Apple has changed its iconic white earbuds quite a few times since their inception with the first ever iPod. Improving them little by little. This time Apple drastically improved and redesigned one of the most discerned headphones ever created. The new EarPods with Remote and Mic are a new breed of earbud and in-ear style of headphones composed by a futuristic, sleek pod design. It took Apple three long years to create the EarPods in effort to insure that everyone will find them to be naturally comfortable and better sounding. With so much effort and dedication, these are bound to be pretty awesome. So the question is, were they worth the wait? Our full, in-depth review awaits your curiosity down below!
Apple gave us a new exciting design, and better everything with its new EarPods. But before we get down to the audio goodness, we can't sit here and pretend like these are just another pair of earphones with a snazzy glistening white, almost lab-like cleanliness scheme. I'm not sure if you've noticed, but the design of the EarPods is monumental epic. And while the EarPods continue to share a similar resemblances to Apple's past earbud offerings, the EarPods are at a whole new class of innovation. The best part of all? The iPhone 5 includes a pair of these bad boys while the iPod touch and iPod nano each come with a non-headset version of the EarPods.
Apple has focused a whole lot in designing the EarPods to fit and be comfortable for virtually everyone. They're designed to stay in your ears and gently rest in them while the speaker exhaust pipes the sound directly towards your ear canal giving you a much better performance in audio; much like in-ear headphones rather than dispersing the sound like other earbuds do. Apple's old earbuds were disliked by many because of how they were wasting their output rather than efficiently collecting the audio they were spitting out, which resulted in flat and weak sound.
Apple's retail EarPods come packaged in a familiar Apple earphone packaging. What's not expected at the $29 price point however, is the included protective travel case made from hard plastic which is known to be included in Apple's higher-end offerings. Apple also includes the EarPods travel case with the iPhone 5. This is the first time that Apple includes earphones with a protective case.
Shiny plastic is almost never a good sign for build quality and ends up cheapening the feel and look of the headphones. Instead of having the same disregarded quality of that of the Apple Earphones, the EarPods don't have the same cheap feel to them despite being entirely made with shiny plastic and seem to be even more durable this time around. Unfortunately, $29 isn't going to get you tangle-free cabling. The Earpods carry the same cable standard gray cable from previous iterations which can easily tangle if not wrapped back into the included carrying case. My only complaint about the cable is that it's far too short for home and desktop use. With that said, you're going to find the EarPods to be at the perfect length to meet the needs of portable carry and listening.
Apple also changed the 3.5mm audio plug on the EarPods (right) with a reinforced hard plastic enclosure rather than the rubber shrink-wrapped plug in the past. The EarPods are also less susceptible to cable fraying with upgraded rubber stems to better handle strain.
Apple's headsets were always fantastic and the trend continues with the headset version of the EarPods. We highly regarded JAYS' a-Jays Four to have one of the best in-line remote and mic combination ever to be put on in-ear headphones. Apple's EarPod headset carries with it an outstanding, slim 3-button remote which was also seen a light redesign and is nearly weightless. It has an elongated pill-shaped body and a flat middle button to help you easily distinguish between the three buttons. The headset's microphone is now hidden inside the remote control, however, it still easily picks up background noise. The headset will serve you well when talking over the phone, but the microphone's sound quality isn't the best compared to some third party iPhone headsets.
Shaped like none other, the EarPods offer the best possible, universal fit without the need of traditional silicone tips. At first glance, it's immediately apparent that the EarPods are entirely made out of smooth, shiny white plastic with absolutely no rubber coatings to give any form of grip. If you were thinking what we were thinking when we first discovered this unusual design, then you must in some point accused Apple of being completely crazy. Fortunately, those 3 years of R&D paid off big time. The EarPod's space-age design is geometrically shaped in order to fit a wide array of different shapes and sizes of people's ears. And what do you know, they fit like a pair of custom earbuds from the future.
The EarPod's have an impressive stay-in-your-ears-at-all-cost design which remarkably doesn't swing around despite not having any rubbery traction. They gently slide into your ears and out without any hesitation, yet remain insanely stable compared to Apple's prior earbuds. It's worth noting however, that because these don't create a seal inside your ear like in-ear headphones do, the EarPods will give you the feeling of looseness - especially if you're more used to using in-ear headphones. But not to worry, in our testing, the unique shape of the EarPods kept them inside the ear and from falling out even with head shaking after a few hours of use. I don't typically use earbud style of headphones because a. they don't sound good, and b. they keep falling out with the slightest head movement.
What's there to expect out of a sub $30 headset packing earbuds? The price alone is not what categorized the EarPods in sounding a specific way. It's how they're designed to handle the audio they produce, and seal in which they don't provide that factors how they sound. Because ultimately, the EarPods are in fact better sounding than more expensive rivals just as Apple claimed. The sound signature is blasted with incredible clarity and a hint of warmth without sounding flat and boring. There's so much air flow in the design thanks to multiple metal mesh grille covered ports that make the EarPods sound brilliantly clear and light like whipped cream. They're so clean, bright and polished throughout the spectrum for such an entry-level type of earphones, it's amazing. And to think every iPhone 5, iPod touch and nano includes a set is the cherry on top.
The bass performance will surely impress you compared to pervious generations of Apple buds. Bass sounds tightly packed, sterile and thumpy enough without impacting the mids and highs. If only you were able to get a tight seal in your ear, the EarPod's lows would rival those of the B&W C5.
We noticed that the EarPods require a higher volume in order to shine, so be sure to turn up the volume. Highs make vocals sound natural while the mids have a lot more definition and detail, but are lacking that bit of richness. With such an emphasis on brightness, you're not going to get that full bodied sound. Let's not forget the $29 price tag. With such impressive balanced tones, this puts the EarPods right up there with some of Etymotic's and Sennheiser's in-ear headphones in terms of sound signature and quality. In addition, the EarPod's don't distort and muffle up at very high volume levels.
It would be silly to compare the two head to head. We're not even sure why Apple is still selling its Apple Earphones at the same price when the EarPods are clearly superior in every way.
For someone who isn't planning on purchasing one of Apple's latest EarPod packing gadgets, $29 will net you what we would consider an intermediate classed headset with a lot to offer. If you're on a tight budget but would rather eat Ramen noodles for the rest of the month in order to save up cash to avoid of listening to music with crappy quality headphones, we can highly recommend the EarPods which will serve you very well. At such an affordable price, you'd be hard pressed to find anything that would rival the EarPods' sound quality and amazing design. Apple's shining white pods impressed us with their clean audio performance, comfort and best of all - precise fit.
The EarPods are by far the one of, if not the best pair of headphones ever to be included with a mobile device for free, and will hardly be disregarded by iPhone and iPod users alike. Our one and only complaint is that the short, easy-to-tangle cable should have received an upgrade as well.