It has been well over a year since I’ve reviewed a pair of headphones on the site, so I figured it was about time to try out another set, and this time I opted for the Steel Series Flux In-Ear Pro.
They are a lightweight pair of in-ear buds that can either be worn in or over the ear and offer the flexibility of being able to be used with either your mobile device or your home PC.
For many, in-ear headsets can be a bit of an acquired taste, while they offer much better noise reduction, the can leave some listeners with sore ears and a constant “need to be popped” sensation in their ears. Steel Series does a rather nice job of minimizing some of this fatigue thanks to really light-weight materials and the included selection of small, medium and large soft silicone tip sizes that can be swapped out for the best possible fit for your ears.
I have small ear canals, so as I always do with in-ear buds, I immediately swapped out the standard tips (which I found to be just slightly too big for my ears) with the smallest set and they feel good. After several hours of wear I do find that I need to take a little break, though this is due to more of a general discomfort (on my part) with in-ear headphone designs than these particular headphones. They are so light and the ear-hooks are so comfy that you’ll hardly even notice that they are hanging on your ears. As I’ve mentioned before, my office sits right next to the breakroom, so the added external noise reduction that these in-ear headphones offer is quite helpful. Don’t expect these to drown out ALL external noise like an active noise-cancelling set of headphones would, but at least for me, the difference was quite noticeable.
These are really light weight buds (I know…I can’t stop saying that) with a thin, flat cord that stays out of the way and never tangles. There is an omni-directional microphone and single control button built into the cord, which sits at about jaw level. It can be used for interacting with Siri and making phone calls. Siri had no issues deciphering what I was asking her to do, however there was a good deal of background white noise when making phone calls, but not enough that the other party couldn’t make out what I was saying.
One thing I should note is that the specs on the Steel Series site are wrong. The headphones themselves are a little less than 4 ft long (from headphone to jack) and the cord portion is only about 31 inches in length (far shorter than the 9.8 ft that the site lists). However I’m about 5’7″ and I found the cord to be a nice, convenient length that reached from my ears to my iPhone just fine in either my front or cargo pockets.
A particularly nice feature of Steel Series Flux In-Ear Pro is that it comes with two different ends, one which is your standard single 3-pole 3.5mm jack for mobile devices and a second PC cable end with a 3.5mm headphone jack and a 3.5mm microphone jack. So you can quickly swap between your mobile device and PC by changing the end. Depending on what case you have on your iOS device, the shielding on the end of the mobile connector could have a little bit of trouble fitting into the headphone jack and may temporarily bow out your case a little while it is connected (this is the issue I had with my Incipio Edge Pro case).
I am by no means an audiophile, so I’m not gonna blather on about frequencies, ranges and stuff like that. Plain and simple, my music, games, audiobooks and movies all sounded great with these headphones. Everything was crisp and lively and the sound was rich and engaging. If I had one concern, it would be that the bass seemed a bit muted, but quite honestly that didn’t really bother me as I’m not a big fan of bass anyways, but others might find the lackluster bass to be a deal killer, given the price of these buds.
Speaking of price…this is probably the main place where the Steel Series Flux In-Ear Pro stumbles a bit…these are not an inexpensive pair of headphones, retailing at $129.99 either direct from Steel Series or on Amazon.com. While yes, these are certainly some of the lightest in-ear buds I own and they feel like they are made from high quality components (they even come with a nice small padded, zippered carrying case), the price feels a bit too high.
That being said, I have really been enjoying these. While I think the A-JAYS I reviewed last year offer slightly better sound quality and more on-cord controls, the Steel Series Flux In-Ear Pros were easily much more comfortable to wear, especially for extended periods and the ear hook helped them stay put. So if you are in the market for a light-weight pair of in-ear headphones and are not turned off by a lack of bone-shaking bass, I’d certainly recommend adding them to your Amazon wishlist and waiting for a sale.