Saitek and Bluetake’s miraculously shrinking wireless headphones

Listening to music wirelessly through your headphones is hardly new – the technology has been around for years in the home. Remember those great bulky

Listening to music wirelessly through your headphones is hardly new – the technology has been around for years in the home. Remember those great bulky headsets that crushed your ears while you sat three feet from your CD player?

2006, however, looks set to be the year mobile wireless headphones finally come of age and, despite Apple’s disappointing revelations at Mac Expo this week, the year the iPod will get in on the act.

What’s exciting is the speed at which they’re shrinking, making old wireless classics such as AKG’s Merlin look chunky.

The Saitek A-350 above, for example, uses radio frequency and looks pretty mean with its slick black frames and a streak of blood red. Plus it’s relatively lightweight at 55g.

Connect the transmitter’s 3.5mm audio jack input to any MP3 player, hi-fi or PC and you get a 10 metre transmission range. Neodymium speaker drivers should make for decent sound and the lightweight rechargeable battery gives 6 hours play per charge; an hour fills it to 80 per cent capacity.

Cool as the Saiteks are, our full Respect (trademark T.Blair) is reserved for the seriously small Bluetake iPHONO Mini, pictured below. Following pair after pair of bulky Bluetooth headphones, it’s a blessed relief to have something you can carry around easily.

If your MP3 player supports Bluetooth and the stereo music standard A2DP – a handful of mobiles so far - you can also use the headphones to control the playlist and switch between tunes and chin-wags. When your call ends, the music automatically starts up again. Helpfully, the headphones also have a mic and can hook up to your PC for chats on Skype, Messenger and the like.

You can get a pair of A-350s at www.boysstuff.co.uk for £80 and the iPHONE mini is at www.think4.com for, yup, £80.