heard a lot of OnePlus owners recommending the Xiaomi Piston 2’s – a Chinese set of headphones that have amazing sound quality for the money. Equally, importantly, the controls will work for the phone.
The big problem with the Pistons, though, is getting hold of legitimate versions – there are many good quality fakes available. I found someone who was selling them on Amazon for a sniff under £20 and, upon delivery, was pleased to find that they were the genuine article (see here for how to identify the real from the fake).
The Pistons come in a cardboard box, which folds out – instructions for use are printed on the inside of the box (sadly, in Chinese). This looks very neat and is a great way to save on packaging too. Sadly, get through that and the packaging gets a bit more extreme. A plastic bag holds a hard plastic box. Open that to find a square of rubber, around which the headphone cable is wrapped – the headset itself is set into moulds on the top. At the bottom of the plastic box are 3 different sized earbuds (with a fourth set already on the headset) and a clip, which you can use to clip the cable onto your clothing.
Now to the headphones themselves. Made in a gold coloured metal, they both look and feel robust and extremely well finished. There are 3 buttons on the inline remote – pause, volume up, volume down – as well as a microphone and I’m pleased to report that they work 100% correctly with my phone. The cable (or rather the part of the cable below the remote) is covered in a string-like material to protect it.
The sound is fantastic. I played a piece of music which I knew well but was instantly impressed with the fact that I could hear instruments that I’d never heard before. It’s got a good level of bass without it being too heavy. I tried the track Tech 49 from the soundtrack of Oblivion and where there is a low rumbling noise I could actually feel it, in the way you may hear a sub-woofer on a good quality speaker system. Clear and very, very capable I have no qualms in recommending the sound output from these.
Moans? Just two and they’re minor. I’m not keen on the brown and gold styling – a bit too “bling” for me. Also, the L and R are printed on the top of the cord and, as a result, are small and hard to read.
Superb value for money these offer incredible punch for the money. Just make sure you get them from a reputable source or you could end up with counterfeit models.