As The Verge’s resident headphones obsessive, I should probably be expected to recoil in horror at the sight of a product named Sound Huggle that is two parts earmuffs, one part wireless headphones. It’s like presenting a watch with a clown face to an horology enthusiast. But, as strong as my natural instinct to flee may be, I have to say that I just can’t bring myself to hate these earmuff headphones.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: the Sound Huggle muffs very likely sound like absolute tinny garbage. They’re an Indiegogo project by a young couple, neither of whom is an audio engineer by trade. These are whimsical, cutesy, fun things; their specs and design are defined by knitting patterns and fabric colors, not space-age materials and anechoic-chamber testing. If you opt to fund them, part of your reward package will be “a virtual hug from Sam & Jason.” I guess it really depends on how much schmaltz you can really tolerate in your tech products.
Here’s what I like: at the early-bird price of $117, and should the promised 7-hour battery life prove true, the Sound Huggle are quite a reasonable proposition for wireless headphones that function like perfectly nice earmuffs as well. They work over Bluetooth 4.1 and charge via a MicroUSB cable. Another neat thing: the massive ear cups collapse down to a very compact shape and can be carried around with ease.
I can definitely see the charm and appeal of the various Sound Huggle models, though what I still don’t see is evidence to show that the Sound Huggle creators really know what they’re doing on the electric, wireless, and acoustic fronts. They’re not helping themselves with the shipping date, either: earmuffs are most useful during the winter, but the first Sound Huggle deliveries aren’t expected until March at the earliest.