The Good: Great build quality, good comfort, nice iPhone controls and good sound.
The Bad: Price, iOS-only controls.
The Bottom Line: The Superdarts get my approval… just don’t look at the price tag.
As a rule of thumb, the bigger the sound, the better the sound. But most of us spend our lives commuting, or in places that are inappropriate for sharing our music collections, however tastefully curated they might be. As a result, it makes sense for anyone who truly loves music to invest in some decent earwear. But at £199.99, even a committed audiophile might baulk at the outlay required in order to own Atomic Floyd’s Superdart earphones. Can they really provide the satisfying sound that their hefty asking price would suggest?
One thing cannot be doubted — the premium build quality of the Superdarts. The intense red of that kevlar fabric cable might not be to everyone’s taste, but the ‘buds themselves have the satisfying weight of stainless steel, and each has a nicely textured exterior surface.
The Superdarts have a textured steel chamber.
My only criticisms relate to the size of the ‘buds, given that they stick out marginally, and the dead-straight angle at which the cable attaches to each of them, which forces the cable to bend downwards at an unpleasantly sharp angle. However, I should warn that this is nit-picking (if you hadn’t already guessed).
Inline controls are “Made for iPod/iPhone/iPad”.
That cable is also home to a minimalistic set of controls, and a microphone for making calls. The volume buttons work with most devices, but only Apple’s handset will recognise the answer/hang up button and microphone here. This incompatibility is a shame, but the physical quality of this panel of switches is, once again, faultless, as is the sound quality of calls. Also worth mentioning are the sweeteners that Atomic Floyd has included — you get a two-way jack splitter, plus a 3.5mm to ¼ inch converter and a nicely made plastic pouch to keep everything in.
Just as importantly, however, the Superdarts are very comfortable.
Of course, in terms of fit, this is a sweeping generalisation based on my own ears. But I think the likelihood is that most ears will be kept happy by the four different sizes of bud as provided by Atomic Floyd. Comfort should be a universal sensation when it comes to the ‘buds themselves, though. Made from lightweight, flexible silicone, they stay firmly plugged in to your ears without causing any long-term discomfort.
While the physical qualities of the Atomic Floyds delight, their sound quality can best be described as good. Just good.
Throughout the sound range, intricate details are kept intact, including in the slightly underpowered mid-tones. Overall clarity is definitely a positive, too, with no sign of the haziness that often plagues inexpensive ‘buds. The trebles, meanwhile, are clear and loud without being overly tinny or overpowering. The bass is…present. Again, all the sounds are there. But you’re not going to get any pumping rhythms or beats flying into your eardrums.
The Superdarts are made with an anti-tangle kevlar audio cord.
Which kind of leads me nicely on to my main concern with them — these headphones don’t really provide the kind of meaty sound I was expecting. Perhaps I am overestimating the limits of earbud technology, but considering that these are a premium sonic product, I was hoping for something a little more.
I repeat — the Superdarts sound good.
Trying to squeeze the sounds of a recording studio into a tiny pair of metallic cylinders is always a challenge, but for the most part, the Superdarts provide a high quality experience. The look and feel of these Atomic Floyds is superb, and they rank highly for comfort, as well.
Sound, if anything, is the weak spot of these ‘buds, but that description comes across as unfairly harsh — the Superdarts are an upgrade if you’re using “supplied” earphones at the moment. It’s just that the upgrade is not mind-blowing — unlike the RRP.
In total, then, the Superdarts get my approval… just don’t look at the price tag.[box]