Review: Incipio f08 In-ear Phones.


Honest, true audio quality is not cheap. But be careful. Simply choosing the more expensive pair of headphones won’t necessarily get you far, either. When R&D money is spent on flashy celebrity endorsements, things go south pretty quick. What you’re left with is a fancy shell and little soul. We’ve heard it happen time and time again. And yet manufacturers never learn.

When Incipio contacted us about their f08 in-ear phones, we were a bit skeptical. Pricing characteristics and celebrity influence aside, $24.99 is an incredibly attractive price point. That said, it’s also a very restrictive price point. Quite simply, you will not get $200 sound here. It doesn’t happen. Still, could Incipio maybe edge out the ~$50 market for half the price?

Design, Fit & Features

Incipio has always been one with a fashion forward eye. Their cases are utilitarian and well built. They know exactly where to put a material change for added emphasis, and what colors make the most striking combination. In headphones, Incipio’s prowess to design shows itself once again. On our white model, we really liked the glossy nature of the headphones. Unlike many glossy cases we’ve tested, the glossy-ness of the f08s was never an issue (in regards to fingerprints and such).

We received a pair of white f08s and have been flogging them relentlessly the last week and a half. One thing that we keep thinking about is how comfortable the f08s are. If we had to compare them to another well-known earphone, we’d have to go with the Klipsch X10. For those of you who haven’t touched/seen/worn the X10, just know that it is insanely comfortable. The ear tips never falter, holding the buds in place like none other. Likewise, the super slim design makes them literally disappear to the point you forget you’re wearing them. In a similar fashion, the ear tips on the Incipio f08 are, in our opinion, almost identical to the Klipsch X10. What it means for you is $100+ comfort for $25. That is impressive.

Another thing we really appreciated about the f08 is how well the held up to action listening. We’ve put a couple dozen miles on the pedometer wearing the f08s and are proud to say that out of our longer runs (~10 miles), we had to adjust or slightly push in the f08s once, occasionally twice. While Incipio doesn’t really market the f08 as an action earphone, they definitely hold their doing just that.

Performance

The moment of truth — performance. You can have the most comfortable, resilient and best looking earphones on the market. But if they sound like garbage they’re worth little. How did Incipio fair?

Pretty well.

Let us reiterate we’re working with $25 earphones here. That said, bass impact and presence for an earphone in this price range and with 8mm drivers (one per ear) is impressive. Fan of dubstep/hip-hop will definitely love the bottom end on the Incipio f08. While it is a bit too overpowering for lovers of more balanced, natural sound characteristics, the quality and quantity at this price range is quite good.

The heavy focus on bass, as one would expect, takes away from the other frequencies. The mid-range can be too punchy/forward in certain songs while almost always the higher-end frequencies roll off before they should or are simply overpowered by the generous bottom end.

Conclusion

Overall, we’re quite impressed with what Incipio did for $25. Apple’s stock white $29 earbuds by comparison, suck. They’re uncomfortable, constantly fall out of your ears and lack any type of sound one could label as “good”. The stock Apple buds have nonexistent, weak bass, an overly forward mid-range and rolled off highs. You really can’t go wrong with the f08′s for $25.

Gadgetsteria’s Rating: 7/10

More: Incipio