BuddyPhones School Plus Wireless Version Review Volume Limited On-Ear Headphones

Wednesday, September 15, 2021


Music, watching videos and playing games are three sure ways to keep little ones busy and entertained while you get on with your own stuff! With the aid of a tablet, you can simultanously accomplish all three and allow the child freedom to do what they want until their heart's content. At some point though, you will have to get the child a pair of headphones, just to stop disturbing and irritating you!

Volume limited headphones such as the BuddyPhones School Plus Wireless (pictured) are a must if you care about the child's hearing and your own sanity. The BuddyPhones School Plus Wireless integrate a child friendly volume control that you can set to a specific volume level. This is done via the volume buttons, which lets you activate three different volume limited modes: toddler mode (capped at 75dB), kids mode (capped at 85dB) and travel mode (capped at 94dB).

The volume limiting feature also works in wired mode, although it seems you have to use the included cable. If you use a third-party cable, the volume limiting feature does not work in wired mode. Toddler mode is the quietest, which is worth noting because being on-ear style, the School+ headphones offer very little passive noise isolation, which means in toddler mode the audio is a bit difficult to hear while in a car or somewhere with lots of noise.

The BuddyPhones School Plus Wireless uses a bluetooth 5.0 chip that supports standard bluetooth and absolute bluetooth volume so, you can control the volume of the source device. There is no aptX, SBC or AAC codec support nor multipoint connection, which means the BuddyPhones School Plus cannot be connected to two simulatanous devices at the same time. The latency isn't as perceivable when streaming videos via YouTube but it is when gaming, specially online games.

The BuddyPhones School Plus headphones are equipped with three physical buttons on-board the left earcup. The buttons are large, spaced out and made of plastic shaped symbols (plus, minus and circle) so, they're easy to identify. The buttons have a loud clicky actuation and work well, although they have a slight delayed response, which makes the buttons not as responsive.

The studymode swich (on right earcup) works just like on the BuddyPhones Cosmo Plus version, supressing so the vocal range stands out. When studymode is enabled, you will hear an audible beep. There is also various female voice prompts such as power on/off and battery level, which is a neat useful feature that even more expensive headphones do not have. When max volume is reached, you will also hear an audible beep.

The BuddyPhones School Plus are on-ear style headphones with donut shaped earpads, which are removeable. The small opening measures 2.5cm in diameter, while the outer measures 6cm in diameter. The earcup depth is 1cm and the driver is covered with a thin layer of mesh fabric. The 1cm thick earpad padding is covered with soft breathable fabric material. As far as comfort, they are designed to rest on the ear so, they are as comfortable as any on-ear headphones. 

If you don't like headphones pressing against the sides of the ears, you should probably go for the BuddyPhones Cosmo Plus, which are over-ear headphones. That said, the BuddyPhones School Plus does have some advantages. It's less bulky and lightweight (only 149 grams) compared to the Cosmo+ headset which weighs 223 grams. The School+ headset also doesn't completely shut off the outside world, which is good for situational awareness.

In term of sound quality, the BuddyPhones School Plus are equipped with the same 40mm (32ohm) dynamic drivers as the Cosmo+, which deliver good overall sound, although the sound signature is very different. Being on-ear style, the stereo sound stage reproduction is less natural and not as wide as the BuddyPhones Cosmo Plus. The bass isn't as punchy either but this is a basic characteristic of on-ear style headphones.

The BuddyPhones School Plus cannot be used while charging in bluetooth mode but, you can use them while charging in wired mode. TheSchool+ headset can also be used in wired mode when the internal battery runs out. Speaking of battery, the School+ headset charges in 4 hours via USB-C connection and delivers 20 hous of runtime in the lowest setting (toddler mode/75dB) and 19 hours battery life in travel mode (94dB). There are three large status leds below the 3.5mm port. These leds feedback bluetooth connection, battery status and volume limiting modes. The leds also flash every few seconds when connected via bluetooth.

An 8cm long detachable boom arm is included (weighs 8 grams). It has an a clear sounding omni-directional microphone with noise supression to drown out some background noise. The School Plus boom arm connects to the headphones via the 3.5mm port, which is dual purpose (boom mic and BuddyLink). You can connect the boom mic or another pair of headphones so, someone else can listen to the same audio. The boom arm is made of flexible rubber that can be bent at any angle. The tip of the microphone is made of plastic. The entire headset is also made of plastic, including the earcup yoke, folding hinge and headband sliding band, which makes a ratchet-like noise when adjusted. The earcups do not swivel flat.

The School Plus sliding band extends out pretty wide to suit 3 year to 8 year olds. The headband is 4cm wide and has thin padding underneath and slightly thicker padding on top of it, which is odd. The headband padding is covered with dotted cloth material. The earcup yokes have plenty of tilting range. A 17cm long charging cable and a 1.2 meter long flat audio cable (3.5mm male to male) are included. Both cables are unbranded but they are made of soft rubbery material, including the plug connectors.

Inside the box, there is also a thin drawstring cloth pouch with a ball cordlock stopper and stickers to attach to the earcups. The School Plus Wireless version is not to be confused with the original School Plus, which is a wired-only headset. The School Plus Wireless version supports wired and bluetooth connectivity, You can buy the School Plus Wireless from BuddyPhones

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