Pros: Good sound quality for the price; highly portable; aesthetically pleasing; comfortable; noise cancelling is decent for the price range
Cons: Poorly constructed, basically guaranteed to fall apart. Customer support won't help you when they DO fall apart. They do not honor their warranty.
When I first bought these headphones, I was reasonably happy with them. The sound quality was good for the price. Drums sounded a little flat, not quite giving that pleasing snare "pop" that pricier headphones give, and the clarity wasn't perfect, but for the price range, these sounded about as good as you'd expect. The noise cancelling, while certainly not revolutionary, was pretty darn good as well.
They are also some of the most comfortable headphones I've ever worn, and I can see how the folding design would be convenient for some. I personally never traveled with these (I'll get to that later) but I can see how they'd be convenient for such an activity. They came with many accessories (spare battery, spare cable, chargers for about every type of outlet you could imagine) and the carrying case. The case itself is sort of medium-duty plastic/canvas, a nice compromise between flimsy canvas/foam cases and the could-stop-a-bullet hard cases that some headphones come with.
Overall, these seemed like a pretty solid entry into the sub-$300 high-quality headphone market. But somewhere along the line this manufacturer screwed up, and screwed up pretty bad.
Now, before I get to this next part, let me quickly explain something. I've built my own PCs and partaken in do-it-yourself electronics for many years, and I'm well aware that expensive technical equipment is not meant to be manhandled. I treated these headphones the same way that I treat every other piece of pricey electronic equipment I own: Very, very gently. I used them very minimally and was always quite careful with them when I had them out of the case.
So imagine my surprise when one day, as I went to put these on, they more or less exploded in my hands. As I picked them up, a small metal disk about a quarter inch in length fell out of them and onto my desk. Apparently that tiny piece of metal was all that was holding these things together, because the second it fell out, the left earphone immediately became disconnected from the central head piece, rendering these a completely unusable mess.
Now, that's just plain wrong. When I pay $300 for something I expect it to be built to last, not just fall apart one day after ten months of extremely gentle use. Seriously, they were sitting in their case on my desk for 99% of that time period, and sitting gently on my head for the other 1%. I pity anyone who thinks they would be able to use these as travel headphones. I would bet money that they'd snap in half like a twig after three weeks.
The sad thing is, that's not even the worst part of this story. The worst part was what happened when I contacted Phiaton's customer support and sent these in to get repaired. They were still under a limited warranty (the warranty lasts for one year from the date of purchase, and I'd only owned them for ten months) so I expected that they'd be repaired for free--since, you know, that's what RESPECTABLE companies do when a product that is still under limited warranty breaks for no apparent reason.
But that's not what Phiaton did. After receiving the headphones, they told me that I could not get a free repair under the one-year warranty because their technicians "could not verify that the damage was caused by a manufacturing defect," and that the repair was going to cost me a total of $50 after shipping.
Oh my. I don't even know where to begin, but let's start with some basic English, shall we? The word "defect" means: A flaw or imperfection in an object. Now, I assume that the headphones were not intentionally designed to fall apart, so in my book, the fact that they DID fall apart means that they were defective, i.e. they did not do what they were designed to do. Seems like a pretty basic idea to me, but apparently something about it is lost on Phiaton's "technicians." I can't stress enough that I treated these things even better than an average headphone enthusiast would treat them, and they just up and decided to die one day.
The whole thing just seemed so ridiculous to me. As I said, I've been dealing with electronics for quite a while, so inevitably, I've had my share of customer support run-ins, RMAs, and repairs. But this is the first time I've ever had a manufacturer so flatly refuse to honor their own warranty. It's not even the fact that they wanted to charge me $50 (I'm not a cheapskate by any means). It's the fact that their warranty OBLIGATES them to repair this free of charge, and they basically just told me to pay 50 bucks or buzz off.
Needless to say I told them that they could either honor their warranty, uphold their obligation as a company, and repair their defective product free of charge, or lose a customer. I informed them that I have plenty of money to spend and I'll gladly spend it on a different brand if necessity dictates it. I received a heated reply in which they basically told me that the headphones were broken due to "misuse," and therefore were not covered by the warranty. As if my hobby is buying $260 pairs of headphones and then using them as a doorstop. For God's sake. These people will go to a disturbingly great length to deny that something is their fault, rather than just manning up and admitting that their headphones broke of their own volition. It is absurd. When you make a product, you are responsible for its good qualities as well as its flaws. If you live in America, maybe you've seen those Dominoes pizza commercials where they say "consumers told us that Dominoes pizza was of poor quality, so we listened to them and tried our hardest to fix it." That's how a company SHOULD react to criticism, folks: It's called "grace." It's called "fixing your mistakes." It's called "appealing to your target market." But apparently Phiaton would rather take credit for its good qualities and blame the flaws on its customers.
I realize this review is quite lengthy, and I'm not sure if anyone's gotten this far, but to sum the whole thing up: Do not buy these headphones. They have decent sound quality and decent noise cancelling capabilities, but in terms of durability, they're built no better than $15 generic brand headphones. They WILL break, and don't expect any help from the manufacturer when that happens, because they don't even uphold the warranty that they claim to offer. Sound quality and aesthetics account for about a third of what people look for in high-quality headphones; at this price point, Phiaton has those two things, but they're missing the other 66% of the equation: A design that doesn't spontaneously fall apart, warranty, customer support that supports customers, and overall, lasting value. How this company is still in business is a genuine mystery to me.