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ISOtunes Xtra Bluetooth Hearing Protection Headphones Review | An In-Depth Look At My New In-Ear Favorite

This review will take in in-depth look at ISOtunes’ newest Bluetooth Hearing Protection model ISOtunes Xtra. This model is IsoTunes third OSHA rated Bluetooth device and, as far as I’m concerned, probably their best one yet. You can check out my reviews of their first two models here: ISOtunes & ISOtunes PRO.

These first two models have constantly battled for the top spot in as my most preferred headset. Now, we’ll have to see if the Xtra model can compete!

I’ve been testing these out for a couple of months now and my goal is to give you as much information as I can regarding their performance, noise reduction abilities, durability, battery life, Bluetooth range, sound volume and quality, phone call clarity, comfort, and much more!

As always, if you have any question along the way, please drop me a comment at the end of the article and I’ll do my best to answer it as soon as I can!

Disclaimer: Before we get too far along, I do need to disclose that I was given my ISOtunes Xtra for free by ISOtunes with the understanding that I would write an honest review. I first had a relationship with them when they approached me and asked me if they could send me their ISOtunes PRO model to review. You can see this review here. This time, I approached them and asked them if they could send me a copy of the Xtra model to review and they agreed. Regardless, I did make it clear in our initial interactions that my reviews would be honest. If I didn’t like them, I would say so. I’ve been using the ISOtunes Xtra model for a couple months now so I hope I can write a very honest and helpful review for you.

Quick Review

If you’re looking for a real quick opinion on these, here you go: The ISOtunes Xtra Bluetooth hearing protection earbuds are great! I love them. I think they found a great middle ground between their first two models. The Xtra headset is OSHA certified with an NRR of 27, has a long battery life (can last through my 10 hour workday with moderate/high usage), is very comfortable and lightweight, has decent sound quality, and successfully blocks out exterior noise.

If you’re looking for a reasonably affordable headset that will do everything you need and expect, I’d highly recommend this headset. You can purchase them on Amazon for $79.99.

Keep reading for an extensive, in-depth review!

In-Depth Review

Noise Reduction Rating

The ISOtunes Extra headphones have an OSHA compliant Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of 27 when using the ISOtunes TRILOGY Foam Ear Tips. This rating is fairly high and will provide you with adequate hearing protection and just about any environment. I have used them during hours of woodworking and they worked very well. I can still hear the equipment well enough to be safe but it is well withing the allowed decibel range to not damage my ears.

Not only do these headphones protect your ears from exterior noise damage but also from inadvertent damage by listening to audio at too high of a volume. Believe it or not, this can sometimes do as much damage as not using hearing protection int he first place.

These headphones have ISOtune’s signature SafeMax Technology built in. The protects your ears by topping out the maximum volume at the safe level of 85 dB. This doesn’t seem like much but since the headphones block out so much exterior sound it is more than enough.

How do these actually block out sound?

I think the way that these headphones (and all the other models from ISOtunes) actually block out sound is what allows them to function so well while remaining fairly affordable. They don’t block sound with technology but rather with the physical barrier create by the TRILOGY Foam Ear Tips.

I don’t know the specs but these ear tips are super dense and when inserted correctly create a physical barrier that prevents the sound from penetrating. They work quite well. When I have them in, I can’t hear voices unless the person is screaming or I take one of them out.

The fact that there is no technological manner of blocking the sound does mean that these headphones can’t isolate specific sounds, like speech, and allow them to still be heard like some more expensive models. However, if you need something like that, you can check out these or these.

Battery Life

Probably my favorite thing about these headphones is their battery life. From what I can tell, there are two USB rechargeable lithium-ion batteries built into the headphones. This is a great modification from the last models which only had one battery.

I can make it through a ten-hour workday with moderate usage without recharging them. This involves me listening to podcasts for most the time unless I am on the phone, talking to someone, or doing something that prevents me from focusing on what I’m listening to. During those times the headphones are just snapped together around my neck.

According to the manufacturer’s information they should have 8 hours of playback/talk time on each charge and 180 hours of standby time. I would affirm these statements as they seem to hold up.

There have been multiple days when I’ll use them all day at work. Charge them for an hour or so and then use them all evening/night in my garage shop without the battery dying. We’ll see how this holds up in the long-term but, so far, so good.

My only issue is that there is no way to determine how much charge you have left. When you first sync with your phone, at least on an Android, it does give a battery percentage on the screen however, I was told by customer service not to trust that number too much. I don’t know why. They did say this is a feature they are looking into and something I would find very helpful.

Bluetooth Range

These headphones are equipped with Bluetooth 4.1 + EDR which means they are compatible with all Bluetooth-enabled devices. I’ve found that their range tends to be similar to anything else I’ve used through a Bluetooth connection and it all comes down to whether there is a clear path from your phone to your headset or not.

There are times when I can get across almost our whole yard without losing the connection and others where I’ll have my phone in my pocket and bend over and the connection will cut out.

Overall though, I have not experienced any problems with the Bluetooth connection and my Android phone.

Microphone

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t take a lot of phone calls (I’d much prefer to text). However, I have called my wife a few times to test out the microphone and call quality.

The Xtra does have the ISOtunes noise cancellation technology for voice calls which is supposed to eliminate steady state noises like engines, mowers, fans, vacuums, saws, etc.

I found that it worked fairly well when I was in a noisy environment. That being said, I did have to repeat myself a couple of times and make sure the little box with the microphone was close to my mouth.

The incoming call quality was just fine and I had no problems hearing/understanding what was being said on the other end of the line.

Sound Volume/Quality

This is probably the only part of this review will I will sound a little disappointed. The sounds quality is decent but not great, especially when you have the volume up at the higher ranges. I found the sound to get kind of harsh and “tinny” especially on “s” sounds to the point where it almost kind of hurts your ears…if that makes any sense. I’m not an audio technician so I don’t know the technical terms for this kind of things.

Anyway, don’t have super high expectations for awesome bass and super crisp high notes if you get a pair of these. That being said, they’re still good enough to use for ten hours a day and I’ll continue to do so until I break them or I get something else (which I’m not in a hurry to do because these work and sound just fine).

Size & Comfort

I think the design and comfort of this model is where ISOtunes has made the most improvement over their previous two models. Their first model was light and comfortable but the battery life was lacking. The second model had a good battery life but, in my opinion, was too big and clunky.

This model found a nice middle ground. It has the best battery life and yet remains light and comfortable. There are two batteries, one on either side of the wire, which gives them a nice balance that doesn’t pull unevenly on one side or the other.

The lightweight memory wire neckband is also a huge improvement. It fits nicely around the back of your neck and takes some hanging weight off of your ears so the earbuds are able to sit nicely without any pulling as you move around.

This feature also makes it easy to use only one earbud at a time like I do when I’m at work in the office. If I do this with other earbuds, the side that isn’t being used just hangs heavily and pulls on the earbud in my ear, not so with the ISOtunes Extra model.

The TRILOGY foam ear tips do take some time to get used to but once you figure out how to put them in correctly (there’s a tutorial for this on the ISOtunes website) you won’t even know they are there. Sometimes I forget about them and wonder why I can’t hear the person looking at me and talking to me (usually my wife).

There are three different sizes of earbuds provided in the box to ensure you can find the ones that fit the best.

Durability

Overall, the durability of my ISOtunes Xtra headphones is good. There have been two specific issues that I have noticed which I will explain shortly.

To start, the headphones have an IP45 rating which means they should be dust, sweat, and water resistant. So far, my experiences with them have affirmed this. I’ve worn then in a dusty wood shop for hours and while sweating at the gym. I haven’t gotten them wet yet but I did accidentally put their original model through the washing machine and they came out just fine. If that quality holds up with this model I would expect the same!

The first issue I have encountered is that there is a thin outer coating on the battery packs that has started to peel off. This same thing happened on the other ISOtunes headphones I have had as well. I don’t know what the problem is and it doesn’t seem to affect the function of the headphones. This seems to merely be a cosmetic issue and one that doesn’t bother me too much.

The second issue I’ve come across has happened twice and has surprised me both time. Twice when taking the earbuds out of my ears one of the TRILOGY Foam Ear Tips didn’t come with it and was stuck in my ear. One time I used tweezers to pull it out and the other a needle nose pliers. Upon further inspection I noticed that there is a plastic tube inside of the foam that allows the ear tip to sort of screw onto the actual earbud. This tube became detached from the foam. When I took the earbud out of my ear the tube stayed screwed onto the earbud but the foam tip stayed in my ear.

This has happened twice so I don’t think it’s a fluke. I think there is something wrong with the adhesive they’re using to attach the plastic tube to the foam. Ultimately, nothing bad came of this except there are now two of the foam earbuds I can’t use anymore but I will say it was a bit distressing as first to have something stuck in my ear that I couldn’t get out with my fingers.

Neither of these things is a deal breaker for me and I will still continue to use these headphones. I’ll just be more careful when taking the foam ear tips out!

To close out this section, the headphones do come with a 1-year limited manufacturer’s warranty. If you happen to get a defective pair then they’ll replace them for you.

Other Capabilities

There are a few features on this model that I absolutely love. The first is the memory wire that allows them to sit nicely on the back of your neck and takes the weight off of your ears.

The second is the magnetic feature on the back of each earbud. I’ve seen this on other headphones but this is the first pair I’ve owned and used that had it and I’m so glad they do.

First of all, this feature allows you to snap the earbuds together around your neck. This keeps them securely in place so you don’t have to worry about them falling off if you’re moving around or not paying attention.

Secondly, the magnetic feature also controls the audio playback. For example, if I am listening to a podcast and take the earbuds out and snap them together using the magnet it will pause the podcast. When I unsnap them it resumes the playback.

This feature also works for answering and ending phone calls. If I have the earbuds snapped together and my phone rings, all I have to do is unsnap them and put them in my ears to answer the phone call. I don’t even need to touch my phone! Once the phone call is ended I just snap them back around my neck and it automatically ends the call.

What You Get

When you purchase your ISOtunes Xtra headphones (which I recommend you do), you can expect to receive the following items in the box: 4 pairs (Large, Medium, Small, Extra Small) of the heat-activated ISOtunes TRILOGY foam earplugs, 3 pairs (Small, Medium, Large) of rubber double-flange ear tips, a USB charging chord, a small carrying pouch, and the headphones themselves.

It is possible to buy more ear tips if you lose or wear out the ones you received in the box.

Price

Regarding the cost of the ISOtunes Xtra hearing protection earbuds, I think they are very reasonably priced for their quality, function, and Noise Reduction Rating. They currently go for $79.99 on the ISOtunes website and seem to stick in that range on Amazon as well.

This puts them right in the range of similar earbud style hearing protection headphones and much cheaper than over the ear hearing protect headsets. Given that the ISOtunes Xtra has a 27 NRR, there aren’t many headphones (in ear or over ear) that beat it in terms of hearing protection in this price range.

My Final Recommendation

To finish up this in-depth review of the ISOtunes’ newest model of hearing protection headphones, the ISOtunes Xtra, I’ll simply say I would wholeheartedly recommend them to you.

My standard is that I will only recommend to my readers what I would recommend to my closest friends and family and I would and have recommended these to those very people. I did have a few minor concerns regarding the covering peeling off and the ear tips getting stuck but they aren’t major and don’t come close to overcoming the great things about these hearing protection headphones.

All in all, I think the ISOtunes Xtra will probably be my #1 rated headphones for now and I would likely get myself another pair of these if something happens to the one I currently have.

If you have any comments or questions regarding the ISOtunes Xtra model or anything else to do with hearing protection headphones, please leave them in the comment section below!

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