BuddyPhones Cosmo Plus Review Volume Limiting ANC Headphones

Wednesday, September 08, 2021

Listening to loud music isn't just something small children do. A lot of adults also listen to loud music, mainly because their brains have become used to loud music. Once the brain gets used to overly loud music, the hearing becomes naturally quieter, forcing you to crank up the volume. This is why it's not good listening to loud music, specially while the brain it's still developing. Volume limiting headphones such as the BuddyPhones Cosmo Plus (pictured) are a really neat idea worth every penny, just for the peace of mind of safe guarding the hearing.

The Cosmo Plus volume limiting feature has three user-controllable volume limiting modes (toddler mode, kids mode and travel mode) to suit children of various ages. Toddler mode limits the volume to 75dB. Kids mode limits volume to 85dB. Travel mode limits volume to 94dB. The volume limiting feature works by holding the volume buttons at the same time, which should prevent a small child from accidentally overriding the mode. You will hear a series of beeps (and flashes) to indicate each mode you're in. Like all volume limiting headphones, once the volume has been limited, the sound decibels will not go past that level, even when accidentally playing something too loud.

The BuddyPhones Cosmo Plus headset is entirely made of hard plastic, including the earcups, headband and headband yoke, which integrates a swivel/folding joint that allows you to rotate the earcups flat as well as fold the earcups inwards. The BuddyPhones Cosmo Plus uses a traditional ratchet style sliding headband, which is made of plastic and reinforced with a metal aluminum band.

The Cosmo Plus earcups can be tilted almost 90 degrees, which is a huge range of motion compared to most headphones. The Cosmo+ earpads are made of cushiony thick padding covered with soft protein leather. The oval shaped inner hole measures 5.5cm high and 4cm wide with a 1.5cm depth housing the 40mm dynamic drivers (32 ohms). The drivers are protected with thick padding with R and L markings to differentiate the right and left audio channels. The outer of the earpad measures 9cm high and 8cm wide.

The top of the headband is covered with cloth fabric that looks like dotted swiss fabric material. The underside of the headband is covered with protein leather, which has colorful stitching diagonally across it. The padding on the headband isn't thick like on the earpads but, it provides adequate support. The front side of the earcups are made of a thick layer of glossy plastic with a theme imprint of a unicorn and rainbow. Other themes are available too.

The Cosmo Plus headset has visual branding with the word"BuddyPhones" etched on the underside and the word "onanoff engraved on the outside of the headband. Onanoff is actually the brand manufacturing these headphones. The Cosmo Plus headset can be connected wireless and wired, thanks to a 3.5mm audio port, which is passive, meaning the headset will work when the internal battery runs out. This is worth pointing out because it isn't the case with all bluetooth/wired headphones. With some bluetooth headphones, the audio port is active so, it requires power from the battery to work. The active noise cancellation feature also works in wired mode and, you can also listen to audio (in wired mode) while the headphones are charging. You cannot listen to audio and charge the headphones at the same time in bluetooth mode. 

The Cosmo Plus headset uses a bluetooth 5.0 chip, which supports 10 meters wireless range, as well as absolute bluetooth volume and AAC codec. AptX and SBC codecs are not supported nor is multipoint pairing connection. Like most wireless over-ear headphones, the BuddyPhones Cosmo Plus has user controls on-board the earcups. 

On the left earcup, there is the boom mic USB-C connection port, battery/pairing status led and three rubber buttons for controlling calls and audio playback (play/pause, track skipping and volume). The three rubber buttons are located inline with the middle button being slightly recessed over the other two, making it easy to identify the buttons without looking. The buttons are responsive and have a subtle clicky actuation.

On the right earcup, there is a dual purpose 3.5mm jack, an anc rubber button with built-in status led and the "studymode" switch, which is made of plastic and works just like on the School+ Wireless version. The dual purpose audio port is designed for wired mode and daisy chain connection for the BuddyLink feature, which is a neat little feature you won't find on most headphones on the market. This allows someone else to connect their headphones into the Cosmo Plus so, you can both listen to the same audio at the same time.

A bendable boom arm microphone is included. It measures 11.5cm long and stays bent whichever way you bend it. It attaches to the headset via a snug USB-C connection that stays securely in place. Despite the smooth soft rubber finish of the plug, removing the boom mic is easy (even with sweaty fingers), thanks to the small ridge on the underside of the plug, which allows a firm grip between the fingers. The tip of mic concealing the omnidirectional microphone is made of hard plastic. The microphone delivers clear calls, although it naturally picks up background noise. 

Speaking of noise, the BuddyPhones Cosmo Plus uses feedback active noise cancellation, which means it uses one mic per earcup to cancel noise. Being feedback, the mics are located inside the earcup rather than on the outside like feedforward anc. There is also hybrid anc designs, which uses both feedback and feedforward mics. 

The Cosmo Plus feedback anc design has some advantages such as not picking up wind noise like feedforward anc headsets do. The performance of feedback anc is usually suited for "bassy" type noises of low frequency but, thanks to the superb passive noise isolation of the earcups, the noise cancellation is able to perform better than expected, suppressing some higher frequencies too that are constant (e.g. fan noise).

Battery life with anc turned on is 23 hours (at 50% volume) and, up to 39 hours with anc turned off, which is very good performance compared to other headsets. Charging time is 3 hours. There is no quick charge support. As far as the audio quality, it depends on the settings. The best sound performance is achieved in travel mode and with studymode switched off, which basically cuts out the bass response. Having anc enabled also boosts the bass, making the sound more dynamic and immersive. Vocals and treble notes sound clear. Once the headphones are connected, the status led will flash blue every 30 seconds.

Accessories include two sets of unbranded cables: a meter-long charging cable (USB-A to USB-C) as well as a 3.5mm male to male audio cable (1.1 meter long). While the cables are unbranded, they have a nice quality feel with soft rubberized plugs. The audio cable weighs 13 grams. The charging cable weighs 18 grams. The travel case weighs 140 grams and the boom mic weighs 8 grams. The Cosmo Plus headset weighs weigh 223 grams, which noticeable more lightweight than regular over-ear headphones.

The BuddyPhones Cosmo Plus headphones come packaged inside a hard cardboard box and hardshell travel carry case, which is made of soft rubbery material and lined with soft microfiber fabric. Internally, the case has one elastic close-knit mesh pocket for storing cables. The Cosmo Plus travel case features embossed "buddyphones" lettering on one side and the logo of a child's face on the other side. The metal slider has a rubber pull tab with the word "onanoff" engraved on it. The travel case also integrates a D-ring for attaching a lanyard clip (not included). The zip has a reverse coil design; hence the teeth are concealed by the fabric seam, which provides some water resistance. You can buy the BuddyPhones Cosmo+ headset from amazon and BuddyPhones website.

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