Tough Tested Pro-Comm Neckband Review
I've had this neckband for several months now and have been meaning to write a review. Certainly items that have a brand name of “Tough Tested” I feel should be used for a while before writing any type of review, otherwise how else can I say it truly is tough and durable over the long haul. Thankfully, Tom Buske, the big guy in charge over at Tough Tested, is patient while we wear, use, and literally try to break his objects. How fun is it to be part of a demolition team!
Let's start with the specs first.
- Heavy-Duty rubberized design with comfortable, flexible neck band
- Bluetooth 4.1 for longer range and battery life
- 100 hours standby/10 hours talk time/Up to 20 hours music play time
- Noise reduction rating (NRR) of 23db
- Audio/voice streaming with multiple voice commands: Pairing/Headset on-off/Low battery/Headset out of range/Device paired
This product deviates from previous headsets in that it is a neckband style, rather than over-the-head style. If you are active, wear a hat, or like to use your headphones for listening to music, audio books, etc... when you are relaxing, then a neckband style is usually much more comfortable.
Outside of aesthetics and comfort, the Tough Tested Pro-Comm Neckband features 10x noise canceling technology. What does this mean? It means that when you are using these during work, the background noise of traffic, CB radio, talking from nearby people, etc... are blocked or reduced so the person you are talking to on the phone can hear you loud and clear. This headset touts a 23db noise reduction that really performs.
The mic is inline and picks up your voice from your ears. To some of you that may seem strange, but this is tested technology that really works. Consider all the movies you see with special military ops with ear buds and/or a special band around their neck. No that isn't Hollywood magic, that is long-standing technology.
The ear buds are a soft, mold-able memory foam with either standard shaped tips or a diminishing tree style tips. For someone like me, with a long-standing latex allergy due to years in the medical field this is positively wonderful! Even silicon ear tips cause me discomfort after a while because of years of exposure the latex allergy has progressed to include many silicon items as well because of their amalgamation. These memory foam tips are super soft and comfortable without any allergic reaction, even after sleeping with them in my ears all night.
The earbuds are attached to the neckband by Kevlar wrapped wires that prevents tangling and breakage. The tips themselves have strong magnets on the backs that will hold them in place to the ends of the neckband (or each other) when not in use, to also prevent coiling and wear and tear.
The actual neckband part is a soft, flexible rubber that rests lightly along the back of your neck. The controls can be found on the sides of the neckband right below your ears. Control buttons include a center power button, volume up and down, and on the inside of the headband is the USB port for charging and a button to activate the external speakers on the neckband.
The Bad: As with all Tough Tested headsets, this neckband style does not seem to like my voice. But I don't take it personal. I have a soft, high pitched voice that doesn't work well with noise canceling technology. While people can hear me better on these than any of the other headsets by Tough Tested, I still get occasional complaints of sounding muffled and far off. When Allen has used the neckband headset he is heard just fine. So unless you have a voice similar to mine, you should have no problems in using these for communication.
After months of use, and quite literally sleeping with them almost every night, the woven Kevlar that is wrapped around the wires has started to loosen and the wire is bulging out, like a hernia, right at the connection point to the neckband. Considering the amount of use these babies have gotten from me, I feel this is a minor thing as it doesn't effect the functionality of the product, and especially considering the length of time and amount of abuse they've received.
The Good: Honestly, other than the fact noise-canceling technology doesn't like my voice, these headphones are phenomenal! I can't rave enough about how comfortable they are, from the wrap-around neck style to the memory foam ear tips, this headset is super comfortable. When I say I sleep with them every night, I'm not kidding. I'm a life-long suffer of insomnia. Add in sleeping in a semi truck with my significant other, two dogs, and the outside noises of trucks idling, refer units, road or weather noise, and it can take me hours and hours to fall asleep. I've been using these at night with a guided meditation app and binaural beats to help me fall asleep, and it works. The earbuds rest soft and comfortable in my ears. I can't even feel the neck band, and I don't have to fight with regular headphones or their over-the-head style falling off. Because this headset uses earbuds, they fit snugly and block out background noise effectively. The behind the neck style with earbuds stay comfortably in place even when I flip and flop around in bed.
The external speakers are found on the wide flat ends of the neckband. If you just want to listen to music or what ever without the earbuds in your ears, then these little speakers work well. They put out decent quality, albeit not very loud, sound. However, using them as a form of “speaker phone” when talking to someone doesn't work too well. Conversational voice doesn't translate clearly through these speakers and the feedback causes both you and the person you are speaking with to have a difficult time in understanding each other. From personal experience, the external speakers seem better fitted for casual entertainment rather than actual conversation. If you need to talk with someone, use the earbuds and switch from speaker to earbuds by pressing the little button on the inside of the neckband.
Battery life is another bonus for the Pro-Comm neckband. After a full charge I can use this for several nights in a row before having to charge again. The Bluetooth pairs easily to my Samsung phone
Overall, I would give the Tough Tested Pro-Comm Neckband a solid A+ rating. If you are looking for a durable, comfortable, multi-use headset, then you can't go wrong with these.