Buying headphones for a lot of people is now an investment -- do I go with Beats? Harman? SMS? There are so many choices out there that it just isn't as easy as going to a store and picking out a pair and calling it a day.
If you're willing to spend a few extra bucks and you're a huge Star Wars fan (as I admittedly am), then SMS's latest offering might be worth the investment.
First unveiled at the CES in Las Vegas in January, SMS, which has partnered with rapper and business mogul 50 Cent, unveiled a second edition of its Star Wars-branded headphones, aptly named Star Wars: Second Edition.
The review unit I was sent was Tie Fighter, but there are other options -- Chewbacca, R2-D2 and of course, Darth Vader. Right away, you realize this is a Star Wars product, with a lot of Star Wars images, stickers and even a poster inside the box.
But let's focus on the headphones. They come in a black glossy finish with grey and black colors, surrounding each ear, and despite being on-the-ear headphones, which can sometimes get uncomfortable after long periods of use, I had no problems wearing these for extended periods. I tested the headphones several times, in periods ranging from an hour to three hours, a time frame most people would use them, be it for going to the gym or listening to a movie. Wearability was certainly not an issue.
Like the first edition of the headphones, the second edition uses 40 mm drivers to help deliver the sound. This allows it to provide noise cancellation and a clarity one would expect from higher-end studio headphones.
The Star Wars-branded removable cable (with mic) allows you to take phone calls while listening to music, making these a full replacement for the standard-issue headphones that come with your smartphone. The quality of the sound is better than the regular headphones, and I had no problem going back and forth between calls and music.
The headphones actually sounded pretty good. I tried several different genres and artists, from Frank Sinatra to Tupac to Muse to In Living Color, and the Jurassic Park theme song to test their full range. I was impressed with the bass and the clearness of the headphones: There was little to no distortion at either the high-end or low-end of the spectrum. The sound wasn't crystal clear, as there was a bit of garbling, but nothing that would put me off.
For $179.95, the Star Wars: Second Edition by SMS Audio are certainly not cheap, but neither are Beats, Harman or any other high-end headphones on the market now. Whether they're a gift for the Star Wars fan within you, or for someone else, you can't go wrong buying these second-edition headphones.
May the Force be with you.
Overall grade: 8.7/10