Wired reviews all-new Apple EarPods: Sleek and comfortable with striking improvements to sound quality

“The EarPods, Apple’s new headphones announced alongside the iPhone 5 on Wednesday, rectify nearly every complaint I’ve had with Apple’s white earbuds over the last decade,” Nathan Olivarez-Giles reports for Wired. “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.”

“Apple’s original Earbuds are an icon of mobile technology… The rounded shape was comfortable enough, but the buds could easily fall out of an ear while you were running, and they did little to block out noise around you,” Olivarez-Giles reports. “Not so with the EarPods, which look and sound far better than their predecessors… The EarPods have a sleek, retro-futuristic cool that evokes Arne Jacobsen‘s Egg chairs. They’d look at home floating next to Eve, the hovering robot in Wall-E. And the improvements to sound quality are especially striking, especially considering the fact that these are $29 headphones (or free with new iPods and iPhones) with drivers smaller than a dime. The EarPods offer a level of richness and detail that I’d usually associate with mid-range and high-range in-ear headphones such as $100-ish sets from Beats, Aiaiai and Shure.”

Olivarez-Giles reports, “I also noticed that the design allows for a comfortable level of isolation. The EarPods aren’t noise-canceling by any means, but they do a good job of blocking out background noise without the discomfort that can come from buds that completely seal off the ear canal… I went for a short run with the EarPods in place, and they didn’t slip out or irritate me at all. Wearing the EarPods for a few hours during the work day was also no bother… Apple says it spent three years designing its EarPods, with more than 124 different prototypes tested out on more than 600 people. Given how much better the EarPods are than EarBuds, there’s no question that the effort was well worth it.”

Much more in the full review here.

Related article:
Meet the all-new Apple EarPods (with video) – September 13, 2012

29 Comments

    1. The basic shape can be copied in 3 months but the actual product can not. Some customers only care how something looks. Discerning customers care how it actually functions.

        1. I’m with you there. I’ve been through dozens. Thanks to best buys warranty on the apple earbuds bought separately. I would trade them out every other month. I’d use them 8-9 hours a day. Sweating all on them. Now I have beat tours. But these are very welcomed. Looking forward to trying them out.

    1. Agreed. My 15 y.o. son just bought himself some Beats in the ear, and it’s driving me and my wife nuts. He can’t hear a damn thing with those in, but with his previous ear buds (non-Apple) he could.

      1. Well…that sounds more like an interpersonal problem. If there are times he needs to be attentive, then I would say those are the times he shouldn’t be wearing them. Of course there’s also the possibility he’s just feigning “deafness”.

      2. My daughter does the same thing.
        Try saying something like . . . “I was thinking of raising the kids allowance” and see just how noise canceling those earphones/buds are.

  1. Apple wouldn’t want their standard design ear-pods blocking out sound. You might like to use them when you’re crossing roads, riding a bike, &c. Think about it. The author hasn’t.

    1. hey I have an idea…. Look both ways before you cross the street…paying attention might also solve the bike riding issue…but perhaps not the way people drive these days …. However I think by the time you here that SUV barreling down on you ….. It’s too late… So you might as well enjoy your music

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