Review: RF3 iFit Earhook RF3-212s
Company: RF3/Markarl Enterprises
Compatible: iPhone, iPhone 3G
Developed by a previously unknown company named RF3, the iFit series of Earhook-style earphones are billed as healthy cellular phone earphones, designed with six-way adjustable earpieces and a shielding technology to reduce emitted cell phone radiation to low levels. One of the versions, the RF3-212s ($40), is a single earphone with an integrated microphone, the pieces connected by an odd bit of surgical-style wireless blue tubing, while the other -- not named on its packaging -- has two earphones connected with white wireless surgical tubing to a microphone and a retractable cable. Both use iPhone-compatible headphone plugs, and the earpieces include twisting earbuds, stems that open and close, and extendable pipes.
After testing the RF3-212 with the iPhone 3G, we’ve opted not to issue a full rating at this time. The pitch behind the product is that it reduces the specific absorption rate (SAR) of a phone to 0.009W/kg, with the FCC allowing a maximum of 1.6W/kg, Canada’s Industry Canada permitting the same, and the European Union permitting 2.0W/kg. The original iPhone puts out a maximum of 0.974 at the ear, or 0.694 at a distance of 5/8” from the body, with the iPhone 3G at a maximum of 1.388 at the ear, and 1.030 at a distance of 5/8” from the body. Both devices operate below their maximums in many of their transmitting modes. As such, if the RF3-212 performs as promised, it significantly decreases the SAR of both iPhones’ transmissions, but not by as much as the maximums might lead you to believe.
We do not have a way of testing the radiation levels of the iPhones alone, when used with the RF3 products, or when used with other products such as Apple’s included headphones, thus, our only comment regarding them is this: they sound fine and work like other handsfree kits, minus the connecting wire from the device’s port directly to your ear. While we wouldn’t pick either of these headsets for audio fidelity or looks, they may be safer than other wired or wireless listening solutions out there. If you are concerned about radiation exposure, we recommend looking at http://www.fcc.gov/oet/rfsafety/ for additional information.