Review: Scosche RH1060 Realm Bluetooth Headphones
Scosche's new RH1060 ($200) is the latest in the company's Realm series of headphones, styled similarly to Beats by Dre products but with equivalent or superior sound at lower price points. Using Bluetooth 2.1 for wireless connectivity with iOS devices, RH1060 comes packaged with a eight-hour rechargeable battery and USB cable for refueling, and can also operate in a traditional wired audio mode with an included 3.5mm cable -- sound is virtually identical in wireless and wired modes. A nice semi-hard carrying case, cleaning cloth and carabiner hook are also in the package. When we first heard the headphones at the 2013 International CES, their quality was high enough to earn them a Best of Show Finalist Award. Now they're actually shipping, and at $30 less than the originally projected price.
Physically, RH1060 is almost identical to 2011’s fully wired model RH1056m. The dimensions and the materials are the same, and so is the shape. Scosche uses a combination of glossy black plastic all along the outside, soft-touch matte plastic inside, a cushioned pad at the top, and chrome accents. Instead of half-inch holes in the center of the ear cups, this newer version has 1.25-inch plastic buttons. On the left is one large power button—required solely for wireless mode—while the right side is split into play/pause (one-half of the button), and volume up and down (one-quarter, each) controls. The only other external difference is that the audio output port has been moved from the left cup to the right, and it’s paired with a Micro-USB charging port. There’s also a microphone, allowing you to place phone calls and use Siri. RH1060 folds in on itself when not in use.
These headphones are substantially similar to their predecessor in terms of audio quality. Active noise cancellation is still missing, but the large, over-the-ear design does passively block out some of the sound that would otherwise be making its way to your ears; they’re comfortable, too. Scosche has built one 40mm speaker driver into each of the cups, delivering sound that is best described as bass- and midrange-forward — particularly well-suited to hip hop and dance tracks. We might give a slight edge to RH1056m in terms of high-end performance, but it’s a very small difference. Wireless mode sounds almost the same as wired mode: as with all Bluetooth headsets we’ve tested, you’ll have to deal with a very quiet hiss in the background during silences in wireless playback, but the sound is otherwise nearly indistinguishable from wired mode. We noted, however, that a quiet series of high pitched beeps could randomly be heard when audio wasn’t playing. Voice quality was not quite as clear as speaking directly through the iPhone, but it’s still good; our test caller said he was still able to make out everything we were saying, without issue.
RH1060 offers the same general level of audio performance as RH1056m, with the added benefit of wireless streaming, for $30 less than the price of the original when it launched almost two years ago. You’ll be hard-pressed to find headphones of this style, with this feature set and overall industrial design quality, for a lower price. The overall audio doesn’t quite qualify as great, however, and that’s why these headphones earn a B+ rating. They’re a very good option for those who like the big, Beats-inspired style of headphones and are interested in reducing the need for wires.