Maximo iP-HS2 iMetal Isolation Headset for iPhone
At a Glance
The iPhone version of Maximo's iM-490S, the iP-HS2 iMetal Isolation Headset for iPhone is made of aluminum and uses a combination of polished and matte finishes. The small earpieces are light and comfortable, and the black-rubber cable is only moderately noisy. As with Ultimate Ears' Super.fi 4vi, the iP-HS2's microphone and controller pods are separated: the microphone is located in a tiny sphere on the left-earpiece cable; the controller is a large disk positioned at the Y intersection of the cables. The positioning of the controller is convenient, and the large button is the easiest to use of any iPhone headset I've tested. (Despite the large size, the button pod is lightweight.)
Maximo provides three sizes of canalbud-style silicone eartips. I generally find it difficult to get a good seal with this kind of tip, but the iP-HS2 Headset sounded surprisingly good without a perfect seal, an attribute it shares with V-Moda's Vibe Duo, below. You don't get the great treble and midrange detail provided by Ultimate Ears's 4vi, nor do you get as much bass impact as that of the Skullcandy FMJ, but the iP-HS2's overall sound quality is fairly balanced and doesn't offend in any way. Isolation is decent but not great, and the occlusion effect is moderate.
The iP-HS2's microphone was much better than that of Apple's stock headset, offering very clear sound, although just a dad bit worse than that of its sibling iP-HS1, below. Given that the iP-HS1 and iP-HS2 use what appear to be identical microphone components and cables, my theory is that there's a bit of "reverse" cable/occlusion noise going on here: because the iP-HS2's canalbud earpieces fit more-tightly in your ear canals than the iP-HS1's earbuds, vibrations from your voice travel down the iP-HS2's cable and into the microphone, interfering slightly with the audio quality compared to the iP-HS1.
Maximo includes with the iP-HS2 a vinyl-like carrying pouch and a two-foot extension cable (the stock cable is approximately 40 inches long).