Good, portable headphones are hard to come by.
Most of the great headphones out there aren't all that portable. Even with collapsible sides, many still take up quite a bit of space in your bag. That makes bringing decent headphones with you when you also plan on bringing your VR headset with you filling even more space when you go around every day. You could go earbuds, or you could take a look at some smarter headphones.
After spending a couple of weeks with the Fiil Diva headphones, it's clear these are the headphones VR fans should be looking at for their next audio fix.
Fiil headphones are strange. They're on-ear headphones with more buttons than most, but none of them control the volume or let you skip tracks on whatever you are listening to. For those functions, there's a touch panel on the right headphone surface. These physical buttons are instead used for controlling noise filtering modes, of which there are three. The standard setup is for there to be no interference on behalf of the headset, which means you hear what you'd normally hear with something covering your ears. Slide that button back and you get full noise cancellation, totally immersing yourself in whatever it is you are doing. Slide that button forward, and the microphones on the headset activate and let you hear what is happening in the world around you.
These are small details Fiil nails with their design, making the great all around headphones you can enjoy basically everywhere.
Each of these modes has a place, and all of them are significant. Full noise cancellation in VR means you hear nothing but the world you're current wandering through. Audio passthrough means you can enjoy the VR experience without worrying about someone casually wandering up to you and messing with you. It also means you can play games like Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes with headphones on, which is a much better experience.
Stepping beyond noise filtering, Fiil offers 3D audio in its software. This creates virtualized echo, the kind you'd head if your speakers were in a small room or an auditorium. It's a small thing that is supposed to add depth to music, but in 360-degree video it can help you feel more like you're watching in an actual theater instead of a virtual one.
The most important part of the Fiil Diva headphones is that they're only wireless when you want them to be. The included 3.5mm headphone jack means you can have lag-free wired audio when playing in VR, and can switch back to wireless when listening to music or watching movies. The microphone on the headset is plenty capable as well, should you decide to make a phone call while wearing these headphones. These are small details Fiil nails with their design, making the great all around headphones you can enjoy basically everywhere.
Since these are wireless headphones, it's good to know the included app offers a battery meter. It's even better to know you'll basically never use it. These headphones have routinely survived multiple days of extended use with no problem. The only downside to this is that the headphones are on-ear and not over-the-ear, which means the pressure from the headphones can cause soreness around your ears after extended usage.
Fiil headphones are not currently available to purchase, but can be pre-ordered through Kickstarter. Unlike most Kickstarter campaigns, Fiil already has a product that works well and plans to be shipping soon. These are headphones well worth taking a closer look at if you're considering new headphones to accompany your mobile VR lifestyle, and it doesn't hurt that they feel like they came from the future in the process.