September 12th 2012 2:34 pm

75

A $29 revolution in earbuds or another set for the recycling bin?

75

It's safe to say Apple just raised the bar on bundled earbuds, but we wouldn't go so far as to recommend you rush out and purchase them as a standalone set. The key thing about Apple's EarPods is that they're tolerable to use -- a major improvement over the uncomfortable fit and abysmal audio quality of its predecessor and many others. That said, many of the audio improvements become tricky to appreciate outside of quiet listening environments. If you're buying a new iDevice, we'd still recommend picking up better in-ears, especially if you plan on using them outdoors and on the go. Don't be quick to toss them, however, as they're likely to come in handy as a secondary set. The EarPods are possibly the best-sounding set of $29 earbuds, but at the end of the day, that's not saying much.

Critic reviews

7.3
19 reviews
  • Sound quality
    7.8
  • Design and form factor
    7.8
  • Comfort
    7.6
  • Noise isolation
    5.9
  • Durability
    6.7

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User reviews

7.9
75 reviews
8.0
Engadget Sep 18, 2012

It's safe to say Apple just raised the bar on bundled / inexpensive earbuds, but we wouldn't go so far as to recommend you rush out and purchase them as a standalone set.

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7.0
The Wirecutter Sep 14, 2012

Even with tugging. I think $20 is reasonable given it has a mic and remote. But they're $30, and I still prefer the detail of the mono prices over the bass of the ear pods. At this point however, I would not automatically recommend that people replace their apple headphones.

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9.0
Wired Sep 14, 2012

The EarPods ... rectify nearly every complaint I’ve had with Apple’s white earbuds over the last decade. And while they won’t convert those spending hundreds of dollars on luxurious over-the-ear models, these new in-ear headphones do raise the bar for entry-level audio.

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8.0
PC Mag Sep 13, 2012

Apple's new EarPods are the better-fitting, better-sounding earbuds iPods and iPhones should have had all along.

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8.0
Macworld Sep 21, 2012

If you don’t have a set of EarPods, are they worth spending $29 for? In the world of headphones, $29 is fairly inexpensive, and if you’re simply looking to upgrade from existing Apple earbuds, or to replace a lost or broken set, I can recommend the EarPods..

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7.0
CNET Sep 12, 2012

Apple's EarPods offer much-improved sound over the previous standard-issue earbuds, but they won't fit all ears equally well -- and that fit will determine whether you think they're great or just so-so.

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4.0
Gizmodo Sep 14, 2012

We advise against purchasing individually packaged Apple EarPods from your neighborhood Apple Store. They're a little better than before, but they're still among the worst hardware Apple has ever made.

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8.0
Cult of Mac Sep 14, 2012

The sound is fantastically good for the size and price, and although they don't really reach Apple's own stated goal for the sound ("a person sitting in a room listening to high-quality speakers"), they do have a very similar feel, with a real impression of the sound being outside you in 3-D space.

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8.0
Pocket-Lint Sep 17, 2012

They are comfortable to wear, sound good for the price and should mean that you don't have to worry about upgrading the headphones on your new iGadget straight away.

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8.0
PC World Australia Sep 17, 2012

If you don't have a set of EarPods, are they worth spending $35 for? In the world of headphones, $35 is fairly inexpensive, and if you're simply looking to upgrade from existing Apple earbuds, or to replace a lost or broken set, we can recommend the EarPods.

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7.0
Mashable Sep 16, 2012

Three out of four Mashable staffers think Apple's new Earpods are an improvement over what you got before. Whether it's a $29 improvement? That's up to you.

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9.0
iLounge Sep 14, 2012

If you’re looking for a budget-priced headset, the $29 price tag is extremely reasonable for the obvious levels of sound and design quality you’ll get from EarPods with Remote and Mic.

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8.0
TUAW Sep 17, 2012

Should you use them? For most people, the answer will be yes. They ship with your iPhone 5 and iPod and might even fit in your ears for a change. The sound isn't something to write home about but it's a big improvement from where it used to be and, like a I said, a huge improvement over entry-level...

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7.0
PC Pro Sep 14, 2012

If you listen to a lot of music, then, we'd still advise you to upgrade from the EarPods as soon as possible, and we wouldn't recommend them as a standalone buy.

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7.0
TrustedReviews Sep 18, 2012

Sound quality is much improved. However, while the design is novel, they won't get us to turn away from our in-ear isolating earphones.

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6.0
T3 Sep 18, 2012

There's no way that we would've recommended using the Cupertino brand's previous earbuds, but the EarPods do the trick if you don't want to splash out on a new pair, having just spent all your wedge on a shiny new iPhone 5.

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5.0
TechRadar Sep 14, 2012

For anyone thinking of buying these things separately for $30 – forget it. That price is utterly ludicrous. For that money you could bag yourself a decent pair of Sennheisers – low end ones admittedly – but they would still be head and shoulders better than the Apple EarPods.

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8.0
IT Pro Portal Sep 14, 2012

The EarPods aren't perfect – far from it ... The sound is certainly improved on the old earbuds, particularly at the low-end. It’s just a shame that the new EarPods still seem to be a problematic fit for some people’s lugholes.

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First Looks

product preview
SlashGear Sep 12, 2012

First things first: they’re a solid improvement over the standard Apple earphones. That wouldn’t take a huge amount, though, but it’s a welcome change for those picking up one of today’s new devices.

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6.0
veronica veronica

Let's keep this short. They sound fine, like one would expect from any pair of headphones over $20, or even $10! We live in the future, and frankly most people can't tell one set of headphones from another. It's the truth! They're earbuds, not built to fit your ears specifically, and you're...

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4.0
cass cass

I'm kind of surprised how much emphasis they put on the fit of headphones because they pretty much are incompatible with my ears. I've tried on the old style iPod headphones and those stuck in my ears fine. The EarPods are passable if you're sitting still, but if you're planning on walking or...

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8.0
cjtylr cjtylr

Many reviews for the EarPods compare them to a pair of in-ear headphones that probably cost a fair amount more than these. That's understandable, mainly because Apple boasted that they sound better than headphones that cost "hundreds of dollars more." While I wouldn't go that far, these sound...

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9.0
timchoi89 timchoi89

I fell in love with these earbuds the moment I put them on. These buds are so comfortable ! Yes, I understand that the sound is ok and that they're not better than the pair of Ultimate Ears in terms of sound but they are so freaking comfortable. I sat through a 13 hour plane ride a couple days...

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7.0
cossackboy cossackboy

The EarPod only a little more comfortable for me than the original earbuds, but they sound so much better. For the default earphones that come with iPhones and iPods, these are a solid upgrade, but buying them separately, I probably wouldn't again. They sound way better than the other headphones...

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8.0
billcalkins billcalkins

I bought these separately; just to check them out. They are great in the office or at home (if it is quiet). The sound quality is shockingly good. Outside or in an environment with a lot of noise they are not good. I walked outside and had to crank up the volume. They will be used around house.

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7.0
yoshitak yoshitak

Purchased the headphones because I wanted something cheap that had the remote and mic option. They're hands down better than the old headphones, but that's not really saying much. Fore free there's really nothing to complain about. The sound is so so and the comfort level is okay but they do feel...

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8.0
skyzyx skyzyx

I was/am a fan of the old earbuds. They're comfortable (for me; apparently not Veronica Belmont), and the sound is fine when I'm on the bus or walking to work through the bustle of downtown Seattle. The new EarPods are way better. The bass is richer, the highs are crisper, and I'm amazed by how...

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7.0
DamagedGears DamagedGears

The redesign was long time coming. As far as pack in earbuds were concerned, it was decent enough. However, you did get the feeling that they were sourced somewhere from a warehouse in Timbuktu for about $0.05 (including S&H). Now, these new, redesigned Earpods take their design cues from...

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