HTC Desire 616 Dual SIM
Lava Iris X1
HTC Desire 516
Asus Zenfone 5
HTC One (M8)
Micromax Unite 2 A106
Why the Nokia Lumia 530 will probably disappoint
Will the Xiaomi Mi Band be a game changer for wearable devices?
In Focus: Walk Me Up! Alarm app for Android
Xiaomi MIUI reviewed
LG G3 First Impression: Great screen, smart design & power packed.
How tech is taking football to the next level
Classic FPS games are a dying breed
Slowly gathering steam...
The obsession within
Carmick Shift: Can John Carmack and Oculus Rift change the world?
Lenovo announces Google Glass competitor C1
F-Secure's Freedome app lets you surf web anonymously
Is this new HTC One M8 a Windows Phone?
LG D635 with Windows Phone 8.1 leaks
Flipkart goofs up, delivers Xolo Q900s instead of Xolo Win Q900s
HTC Desire 516 launched in India for Rs. 14,200
Xiaomi goes for the kill, prices Mi 3, Redmi Note & Redmi 1S aggressively
ISPs block Torrent, hosting websites after court order: Reports
Asus launches ZenFone series of Android phones in India, prices them competitively
CyanogenMod finds 'Heads up' notification mode in Android
Dell Vostro 14 3442 4th gen CDC/4 GB/500 GB/Win 8.1
Dell Inspiron 15 5547 4th gen Ci7/8 GB/1 TB/Win 8.1/ 2GB Graph
Dell Inspiron 15 5547 4th gen Ci5/4 GB/500 GB/Win 8.1/ 2GB Graph
Dell Inspiron 14 3442 4th gen Ci3/4 GB/500 GB/Win 8.1
Dell Inspiron 14 3442 4th gen Ci5/4 GB/1 TB/Win 8.1
How to Develop an Intelligent Autonomous Drone using an Android Smartphone
How to use Intel VTune Amplifier 2014 for Systems on a Dell Venue 8
How to Set Up an NDK Project to Compile for Multiple Target Platforms
Guide: How To Implement native Intel x86 Support for Android Apps to boost performance
How to setup a surveillance system for your business
How to migrate to an Android smartphone from any OS
How to become a cyber-forensics expert
How to create your own TOR url
How to create your own lyrics video
How to become a social media star
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 - Video Playback
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 - First Impressions
Xiaomi Mi3 Review
HTC Desire 616 - First Impressions
Xiaomi mi3 Review Performance
13 things that you should know about the Xiaomi Mi3
Hands-on: Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4, the iPad Mini challenger
Preview: LG G Watch smartwatch with Android Wear
Android app stores: 5 best alternatives to Google Play Store
Hands-On: LG G3, a flagship Android phone with an awesome screen
Register for the Digit.in Reward Program
How to earn points?
After 11 long years, not counting a very minor mid-cycle update, Apple has finally completely redesigned its trademark white earphones that come bundled with every iPod and iPhone. And with good results. In fact, Apple may have achieved the impossible: The EarPods ($29 direct, if purchased separately) actually deliver some bass punch, without resorting to an in-canal, rubber-tipped design that accumulates ear wax (ick). Despite Apple's claims, the EarPods still don't fit everyone. But for doing what the Apple earbuds should have done all along—providing good sound quality and comfort on a budget—the EarPods are an easy recommendation.
Concept and Fit
Remember that the goal here isn't for Apple to deliver a high-end pair of earphones that compete with our favorites from AKG, Sennheiser, or Shure. Instead, the question is, are the EarPods good enough that you won't feel like you need to upgrade immediately? And if they break and you need another set, or if you're looking to replace a worn pair on an older iPod or iPhone, should you get these, or head to Amazon or Best Buy and pick up a different pair?
Let's talk about the unique design first. The EarPods are made entirely of white plastic. They look custom molded, thanks to the unusual earbud shape. Apple claims the idea is to build the diaphragm out of both rigid and flexible materials, which minimizes sound loss, while adding acoustic vents in the stem of each EarPod to improve bass. A few inches down the right earbud wire, you'll find inline call controls that will work with all iPhones; you get prominent volume buttons and an indented multi-function button.
The EarPods are compatible with any device with a 3.5mm headphone jack, including all iPads, iPods, and iPhones, though Apple says some models may not support the inline volume controls. Apple includes a small plastic carrying case that takes a little work—you need to wrap the earbuds in, then the inline controls, and then the wire around the edges—but it's a nice touch and infinitely preferable to untangling them every day on the subway.
First welcome surprise: The EarPods fit and don't fall out, at least for me. Not everyone has this problem, but for whatever reason, the original Apple Earphones (not to mention many Bluetooth headsets) have never stayed in properly. I guess I'm lopsided, but the right earbud always falls out, which is one of the reasons I prefer in-canal earphones and over-the-ear headphones to earbuds. The EarPods are the first ones I've tried that are made entirely of plastic yet still stay put. On the other hand, my editor tried them, and they wouldn't stay in her ears. We'll call the fit a toss-up, but certainly not the sure thing Apple implies.
Performance and Conclusions
Second welcome surprise: Bass. In my tests, Muse's "Uprising" had all the kick drum and midbass rumble it was supposed to have. In Metallica's Mastered-For-iTunes "Hate Train," I could still hear the kick drum even with the guitars crushing down, albeit barely. On The Knife's "Silent Shout," our standard bass test track, there is actually some decent tail "boom" on the 808 kick drum, although some details in the bass synth behind the kick drum are a bit lost and distorted at higher volumes.
Okay, there's still not much low-end extension. Hip hop, rap, and other electronic music lovers, not to mention classical listeners looking to vibrate their skulls with a pipe organ's low notes or rumbling timpani rolls, should stick with an in-ear rubber-tipped set—even an inexpensive pair, because the tight seal you get automatically enhances those frequencies. But there actually is some low-end extension, which is surprising, particularly once you turn up the volume. The only thing I worry about here is that while the EarPods can get pretty loud, they don't really punch until you turn 'em up, which is not good for your hearing. Watch the volume dial and add a little EQ if you need more bass.Apple EarPods
Otherwise, the EarPods sound fine, but by no means exceptional. You don't get a lot of midrange or high-end detail. In fact, from the midrange on up, they sound a lot like the original Apple earbuds, though they're a bit smoother and more detailed. There's also some slight audible harshness in the upper midrange, but it's not offensive. And that's expected for less than $30. Metric's "Youth Without Youth" had tons of energy, and didn't distort at all (besides what it was supposed to do). Ludovico Einaudi's "A Fuoco" lacked a sense of air around the instruments that you'd get with higher-end earphones, and you don't hear the little noises that indicate a bow on strings, but at least the piano and violin sound smooth and natural.
Note that there's also some sound leakage that people nearby will hear. It's a bit more than you'll get with in-canal earbuds, but a little less than with the regular Apple earbuds. Also, for the same reason, the EarPods don't block out much external noise; if you want something that minimizes train or airplane noise, for example, go with an in-canal design or a noise-cancelling pair.
Finally, for phone calls, voices sounded fine in both directions, with a warm tone in the earpiece. Transmissions through the inline microphone were clear and well balanced, if slightly muffled.
So the EarPods aren't perfect—far from it—but in most cases, you're not paying for them since they come with iPods and iPhones. And many missteps can be forgiven with a $29 price tag. Our budget Editors' Choice earphone pair, the AKG K 350 sound better all around, particularly with midrange and high-end detail and low-end bass extension, but they also costs a lot more. Apple is still selling the original "classic" earphones for the same $29. Steer clear of those and grab the EarPods instead; you'll be glad you did. Even better if they came with your new iPod or iPhone.
Copyright © 2010 Ziff Davis Publishing Holdings Inc