Apple In-Ear Headphones

These in-ear headphones retain the style of the standard Apple ear-buds, but produce far better sound and have extra functionality.

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Apple In-Ear Headphones
  • Apple In-Ear Headphones
  • Apple In-Ear Headphones
  • Apple In-Ear Headphones

Pros

  • Comfortable, good sound quality, in-line microphone and remote control, stylish Apple design

Cons

  • Cord microphonics are distracting, white design shows dirt easily, controls don’t work on older iPhone or iPod models

Bottom Line

If you want better sound quality and a little isolation, but want to retain that timeless white iPod style, Apple’s premium in-ear headphones are a decent choice.

Would you buy this?

Apple’s In-Ear Headphones are a step up in quality from the bundled iPod ear-buds. Their in-ear design offers passive noise isolation as well as better bass and overall sound quality.

There is no doubt that the near-ubiquitous white Apple ear-bud started a wave of imitators looking to cash in on the iTrend. There have been plenty of mediocre white earphones on the market, but few have been good enough to stick around and make a name for themselves. Apple has seemingly done the right thing with its In-Ear Headphones, achieving a good compromise between isolation, sound quality and comfort that makes for a pleasing listening experience. They are a worthwhile upgrade from the bundled iPod ear-buds.

The Apple In-Ear Headphones sit slightly inside your ear canal, held there by soft silicone tips. Three different sets of tips are included with the package, allowing for most ear sizes to be easily accommodated. We found the medium silicone tips gave the best seal in the ear canal, offering good levels of passive isolation as well as limited defence against accidental dislodging of the earphones.

An in-line volume control sits about 10cm down the length of the right earphone cord, placing it roughly alongside your throat in normal use — convenient given that it also houses a small microphone and button for answering phone calls when connected to an Apple iPhone 3G or taking voice memos using newer iPod models. These controls are not compatible with older iPod models or the original iPhone.

We found the microphonics — the noise created when the headphone cord rubs against clothing or other material — slightly annoying when walking, but with a little care this can be avoided.

The Apple In-Ear Headphones have two separate speaker drivers per bud, separately handling lower- and higher-frequency sounds. This is a design often used in high-end in-ear headphones, and it works well here. The Apple In-Ear Headphones have a rich and warm sound that gets the best out of rock and pop music.

There is a slight emphasis to both bass and treble ranges — that bright, punchy sound that is common to mainstream pop music — and mid-range is passably detailed if a little recessed. Up against their older, less accomplished brother — the stock Apple ear-buds that come bundled with the iPod touch — the difference is night and day. Clarity is much improved while bass is significantly more powerful — not to mention the much-needed isolation.

If you are looking for a quality set of in-ear headphones but have the Apple bug, consider the In-Ear Headphones — they have plenty of oomph to back up their good looks.

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