The Flips concept is that the headphones have ear cups that flip outward. As their "solo2social" tagline implies, these headphones allow a user to easily transition from individual listening to providing a soundtrack for a group.
Having tried a few different (free, cheap conference swaggy-type) speakers for smartphones, you know like a little plastic cup you rest your phone in so the sound can fill a room?, I wasn't expecting much from Flips. But it's not that kind of thing at all.
I was prepared for something muffled or tinny, but the sound quality in speaker mode is good. And while Flips aren't going to replace anyone's high end sound system, they're great for a dorm room, study room or small gathering of friends for which you just want some background music. They plug into phones, tablets and computers. They also have pretty good sound-dampening qualities, which comes in handy when your roommate (or brother) won't turn his music down.
The Flips came in a sleek package that contained another sleek package and another. I eventually found the headphones in their hardshell carrying case. I don't know if my boys would take the time to put the headphones into the case before stuffing the headphones in their backpack, but as a mom, I try to teach them to take care of things and store things away properly, so I appreciate when brands make that easy to do. The storage pod comes with a carabiner, so it's also easy to just attach to a backpack strap or hang.
The headphones are adjustable and comfy with padding in all the right places--meaning every contact surface. I was worried that my boys would flip the ear cups from social mode to personal mode and blow their eardrums, but there's a brief interruption of service when you switch modes and the headphones adjust the volume accordingly.
The unit must be charged in order to operate in speaker mode. I've only had to charge them once (via USB) and it was just for a matter of minutes. A single charge allows for hours of playtime. A blinking blue light in speaker mode indicates the battery is running low.
So what do I think? The photo below says it all. I shot this while my younger son and I were working to make our DIY virtual reality headset, Google Cardboard (it's awesome!). I didn't pose him or tell him to wear the headphones. He just sort of made them his own (as my boys are wont to do with my stuff).
It's fine though. The Flips are ideal for kids his age as well as tweens. I think these are especially suited for college students.
Flips retail for about $120, at the time I write this, they're selling for about $10 less on Amazon.
You can read about the other headphones we recently reviewed here.