Company: Griffin Technology
Compatible: All iPads, iPhones + iPods
Griffin Crayola MyPhones + MyPhones Earbuds
Revealed at CES in January and released in late April, Griffin's kid-friendly MyPhones ($25) and MyPhones Earbuds ($15) offer parents two options for combining Crayola coloring and headphone listening. We've opted not to give either a full review, but we did want to update this First Look with additional details.
The larger of the two is MyPhones, on-the-ear style plastic headphones available in either pink/purple or blue/green color combinations. Each package includes a number of colorful, pre-designed stickers, as well as several blank ones and three markers to color them in, allowing for kids’ customization. Griffin bundles red, blue, and green Crayolas with the blue and green headphones, and pink, purple, and yellow markers with the pink and purple headphones. The stickers are easy to apply and remove without adhesive residue, and the markers are washable, remaining permanent on standard paper but rubbing off easily from laminated or other coated surfaces.
MyPhones are very specifically designed to fit on small-sized heads, and have only enough room in their expanding headbands to accommodate pre-teens or small-sized teens. They produce flat, moderately-distorted and midrange-focused sound that adults wouldn’t find particularly appealing, but isn’t surprising for the low price point.
By comparison, the MyPhones Earbuds are in-canal earphones that could conceivably be worn by a broader range of users. These are offered in green, blue, pink, or purple versions, and look sort of like a crayon is sticking through your head when they’re in your ears—the right bud looks like the tip, and the left like the back. Three sets of rubber tips are included for different ear sizes, surprisingly small/medium/large rather than extra-small/small/medium, and a Crayola crayon-shaped carrying case holds the earbuds and extra tips, though not the cabling.
We weren’t particularly impressed by either the sound or the fit of the MyPhones Earbuds, which are bass-heavy and flat, with rubber cabling coming down from the earbuds in a place that made them tug out of our ears—children with smaller ears may have different and possibly better experiences. Despite boasting “built-in volume-limiting circuitry,” both the MyPhones and MyPhones Earbuds can still be turned up to peak volume levels that aren’t really safe for kids, though you really need to turn the volume up to max before that happens; at 80% or lower, they’re definitely not as loud as most headphones or earphones would be.
You can decide for yourself whether either of these designs works for your child’s needs. We view the Crayola co-branding as neat, though the price points are very low by headphone standards, leading to sub-par sonic quality and limited comfort in the designs. Many kids won’t know or care about this at all—they may like or love the customization of the headphones and the look of the earbuds—so it’s really a question of whether the Crayola theme is enough to make up for otherwise so-so performance.