Written by Julie Davis
The Samsung Level Over wireless headphones are perfect for highly emotional situations during which you need to tune out everything except your favorite playlist. Situations like getting fired at the beginning of the day and having to clean out your office while some middle manager lurks, making sure you don’t abscond with even a bar of staples. Or breaking up with your live-in, pot-smoking girlfriend who slept on the couch all the time and only made love to you in the dark. That kind of thing.
You can also comfortably wear them running or writing or sitting in a coffee shop–I have done all three–it’s just that what endeared me to them forever was that they were there for me during one of those emo times when I just needed to get unpleasant shit done and not think about it.
Luckily, I was not fired. I quit: gently and under good terms. But when you have to announce you’re leaving in April but don’t leave until June and when it’s a place you’ve worked for eleven years, where you love pretty much everyone, every day for two months is Friday, Friday here being a metonym (look it up) for awkward and/or sad, but in any case emotional, leave-taking. Every day is a near-tear festival of “I love you,” “I love you too–I just need to move in a different direction” (like writing infotainment reviews). The goodbyes were getting to me. I had had my last Friday and just needed to get gone, which involved the tedious task of clearing out my classroom and my office. I needed to be there physically and do the work without being there emotionally, without feeling what I was doing.
The Samsung Level Over headphones were up to the task. I had to intuit the button functions (there are only two buttons), since the editors at Infotainment Experts like to experiment Greatest American Hero style: all equipment, no instructions. It took just moments to sync them up to my iPhone 5c (yellow). I queued up a Rage Against the Machine playlist on Spotify, slipped my phone into my pocket, clapped on the headphones, and started throwing the last eleven years of my life into the trashcan. It was glorious.
It was also a long job–all day–so I can attest to some very good battery life. (I am sure they have way more longevity than I would ever need, but I charge them every night, mostly because I have a hook for them on the wall above my writing desk/outlets and the whole tableau suggests an elevated level of badassery.)
All day I felt that I was in my own little world, even though there were people all around and memories in every task. There are several aspects of these headphones that help to create an instantly insular world on demand. For one, there is no mistaking that you are wearing them and that, even if you were on pause, you would not hear anyone who spoke to you. They are an excellent “do not disturb” sign–on your head, no less, which can’t be missed. Which may still be perceived as rude but is not nearly as rude as all the Bluetooth earpiece warriors who make you think they are talking to you but who are really talking to Tokyo. This here is an honest, forthright set of headphones.
Speaking of honesty, I’ll be honest: Wearing a set of old-school-size headphones makes me feel cool. And by cool I mean black. Which is a big deal for a white girl like me. I never learned how to do the Rerun dance, but when I wear my Samsung Level overs, in my head, I am Rerun. And in a way, this is not just my poorly developed imagination (Why Rerun? Why not Michael Jackson or Usher?) running away with itself: I dance better wearing these phones. The headphones make it feel like the music is coming from me. They cancel out all outside noise and fill all the open space left over completely with music; they essentially renovate my head as a dance club. Even if I am wrong about the improvement in my dancing, they make dancing almost inevitable and way fun! Because they create for the wearer an intimate little world separate from the actual world, everywhere seems as private as those spaces where we drop our self-consciousness and bust a move. Many times that day, doing such adult things, my mind went back to blasting music in my room as a kid, doing windmills on my tennis racket. Could there be a better effect for a simple technology? A better reason to buy? Reclaimed youth: sign me up.
But perhaps, like most Americans, what you really want is reclaimed youth and a jetpack to the future. Well, the Level’s have got your six on that one, too, Maverick. The right ear piece is equipped with a touchpad that allows you to move ahead a track by swiping forward, to move back a track by swiping backwards, to start or stop music (or a call) by tapping the center, and to adjust the volume with a swipe up or down. All of which is bound to make you feel not just like you are in your own world but like you are on another planet, asking Scotty to… you know.
Of course, the track pad takes some getting used to, and until you remember where not to touch yourself, it’s a little annoying. After all, according to the traditional iconography of headphone advertising, what we all instinctively do when rocking out with old-school-sized headphones is grab the ear pieces so that, in our ecstasy, we can bang our heads with abandon. Well, even though I did not feel that instinct, I did feel the need to adjust them every once in a while, especially when I was running (they slipped back a bit, as I have a small head), and touching the earpiece accidentally is not something you want to do. It will interrupt your track and your groove. Once you remember to grab the edges, you’ll be alright, and if you’re considering buying these headphones, you’re probably the type to adjust to new technology pretty quickly.
If you’re also the type to go running or to do any other vigorous activity, the Level Overs are happy to accompany you. I went for a run today in about 83 degrees and developed no ear sweat (ew) from them. More importantly, because the earcups and the headpiece are built for comfort and are therefore super-padded, the headphones do not make any additional noise as your moving body jostles them to and fro.
In sum, buy these headphones; they’ll make you feel cool. They called up for me images of lanky young, hip black men I saw and wanted to be on Yo! MTV Raps back in the day. And as you enjoy the privilege of imagining that you look that cool, you might be inspired–in the precious, glorious solitude of the Level Overs–to think deeply about riddles more complex than your own insatiable materialism or Ralph Hinkley’s red supersuit: how did we become a country in which male blackness represents absolute cool and absolute danger? The Samsung Level Over headphones provide the solitude to either consider that riddle or, should you choose to, block it out.
For more information on the Level Over headphones or any other Samsung products, click here.