Apple In-Ear Headphones Review

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*The actual review is mine…but I have used the pictures from Engadget’s hands-on review because my camera is out of commission at the moment so I don’t really have a choice, plus, I’m pretty sure the ear-phones will look the same in my hands as theirs.  Not much changes.*

As I’ve mentioned in other articles I am almost obsessed with music and sound quality in regard to headphones.  I’ve had at least half a dozen ear phones in the last 2 years.  Over that time I have determined the sound signature that I like.  I have also learned of what qualities I dislike and want to avoid.  When Apple announced their new In-Ear Earphones with dual drives for only $79 I was highly intrigued.  Currently the next closest dual drive ear-phone is around $150 I believe.  So, at $79 they were practically a steal.  The basic look of the headphones is very smooth and clean.  The lighter colors that they used for the ear tips will show dirt fairly quickly so if ear wax and dirt visible on your ear tips turns you off you may want to steer clear.  They come with 3 pairs of ear tips: small, medium, and large.  I have found that the medium ear tips fit the best for me and create the best seal.  Compared to shures and ultimate ear’s ear tips, I would have to say that I prefer Apples only because they are softer and squishier, creating a better seal.  My super.fi 5 pro’s ear tips are harder and I’m constantly adjusting the right ear phone because it is always losing its seal no matter what size ear tips I use. 

Sound Quality

On to the sound.  Quick and simple.  Do they sound as good as my Ultimate Ears Super.fi 5 pro’s…?  No.  However, with my iPod Touch and iPhone, they have a much greater synergy.  The SF5 sound thin and too analytical for my tastes on my iPhone.  Apple’s buds sound warmer.  They are more fun to listen to and aren’t as fatiguing over longer listening periods.  The bass on Apple’s buds is very clean yet deep.  On rap it doesn’t disappoint pounding out the lowest lows without destroying them and over shadowing the other frequencies.  On rock it is still very “there” while again not interfering with the frequencies.  Separation is very good, way better than the stock buds.  Individual instruments are easily distinguished in jazz and rock.  You can hear every finger touching the fret of the guitar while at the same time almost able to hear the individual fibers of wood breaking off of the drum sticks.  *Ok, maybe not THAT good, but you get the point, music is very clear*.  Now the only thing that might throw some people off is the upper range.  On songs with alot of cymbal action those super high frequencies can come across as “soft”.  Although my Super.fi’s come across as “harsh” on the same music so I guess its a matter of personal taste.  Another way to describe the “soft” is as if the upper frequencies are slightly recessed, only slightly.  The Apple In-Ear’s are hardly muddy or bottom heavy.  I would describe them as almost neutral with a slight bump on bottom.  Again slight bump.  They don’t color music much at all which is nice.

One thing that Apple chose to incorporate in the design of these headphones was “filters”, little metal caps that go between the ear tip and “drivers” to prevent dust, dirt, and ear wax from getting deep down inside of your ear-phones and messing them up.  In one sense they are nice to have, but at the same time, they do wear out and are become another thing to have to pay to replace.  Pick your poison.  I personally have never used ear-phone’s that use filters so only time will tell how long they last.

Remote & Mic

The last thing worth talking about on these headphones is the remote and mic function.  Of course having a mic and remote are another main reason for getting these ear-phones.  Using the remote is pretty straight foward.  When listening to music clicking on the center button once answers/hangs up, double clicking skips forward a track, and triple clicking skips back.  When just listening to music one click will pause/play the music.  Unfortunately the volume buttons don’t work on the iPhone and are only for newer iPods.  It’s a slight bummer, but hardly a reason to not buy these.  The iPhone has volume buttons and there’s this special added feature on iPhones called a touchscreen where more volume “buttons” live.  Really a third way of adjusting volume is not needed, just nice to have.

All in all, I am very happy with these headphones.  I was getting tired of constantly adjusting my Super.fi’s every 5 minutes as well as pulling them out of me ears and unplugging them from my iPhone every time I received a phone call.  I think Apple did a good job of developing a very good sounding, reasonably priced pair of dual driver ear-phones.  I hope this review helped any questions you had.  If you have any more that I did not address, please feel free to email me at [email protected] and I will do my best to answer any remaining questions.  Below is a gallery of images for those who just have to see them.

*Pictures from Engadget*


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  • Jeff

    Does the mic work if you used it on a Mac?

    • Mike

      I have a pre-unibody ’07 MacBook pro and they don’t work with it. It’s weird I don’t understand why.

  • John

    I was originally concerned by windy conditions. The ear buds that come with Apple’s products do little if anything to cancel out interference. I am pleased to report that I used the in-ear headphones today with strong winds coming right toward me. Absolutely no interference was noted. Fantastic.

    Also, I have read where others feel dissatisfied with the sound while using these. They absolutely must be inserted into the ear canal to work properly. Once done, the sound is very good. I am very pleased.

    • Gadget God

      Very true John. Plain and simple, if the person thinks the in-ears sound terrible, they don’t have them in right.

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