Isolate yourself from the outside world
- Powerful bass response, crisp high-range
- Muddy bass, invasive
Creative’s EP-830 in-ear headphones are a great option if you need decent sound quality as well as noise isolation. The headphone cable can cause a bit of discomfort if it's not secured, but these are decent quality in-ear buds.
Price$ 49.95 (AUD)
Creative's EP-830 headphones occupy that difficult point within the portable audio market — not ridiculously expensive and audiophile-grade, but not bargain-basement cheap like the bundled headphones of most MP3 players. They err on the side of good quality, though, with tight and accurate mid-range response as well as pleasantly deep bass.
They are currently only available in Australia bundled with Creative's ZEN X-Fi MP3 player, but they are released independently within European and Asian markets.
They're an in-ear model, so they sit deeper in the ear canal than 'regular' ear-buds. This allows for improved frequency response as well as the added benefit of passive noise cancellation. When there's music playing, even at low volumes, these headphones succeed in blocking out a large amount of background noise. You won't be able to notice environmental sound or people talking around you — so you'll either need to be very perceptive or very careful when you're out walking.
To achieve this, they do a remarkably good job at blocking the ear canal. The trade-off here is discomfort for some users. The sensation of pushing a rubbery silicone cone into your ear is never a pleasant one, and, frankly, you'll need to keep your ears clean. If you don't, be prepared to be upset by the amount of ear-wax unleashed upon the world.
When they're in and nestled securely, the first thing noticeable is the clear sound quality. The EP-830 headphones are an upgrade to Creative's earlier EP-630 model, fixing several flaws. One of the upgrades is a stringent focus on treble in order to create less 'muddy' sound. Whatever's been done to improve the legacy of the EP-630 has worked; these headphones have a clear and crisp character. This is particularly good when teamed with synthesised electronic music or high female vocals — producing sweet highs. The sound is never painful, however, even at volumes that are far too powerful for regular listening.
Mid-range is another surprise. Middle tones are easy to recreate with in-ear headphones, but manufacturers often make the mistake of over-emphasising them. This isn't the case here; the mid-range is slightly recessed but accurate nonetheless.
Bass is always a favourite of in-ear models — the nature of the headphones allows for deep, booming bass to be simulated even at low volumes. Bass isn't a standout performer here, being slightly muddy and indistinct, but it is the most prominent feature of these earphones. This lends them a rich sound, as well as giving music a slightly reverberating feeling.
They're unobtrusively styled, too. Dark chrome and matt black plastic are the main elements of the ear-buds, while the 1.2-metre long headphone cord is a perfect length. The headphones are designed with a 'Y-split' (both headphones have identical length individual cords) rather than a wrap-around style. Each style has its merits, but we prefer wrap-around for in-ear monitors due to the extra cable securing — which goes a long way to reducing cable vibration.
Given their reasonable price — less than their direct competitors, the SHE9800 from Philips — the EP-830 headphones make a compelling argument. The lively sound they lend to music is great when you're on the move and their in-ear style means a lot of background noise is blocked. If you've used in-ear monitors before you'll appreciate the isolation — but if you haven't, you might be a little shocked by their invasive nature.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Sony Xperia Z5 Premium review: Is the world ready for a 4K phone?
- 2 D-Link Taipan AC3200 Ultra tri-band modem-router review
- 3 BlackBerry Priv review: When old habits die hard
- 4 Dell XPS 13 (2016) review: Making the very best Ultrabook
- 5 Microsoft Surface Book review: The verdict on Microsoft's first notebook
Best Deals on PC World
Latest News Articles
- Beats Solo2 headphones go wireless for $399
- Parrot's Zik 2.0 headphones include an accelerometer and plenty of noise cancelling
- Kogan opens online shop in New Zealand
- Sennheiser's new DJ range of headphones
- B&W P5 headphones to become the ultimate luxury accessory
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- FTDigital Marketing Specialist | Media BuyerNSW
- FTApplications Architect/ Pre-sales (Microsoft Applications)WA
- FTSystems Administrator/Engineer | Projects & BAU | Coastal Newcastle NSWWA
- CCAEM DeveloperNSW
- FTFraud AnalystVIC
- FTBusiness Intelligence AnalystVIC
- CCObjective ECMS Technical ConsultantSA
- FTSenior Front End Developer Required Working World Leading Digital TeamVIC
- CCBusiness Process Analyst - Supply ChainVIC
- FTFull Stack & Mobile EngineersNSW
- CCProgram Manager - Big Data - Telecommunications - UrgentNSW
- FTChange & Communications OfficerQLD
- FTNetwork Engineer | Canberra | NV1 NV2 clearance | Defence projectsVIC
- FTWintel EngineerNSW
- CCContract Analyst Programmer (MS.Net/Visual Basic) 160129/AP/vtdAsia
- CCUX DesignerNSW
- CCHybris Developer - Global ConsultancyNSW
- FTJava Full Stack Developer - MelbourneVIC
- FTSenior Unified Communications Consultant - National IT ServicesNSW
- CCSenior Network EngineersACT
- CCIT Security EngineerNSW
- FTSOE EngineerQLD
- CCInformatica ExpertNSW
- CCIBM ESB Developer (Junior to mid level role)NSW
- FTInsight / Customer - Data ScientistNSW