I already had tons of earphones in the house.
Aside from the standard Apple earbuds that came with my iPhone 4, I had the Beats by Dre. Dre pair, the Hisense Bluetooth earbuds, the Brainwavz M4s, the MEElectronics A151-BKs,the Sony active noise-cancelling pair, the Sony MDR-V6 over-the-ears, my over-the-ear reference Sennheisers, the weird buds that smelled of fruit and whose name escapes me now, and a whole bunch of other nameless ones that came with my various gadgets.
So what did I need another pair for?
NEW AND INEXPENSIVE
Face it, I couldn’t resist Apple’s newly introduced EarPods. Not that I could resist any new Apple product, especially one that costs only $30. (Approximately P1490 with Apple Resellers, a damn sight more inexpensive than the P4490 Apple is charging for its older, separate second-generation In-Ears.) Apple released the EarPods on the same day it introduced the iPhone 5 and new iterations of other items. The EarPods were immediately available that day as a separate product, and also come complimentary with the iPhone 5 and new iPods.
RIGOROUS RESEARCH AND DESIGN
The new EarPods are the result of years of exhaustive study and design, with the goal of making earphones that would deliver rich quality audio yet not restrict the listener to being isolated in that environment. Hence, the design they came up with introduces several ports to allow free moving air to circulate and promote good bass, and they made the cones out of paper instead of plastic, which is now more flexible and durable.
SLIM PLUG AND REMOTE
The in-line mic and remote are also more sturdily built, with reinforced joints and seals, and in a more streamlined, easy-to-access design. The plug was also remade into a slim, svelte design that would likely fit even the most restrictive iPhone case. It certainly fit my iPhone 4′s old Vapor ElementCase easily, which has a very tiny earphone hole, and which was why I was largely restricted to using my Beats by Dr. Dre pair, which fit, or the Hisense bluetooths with it.
ONE SIZE FITS ALL
Jony Ive, Apple’s design head honcho, said that they studied hundreds of ear configurations in a effort to find a shape that would accomodate all of them, and put the earphones through every imaginable scenario—walking, running, jogging, dancing, just sitting quietly in a corner, in order to make sure it wouldn’t inadvertently fall off. I think in large part they succeeded. You also can’t put them on the wrong way; gone are the days of trying to find out if you’re putting the left and right earphones in the proper ears. There literally isn’t a way to put them in wrong, not unless you tried very hard.
COMFORTABLE AND CONVENIENT
The earphones sit in my ear very nicely, and after a minute, I could hardly tell they were there. They’re very light and very airy. These are the most comfortable earphones I’ve ever had, and I’ve had a lot. They are shaped like miniature hair driers, with small ports on the side and on the stem. They aren’t very restrictive and let ambient sound in very easily while sitting in your ear and directing sound into them. It was a welcome change from my usual in-ears, which were sometimes a pain to wear and made your head want to explode. The mic and remote are conveniently situated on the right side, and are operated in the usual manner, with its rudimentary and basic iTunes controls and phone mic functions. (To access Siri, just press down on the center button of the remote/mic and hold.)
STAYS IN THE EAR
And they stayed in my ears! Damn, I’ve been waiting for something like this for a long time. Ive and his crew’s design worked—at least for me. I tried to make them fall out by running and jumping up and down and tilting my head and hitting it gingerly on the opposite side, all in an effort to make them drop out of my ears, but they stayed put. I used them for quite a few hours, and didn’t feel any strain at all. Some other reviewers complained that the EarPods were difficult to wear and painful to use, but seriously, I don’t know what they are talking about.
Sound-wise, they are very good at reproducing audio, but admittedly not at very high volumes. It has a lot of bass, and I daresay even more than my Beats by Dr. Dre pair, which already boasts high bass levels. It let in outside noise very easily, and coming from a long history of in-ear buds, I wasn’t used to it. You can play it at its loudest but it doesn’t keep you from hearing the warning honk of a car coming at you. It didn’t reach the immersive levels I was accustomed to, admittedly limited by its design. But you get used to it. Very easily, I might add.
There is excellent stereo separation of sound. You can hear a bit of hiss and buzz when playing music at maximum levels, particular with very loud classical, electronica or hip-hop pieces, and they’re best at moderately loud levels. It reproduced the quiet guitar passages from Canon in D Major with accuracy, and reproduced the booming crescendos of the 1812 Festival Overture with equal fidelity.
The EarPods are perfect for wearing while walking around in the mall or jogging around the neighbourhood and general everyday use. They are a marked improvement over the original (and terrible) Apple earphones, which for years remained unchanged and somewhat of a joke, and which gave birth to a huge market of third-party replacement earbuds and headsets.
Apple’s EarPods aren’t the perfect pair of buds, but are certainly decent, inexpensive earphones that stay comfortably in your ears.
AVAILABILITY: Digital Hub and Digital Walker branches, PowerMac Center branches
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