A ski helmet with built-in speakers and a microphone
Skiing is about losing yourself in the rhythm of the mountain. It’s about forgetting the trials and stresses of working life by concentrating on your technique as you descend. So what if you could listen to music while you ski? That’s the main advantage of this “smart ski helmet”, though it does have some other novel features.
Livall RS1 smart helmetphone: design and fit
Always, always, always make sure your ski goggles and helmet fit each other. We tried this helmet with a pair of wide-angle ski goggles and the front of the helmet pushed down on them. That makes it hard to breathe. However, that is just one pair of goggles, and there’s as good a chance that the RS1 fits perfectly with yours. Just try before you buy; take your goggles with you when you audition the RS1, or if you buy the RS1 first, take it with you when buying your ski goggles.
Livall RS1 smart helmetphone: tech features
On a basic level, the RS1 has built-in stereo speakers so you can listen to music while you ski. You just pair it with your phone and off you go. It also has a microphone, something that enables the wearer to take phone calls while on the slopes. However, it also has a novel push-to-talk (PTT) button that turns the RS1 into a walkie-talkie. Or, at least, that’s the plan.
Livall RS1 smart helmetphone: performance
In practice, the RS1 is a comfortable, effective ski helmet that lets you listen to music, and answer calls without having to find your phone. The former can really enhance skiing, the latter … well, perhaps. Sadly the push-to-talk feature doesn’t really work and, besides, it tanks your phone’s battery. Even if you and a skiing buddy both have the RS1 and download the Livall app, the latest iOS 13 update for the iPhones means you have to have the app open all the time to enable a ‘group chat’-style session to exchange short audio message (apps designed to record, need to be open and active for the recording feature to work). It’s just not practical. However, TravGear mostly respected the audio quality; it’s not particularity bassy, but the volume goes high enough without being distracting, and it’s always very clear. It’s just about possible to push the volume up and down (using buttons on the left side of the helmet) with a gloved hand. More importantly, the chinstrap’s soft covering is a welcome design flourish, as are some excellent air-vents on top of the helmet for skiing in relatively warm conditions.
The RS1 has a great big battery that keeps on going for 16 hours; we had no problems on that score, though we did top them up each night apres ski.
Livall RS1 smart helmetphone: conclusion
The headline act of the RS1 doesn’t work – blame Apple for that – but we’re not convinced sending and receiving messages while skiing is either safe nor particularly useful. Forget all that and instead buy the RS1 because it’s a comfortable ski helmet with built-in audio. And if you do have to phone a friend while you’ve got your skiing gear on, you don’t even have to remove your ‘helmetphone’.