ISOTUNES Link Aware Review Hearing Protector Headphones

Friday, July 21, 2023

Introducing the new ISOtunes LINK Aware - an over-ear headphone style hearing protector that's here to keep your ears safe and aware throughout the day. It integrates "Aware Technology" - same tech found on the FREE Aware earbuds - designed to shield you from dangerous noises while allowing you to communicate with people and hear the world around you. It's like having super ears that listen to everything!
The Aware Technology (a.k.a Level-dependant) works essentially like ANC headphones with ambient/transparency mode. It uses specialized omnidirectional microphones to pick up outside sounds, like people talking and warning signals, and then vary the sound amplification while simultaneously protecting your ears from loud and potentially harmful noises.

The external sound processing is all done automatically, analyzing the intensity of these sounds and adjusting their volume accordingly before transmitting them to your ears. In turn, LINK Aware maintains safe and comfortable hearing levels, while still allowing you to be aware of important sounds, such as speech, warning signals, or approaching vehicles. It's like having a magical sound enhancer for your ears! LINK Aware also feature onboard volume buttons, so you can choose how loud you want the sounds to be. It's like being the boss of your own hearing magic!

In terms of construction, LINK Aware is made of green plastic partially rubberized with black trim. The onboard earcup buttons are also rubber and feature tone feedback and loud clicky actuation. You can accept calls (answer/end), play/pause, control the volume of the music and the volume of the external mics. As far as audio quality, it is good for a hearing protector but not on par with audio focused headsets; hence LINK Aware isn't suitable for stereo or gaming. The call quality is good. The mic picks your voice loud and clear, while suppressing unwanted noises from the call.

The earcups integrate metal wire hinges for tilting. The tilting mechanism has a wide range of motion designed to allow you to fold the earcups inwards to reduce the footprint. The LINK Aware earcups do not swivel; hence you cannot rotate the earcups flat. The earpads springy foam is covered with thick soft rubber material. Inner hole dimensions: 4cm wide x 6.5cm high x 1.5cm deep. Outer hole dimensions: 10cm high x 7.5cm wide. The drivers are covered with thick breathable mesh padding.

The LINK Aware earpads can be detached, which is great should you need to replace them. The earpads are comfortable and provide superb noise isolation, which has the added benefit of minimizing sound leakage (see video). The headband (5cm wide) is aerated and wide but has no padding, although it is entirely made of flexible rubber, which provides some cushioning. There is no inner band inside the headband; hence no head height adjustment. Above the earcups, you also find thick rubber cabling coming out of the top. There is no visible status leds on the earcups; hence no flashing bluetooth light. The only led light is the charging light led, which is hidden under the rubber cover.

LINK Aware are battery-powered via a rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack located on the left earcup. The battery pack is removeable, allowing you to replace it. You can even use AAA batteries to power LINK Aware. Battery life is 10 hours with a charging time of 3 hours. Accessing the battery pack is super easy. The earcup outer panel simply slides off, allowing you to gain access to the battery compartment. Would have been neat if LINK Aware had a 3.5mm jack for wired audio but it doesn't so, you can only use them wirelessly.

LINK Aware isn't designed for wet conditions but has an IPX4 water rating, which means this hearing protector can only withstand splashing water. Despite the low protection though, the charging port is protected by a rubber cover, which is good.

Potential deal breakers
  • Limited noise isolation in consistently loud environments
  • Uses Bluetooth 4.2 instead of the latest version (Bluetooth 5.3)
  • No overcharge/voltage protection
  • Heavier/bulkier than FREE Aware earbuds
  • Earcups don't swivel
  • Low IPX4 water protection
  • No head adjustment
  • No dust protection
  • Micro USB connectivity
  • Exposed earcup cabling
  • Battery pack replacement not available
  • Doesn't support wired audio
  • No bluetooth multipoint connectivity
  • Doesn't support AAC audio

Selling points
  • Level-dependent Aware Technology™ for protection and awareness
  • Removeable battery pack
  • Voice prompts
  • Volume limited to 85dB
  • Passthrough audio whlist charging
  • Audible beep when reaching max volume
  • Absolute bluetooth volume
  • Aerated rubber headband
  • Replaceable memory foam earpads
  • On-earcup buttons
  • Thick PU leather earpads
  • Can be worn with glasses
  • Good sonding mic for calls
  • Loud clicky buttons
  • Adjustable ambient/transparency mode
  • Long battery life
  • Works with battery pack and AAA batteries
  • Noise-isolating microphone for calls
  • Compatible with Siri/Google Voice assistant
  • Certified hearing protection with a 30 dB SNR rating
  • 1-year warranty/ 30-day money back

Overall, LINK Aware is a solid solution for anyone working in places with loud noises like a workshop where people use hammers or nail guns. The Aware Technology makes noises quieter, like magic, while still letting you hear safe sounds loud and clear. If you're in a really loud place all the time, like with lawn mowers or sanders, the LINK Aware will keep all the sounds out until they get quieter. It's like having a magical mute button for your ears!  This is the main selling point of LINK Aware over ANC headphones, which makes noises unsafely quiet in dangerous work environments. You can buy ISOTunes LINK Aware from amazon.

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