Aiaiai is a Danish headphones and earphones brand that creates creative and minimalistic products not only hipsters, but everyone can enjoy. The Aiaiai Swirl are in-ear earphones with the most simplistic design I have ever encountered when it comes to earphones. The Urbanears Plattan headphones come to mind when I think about minimalistic design. Besides the clean looks, the Swirl was built to last with the most durable materials made to withstand your heavy everyday music routine. I always appreciate it when portable accessories are developed with thought and a lot of attention to detail. The big questions is though, can the Swirl deliver a solid package? This and much more in the full review right after the cut!
The Aiaiai Swirl earphones have been around for a few years now and developed little by little over time. This is the most latest Swirl model out of Aiaiai. You will find the Swirl in 4 different colors for €70, or $85 via Amazon. Aiaiai has sent out what they call the Petrol colored Swirl model that has a cool shade of blue color with an orange L shaped 3.5mm slim plug. I dig the color combo a lot. It's a fresh transition from all the rest using a traditional black color.
As you would now expect, the build quality is very high here. Aiaiai has did a great job constructing the Swirl earphones. They feel extremely durable compared to other non-metal constructed earphones. It has more to do with the thicker than normal cable that is tangle-resistant and the matte, soft-touch coating on the housings.
The Swirl come stock with matching foam tips like I have never seen before. The foam tips are coated with some sort of paint which seems to prolong their usage length until they need to be replaced like Comply foam tips. I found the foam tips to work really well and block a lot of background noise. In addition, they fit very comfortably inside the ears. Unfortunately, as much as I like the Swirl's foam tips, their finish seems to start rubbing off after a week of usage. Even though they are better than Comply foam tips in terms of longer lifespan, the coating that is used isn't good enough and you will find wear spots on them quickly.
The Swirl are the first earphones I've seen that have a coiled cord. I'm a big fan of coiled cords on headphones but never have I thought it was needed in earphones for one good reason. The combination of the coiled cord and the thickness of the cord turns out to be a bad idea for earphones. There's simply too much pull on the little earphones that you always feel like they are tugging down on your ears. It's not such a comfortable situation and it's definitely something you should keep in mind. The coil also doesn't keep its tight coilness shape for long after being pulled like most coiled cords. I've got mixed feelings regarding the cable. While the coiled portion of the cable makes the Swirl earphones much usable at home and on the go, I think having a pulling sensation on your ears is a pretty big downside.
Additionally, the Swirl comes with 4 pairs of different sized silicone tips if you don't like using the foam tips. I've tried them all and found that it is best to use the stock foam tips for better sound isolation and sound quality.
Keeping true to the overall simplistic design, the Swirl's remote and mic is free of any marking. If you're used to the inline 3-button remote scenario, then you would already be familiar with the standards of the volume, music and call controls. The mic does a good job at being crisp and clean when talking over the phone and taking voice notes on the iPhone. The only bad thing I have to say about the 3-button remote is that the buttons are hard to press and feel much stiffer than any other button remote I reviewed so far. I've got a feeling it's due to the durable rubbery material used.
Finally what you've all been waiting for, we get into the sound quality of the Aiaiai Swirl. I've spent a lot of time using these over a month and if I had to say one thing is would be - I like them! Straight out of the box, the Swirl has very recessed mids which I really didn't like. After burn-in time and usage, the opened up quite a bit letting the mids breath much more. I think that the Swirl really need to be used and get some burn-in time before they can clime to their fullest performance. I'm glad I gave them time to progress for the better. The mids are now less recessed and more detailed. When compared to other similar earphones like the a-Jays Four, the Swirl have a much more warmer and deeper sound. The highs are very clear yet not as clear as the a-Jays Four which have less of a warm sound and better treble capabilities. The Swirl does deliver when it comes down to bass performance which is its stronger points.
I always appreciate good bass when I hear it. The Swirl certainly packs a nice amount of bass that's thumpy and not overwhelming. Most importantly, the bass doesn't drown out the mids which were already too recessed. The bass will satisfy you if you listen to bass and lows-depended music genres. Rock music is a good way to test the capabilities of the sound quality. Rock music sounds pretty good and fairly detailed with the Swirl. It's nothing to brag about though and I think that music with bass like dance and hip-hop sounds better with the Swirl than rock does.
In conclusion, the Aiaiai Swirl are well designed in appearance, not so much in functionality. What started out as mediocre sound quality turned out to impress me after more usage time. If comfort is a big issue for you, I don't think these would fit you well. And if you're looking for sturdy earphones that have headset capabilities, good sound quality and great noise isolations, the Aiaiai Swirl are worth checking out.