Let’s start this thing off with the mechanical aspects of the KitSound Manhattan. Build quality itself is quite good, there’s no wobble in the hinges where the headset folds for easy storage when travelling or simply not in use and the sliding sections are spot on between firm enough to keep to the right size adjustment and not being too firm so that they’re not difficult to operate. The padding on the headband is minimal though and combined with very firm pads on the ear cups it makes for some discomfort if you plan on wearing these for many hours… that said, though, I was able to fall asleep wearing them and woke up with them still in place and we’re only talking slight discomfort from the pressure. Covering the padding is a leather type material which makes for easy cleaning.
Operation is very simple – you can choose between using them for audio playback only with the included and rather neat USB to 3.5mm jack cable, but it’s a basic cable, 1.5m long and neither braided nor gold plated. Pairing over Bluetooth is as simple as you would want it to be; flip the switch and search for the Manhattan on your phone or PC then connect. Once paired you have full access to the onboard microphone as well as audio controls for volume and track adjustment.
Sound quality as a headphone is rather good for its size and weight (it’s very light). There’s no pounding bass which is to be expected but the clarity of the sound makes up for it for things like pop, classical and jazz which were the inspiration for the device.
What lets the KitSound Manhattan down though is the quality in headset mode with the mic active. It seems to lose about 75% of clarity over Skype and calls sounding like a very bad analogue phone line from the 1970s rather than a 21st Century piece of technology and although the quality of the microphone is passable but could be a lot better.