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Apple EarPods review

Apple's redesigned earphones

Our Verdict

For

  • Comfortable fit
  • Bigger clicker
  • Improved performance

Against

  • No noise isolation
  • Muddy performance
  • Awful price

In its unending search for perfection, Apple has decided to completely redesign its iconic white earbuds. The new Apple EarPods with Remote and Mic are now the default earphones that ship with the new iPhone 5 and iPod touch, but you can also buy them separately.

They're still white, and aesthetically they look slightly squashed, but that's because they've been redesigned to ensure the maximum amount of sound is pumped directly into your ear canal.

The new EarPod design makes sense – ear holes are not perfectly round, yet most earbuds are. The new design makes clever use of acoustic vents that enable air to flow in and out, resulting in improved low frequency sound.

Design-wise, they sit somewhere between traditional earbuds and in-ear solutions. While they don't form a vacuum seal like in-ear noise isolating earbuds, they do go deeper than traditional buds.

And because they don't seal themselves in, they feel a bit like they're going to fall out every now and again, but they never seem to.

The EarPods - announced alongside the new iPhone 5, iPod touch, iPod nano, iOS 6 and iTunes - are also not noise cancelling or even noise-isolating, so you can still hear the world around you.

That means when using them outside, your music has to battle against traffic, wind and any other noise, massively degrading the sound performance.

Apple EarPods with Remote and Mic review

Performance

There is no doubt that the EarPods are an improvement over Apple's original bundled earphones.

They performed as expected in voice calls, and the bigger clicker is easier for your fingers to find, which is a definite bonus.

The clicker functions exactly as with previous Apple earphones – there's a built-in mic and volume buttons. And they're compatible with all models of iPhone, iPad and iPod - including iPod touch, iPod, iPod nano, iPod shuffle - though not all models support volume up/down clicker functions.

Audio performance is not terrible, but there's an obvious lack of sonic clarity in every facet of their output. Bass, treble and midrange all bleed into each other, creating a bit of a muddy mess just like Apple earbuds of old.

Apple EarPods with Remote and Mic review

The tinkle at the high-end is certainly better than before, and there's improved bass as well. So they're more than good enough if sound quality is not something you are bothered about. If you're going to be buying an iPhone 5 or one of the new iPods, you'll be getting some marginally better earphones than you might have expected, so that's a good thing.

But for anyone thinking of buying these things separately for £25/$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. In fact, we challenge you to find a pair of £25 earphones on Amazon that sound worse than this - you won't be able to.

Verdict

There is no value to be found here. Buy something else.

Tech Specs

Product TypeEarset
Earpiece TypeBinaural
ColourWhite
Connectivity TechnologyWired
Brand NameApple
Form FactorOpen
Sound ModeStereo
Host InterfaceMini-phone
Earpiece DesignEarbud
Microphone DesignOn-cable
FeaturesWater Resistant, Sweat Resistant
ManufacturerApple, Inc
Product NameEarPods with Remote and Mic
Manufacturer Part NumberMD827ZM/A
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.apple.com/uk
Marketing Information

The Apple EarPods with Remote and Mic are designed to rest comfortably inside - and stay inside - a variety of ear types. The audio quality is so superior, they rival high-end headphones that cost much more. And you can use the improved remote to adjust volume, control music and video playback, and answer or end calls on your iPhone.

Package Contents
  • EarPods with Remote and Mic
  • Storage
  • Travel Case