Apple Earpods Review: The Sound Of Apple

Recently Apple “revolutionized the headphone” with the Earpod, or so they said. With Apple, they tend to hype up everything, good, or sometimes bad. So I tested out the new Earpods versus what should have been a comparable pair; my Skullcandy 50/50s which cost around $40-50 (Earpods cost $30 without a new iphone).

My rigorous testing included music from Billy Joel, Green Day, Hanz Zimmer, and the Beatles. I use a few different tests when reviewing headphones so that I can accurately determine their quality as a stand-alone and how they compare to competitors.

 First, I just listen to some music and make notes on the sound. The bases weren’t as vibrant as I wanted, and the sound was a little too muddy. Also lacking is the comfort element. While the feel was definitely better than past Apple Earbuds which have probably left scars in my ears, they didn’t fit well into my average sized ear canal. They did very little to block out noise without sound playing, and my ears still ended up sore.

My next tests involve listening to the same song, with the Earpods covering the right channel, and the 50/50s covering the left. Here’s where I could really hear the difference in clarity. In order to separate the different elements of the song with the Earpods, I needed to turn the sound up to a nearly unbearable level. The clarity on the 50/50s gave the sound a more three dimensional feel and made separating the channels and listening to the elements of the song individually much simpler.

Finally I listened to a 1 minute section of a song with the Earpods, followed by the same section with the Skullcandies, and once again with the Earpods, and I once again found that the Skullcandies were much better.

I’ll admit that the Skullcandy price difference of $20 does mean they should be better, but even against other $30 headphones I have used, I probably wouldn’t rank the Earpods in the top 3. For free headphones they are great, and markedly better than anything they, or any other company have/has ever offered, but for $30 you can do much better in comfort and quality. Check out our review on the Skullcandy 50/50 or the Sony $20 headphones we’ve reviewed in the past here. Those would be much better paid options.

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Michael Sitver

Michael Sitver is a technology insider who has been blogging about technology since 2011. Along the way, he's interviewed founders of innovative startups, and executives from fortune 500 companies, and he's tried dozens or hundreds of gadgets. Michael has also contributed to works featured in Newsday, The San Francisco Chronicle, and the associated press. Michael also occasionally consults, and writes for Seeking Alpha and Yahoo News.

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