I don't do a lot of earbud reviews. In the past, the buds I've reviewed have always been Bluetooth. Thus, reviewing a set of wired 'buds was a little different for me. When it comes to headsets like the Moderna MS 200s from Phiaton ($120), it's all about the sound quality and comfort - things that matter for Bluetooth 'buds, like practicality, battery life, and ease of use are all thrown out the window.
At $400 (I know, I know - stay with me here), the Logitech UE900s are well out of many people's perceived reasonable price range for a set of headphones. Especially earbuds. But I'd like to remind everyone that there is a definitely a market for headphones at this level, and it's not just reserved for the well-to-do and audio geeks. The fact of the matter is, when it comes to sound, you can spend thousands of dollars to find the "ideal" system.
It's no secret that most of us hate cables. We want wireless sync and charging. Wi-Fi. Bluetooth. NFC. The list goes on and on. Why then, would we settle for earbuds that remain physically tethered to our device? We wouldn't. Unfortunately, Bluetooth earbuds aren't nearly as commonplace as their wired counterparts, and they oftentimes costs thrice as much (or more). Still, if you just can't stand the thought of using a wired set of 'buds, it's really your best (and only) option.
Like many technophiles, I have a soft spot for wireless audio gear. While cord-free is moving in the direction of Wi-Fi and mesh networks at home, the world of portable gear still belongs to Bluetooth. Earbuds, headphones, portable speakers - they're all different, and so far none I've tested are perfect. Once I find the perfect one in each category, I'll be sure to let you know.
A few months ago, I reviewed the MEElectronics Air-Fi AF32 - a full-size over-the-ear set of wireless headphones that ended up scoring surprisingly well while at the same time not breaking the bank.
Do you like listening to music on the go but find that your headphones, for lack of a better word, suck? Then today is (potentially) your lucky day, because Nocs and Android Police are giving away ten pairs of Nocs NS200 earbuds (a $70 value each - find them at Amazon here), and they rock.
Most earbuds are designed for use while mobile; after all, they're inherently more portable and discrete than headphones. But not all of them are made for heavy activity. Ever try running or hitting the gym with most off-the-shelf 'buds? I have, for years. It's usually not an enjoyable experience. They need to meet some pretty specific criteria:
Last month I reviewed of the a-JAYS One+ earbuds, and came away impressed. For $50, they packed quality sound and impressive bass into a sleek, attractive form, in addition to a trick control button/mic built into the cable. Coupled with the JAYS app, the button controls your phone and music player, allowing you to play, pause, change tracks, adjust the volume, and take calls - certainly making usage more convenient than typical earbuds.
These days, earbuds are a dime a dozen - they can be had for as little as $1 at the dollar store, all the way into the hundreds of dollars for a high-end pair. And sound quality has improved quite a bit since the early days - any buds that are mid-range or better usually offer pretty good sound, so they're differentiated as much by features as by sound quality. That's where the $50 a-JAYS One+ headphones come through: features.
I'll be the first to admit, I'm a big fan of Klipsch. I like their style, their sound signature, and their products generally. I started with a ProMedia 2.1 computer speaker setup, and have since graduated to a pair of their reference bookshelf speakers, and I've been pleased the whole way through. I had never, however, tried their headphones. Until recently, Klipsch's in-line control headphones designed for smartphones had only fully worked with iOS devices.
Before seeking out a few companies to find the best Android-friendly headphones around, I had never heard of Etymotic Research. Apparently, they've been around quite a while - since 1983, actually, and were among the first companies to market in-ear headphones to consumers. They actually claim to be the inventors of in-ear headphones (or "canalphones"), though whether or not that's actually true is apparently an object of some controversy.
Anyway, the good folks at ER sent me a pair of their hf2 in-ear headphones with Android-friendly inline controls and microphone, and I have to say, these headphones rock - the sheer difference in sound quality from your standard $30-80 earbuds is mind-blowing.