Tough Tested Driver Mono-Earbud great for enhanced sound while driving.

I tend to be the primary driver for my family and until recently, I have used my smartphone to talk while driving. I hate to announce this, but I also have texted while driving as well. However with hands free laws/distracted driver laws, this is no longer legal in many states (to include mine). Whether I am driving between home and work, in my Chevy Silverado Pick-up Truck, or from Western Kentucky to North Carolina in my Class C Diesel motorhome, to visit with my parents, I need a hands free option that is both reliable and one with good sound quality. The problem, I have never truly found that device that is comfortable inside or on top of my ear. Alas, I would much rather tolerate some small annoyance than pay any kind of fine. I can honestly state that I no longer text and drive. Now that I have been introduced to Tough Tested, I no longer talk on my phone without a hands free device. When the laws change, I adapt.

Tough Tested Driver Mono-Earbud Review

I am a fan of audiobooks and I have lately been able to get my fill through Audible. I tend to enjoy listening to these, while driving, as they reduce road lull and keep me more awake and more focused. My car is Bluetooth capable and has a CD player, yet I often do not get to use these features. Children, anyone? As my children are often watching movies or listening to their own music, I must find alternative means to listen to my books or personal music. It never fails that they are distracted by my audio source, as they cannot hear their movie as well, or the content may be too mature for a 7 and 4 yr old (which is not hard to do). I have used various blue tooth options, which have worked, okay. There have been multiple pros and cons to each of the devices. One of the biggest cons is the fact that they require power and often fail when you need them. It is a pain to remember to keep them charged. This is where wired options really shine. I have a wired options from Tough Tested, “The Driver.”

Tough-Tested, tag line “made to go to work,” prides itself on creating gear that works as hard as you do, gear that is designed to meet the demands of professionals. You need your gear to work when conditions are extreme, roads are bumpy and noisy, conditions are not favorable. Tough Tested is a division of Mizco International Inc. and has been around since 1990. Mizco International is a consumer electronic manufacture with R&D in power, battery tech and audio engineering. In 2015, to help with the demand of work related hearing loss, Tough Tested launched a line of noise cancelling ear buds, which follow with the same Tough Tested lines: to be with you when no other gear will do. Driver is a part of the Tough Tested line, a line that really is built to last.

Tough Tested Driver Mono-Earbud Review

Impression:
I am a a fan of the packaging for the Tough Tested Line. I really enjoy the clear plastic mode that is used to showcase their pieces. If you have not been able to feel/hold one of their headphone products, you are missing out. They really are well made, both the packaging and the device itself. I am a fan of the coloring of the packaging. The Driver headset is showcased in orange plastic and surrounding by black plastic on the edges. This is very eye catching and as stated, is a great way to model the product. Turning the packaging over, you can readily visualize the product specifications. Included with this product are #4 ear tips, a small and large flex foam tip and small and large tree tips. I have been a fan of the tree style tips as they tend to stay in my ears better than the flex foam style. I was excited to see these were included with this kit. The product is heavy duty, has a nice over ear hook, allowing for secure fit. The cord is built tough, to be used in any style of work. It is Kevlar on the inside and braided nylon on the outside. The company has really thought about the product, providing a nice length of cord yet making it safer. Portions of the cord are coiled, which allows for longer cord, but allows this to not dangle unnecessarily. About a quarter of the way down from the ear piece is a black rectangle with a T hexagonal button and a side volume boost wheel (I love this feature). There is a microphone located on the control box, at the apex of the hexagon call button. You can answer and make calls from the T button, simply depress the button to access this feature. Also, while in music mode, you can play or pause, using this button as well. Following with the Tough Tested goal, these headphones provide more than just good sound and comfortable ear tips. The headphones provide 23 decibels noise reduction in the ear of use.

Tough Tested Driver Mono-Earbud Review

Unboxing the product is the most exciting part of this process. I love to see the item, to hold it to feel it and to see the detail and the effort made by the company. It is through this process that I begin to notice the details. Specifically, with the Driver, there are 2 details that Tough Tested included that shows the caliber of the company. First, they have included an alligator clip on the back of the control box unit, which allows you to clip the microphone to you lapel or to your collar. This is well made, is on a swivel allowing 360 degree attachment. Second, they included a 3.5mm headphone jack extension. Many smartphone cases disallow the use of 3.5mm jack accessories as they impede access to the device. Tough tested is aware of this fact and includes a solution to your problem. I am very thankful that this was included, as I would have been unable to use this product inside of my current case.

I have tested the Catalyst Case (current case), Otterbox Defender (both IPhone 6S plus and IPad Air 2) and the Life Proof cases and know that this Driver unit will work well for all of these cases. The 3.5mm Jack extension is a genuinely important and appreciated accessory. The tips are thoughtfully included and provide adequate sizing for just about any ear size. It is easy to both make and receive calls with this unit. My wife noted that the speech was very clear during calls. I was driving during the initial use and the road noise seemed to be cancelled via the microphone pretty well. I really liked the sound that came from the ear piece. Everyone knows wind noise is a prominent annoyance and background noise   really diminishes your ability to hear via your smartphone speaker. The noise/decibel reduction from the headphones helps you to hear the call/music well with much less background noise. My favorite feature, as mentioned above, is the volume wheel on the side of the control box. I love being able to access the sound right on my lapel, without requiring messing with my phone. While driving, this allows me to control the volume of my audiobook, my music or call and to remain even less distracted.

Tough Tested Driver Mono-Earbud Review

This works incredibly well for speech and phone messaging. It is very clear and allows for improved sound while driving and in louder ambient noise. It is not the greatest for audiophiles as it is a single ear piece that was not designed specifically for music. Do not get me wrong, this works great for music. I just found that there are better headphones specifically for music. In summary, I would give this device 5/5 stars due to reliability, build construction, features and sound production. The ear tips are an extra nice inclusion as are the coiled cord and clip on the controller box. I am a big fan of this device and it is now the primary earpiece I use while driving.
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