headphones

Apple EarPods Review

The new Apple EarPods are here and they are an incredible improvement.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Introduction

If you've purchased an iPhone 5, you've no doubt spied those little white things where your earbuds should be. Given their predecessors' terrible performance, can you really expect the Apple EarPods to do the trick as a headset? Well, apparently you can. With impressive measurables, Apple seems to have made their ubiquitous crappy headphones into a serviceable option for portable audio. They're still tough for many to get a good fit, however, and if you had problems with the earlier versions, you will definitely have the same troubles here.

Comfort Design & Features

Time for some controversy

The Apple EarPods have an oval looking thing on the side of the earbud. That’s actually the speaker. It’s meant to bounce sound off of your tragus and down your ear canal. It’s not guarded by much, but due to the fact that the earbud sits outside your ear canal, earwax clogging is improbable. A cord measuring 3.93 feet long connects these earbuds to your, most likely, iThing.

Because the Apple EarPods have such an inflexible and oddly-shaped casing, how they fit varies from person to person in the extreme. Tweet It

Because the Apple EarPods have such an inflexible and oddly-shaped casing, how they fit varies from person to person in the extreme. For some, they fit great right in between their tragus and antitragus. For others, the little white jerks just won’t stay in for any reason, and especially not if you move at all. If you intend for your headphones to last for years, these are not the ones you want to be using, as they have several weak points and poorly-guarded joints. If you tug at the cables, they will break after a while.

Audio Quality

Color us surprised

Considering the relatively abysmal performance of their predecessors, we didn’t really have high hopes for the Apple EarPods. How wrong we were. Despite the visible tracking error, the frequency response of the Apple EarPods will satisfy anyone who likes the sound of the Monster Beats Pro, or similarly bassy headphones. The EarPods are a bit erratic in the mids and highs, but overall they stay within our ideal limits very well outside of a significant emphasis in the bass sounds.

The Apple EarPods leak sound into the open air like crazy. Tweet It

The Apple EarPods had one of the strongest distortion performances we've ever seen, which is not only perplexing, but fantastic. This means there is little divergence between the sound that they produce, and the source material. Again, we were surprised considering they cost $30.

There is, however, a minor issue with tracking, or the balance of volume between the right and left channels. The 2dB difference is audible if you know what you're looking for, but for most people this blemish will passed unnoticed.

As much as the EarPods have improved, some things don't change. Though they have improved audio, the shape and fit of the Apple EarPods basically ensures that virtually no sound is attenuated. This is unlikely to change unless the famed Apple EarPods are given a dramatic redesign. Vice-versa, the Apple EarPods leak sound into the open air like crazy. So, if you have to bump your tunes high to hear them over the bustle around you, be aware that you might be annoying everyone else with your music too.

Conclusion

Not the best in the world, but extremely impressive for $30 new

The Apple EarPods certainly don’t hang tough with the high-end of headphones that well, but they definitely punch out of their weight class when it comes to audio quality. Not only do the EarPods give their users a decent amount of bass, but they also have a super low amount of distortion: a drastic improvement over the old earbuds. Despite their issues with clarity and potential fit problems, Apple is shipping a serious pair of budget earphones with their newest iPhone.

It’s important to note that, like the old Apple earbuds, the Apple EarPods also has some questionable durability. You may or may not care, due to how cheap these earphones are, but don’t expect these to last very long. To maximize their lifespan, try not to yank on the cables to remove them from your ears: it puts a lot of stress on an easily-breakable joint.

If you’d like to try them out for your media player or smartphone, the Apple EarPods can be had for $30 from Apple. They’re a serviceable, inexpensive pair of earphones, especially if you’re not sure you want to make the high-end plunge right away. Just keep in mind that they won’t last that long with regular use.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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