earpods
iphone 2012

Ears-On With Apple’s New EarPods: Better Bass, Better Looks, Just Better

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Apple’s new EarPods are available to order today in the Apple Store, but we were lucky enough to get a pair here at TechCrunch for some early testing. The new design is definitely eye-catching, but does performance live up to the looks? Read on to find out.

The Good

These definitely sound better than those earbuds you got with your iPhone 4S and immediately put into a drawer, never to think about again. The sound is much richer and more like what you’d get from Apple’s In-Ear Headphones, though without the sound isolation since they don’t form a seal in your ear canal. That is actually better for general commuting use, however, since it means you can still hear traffic and other environmental sounds.

One thing everyone will probably appreciate is much better bass performance. It’s not overpowering, which you might get on a pair of Monster Beats, and that’s a good thing. You also get better stereo effects, all resulting in a much more immersive listening experience.

Comfort is pretty much a toss-up between these and the last. They do feel a little less likely to fall out of your ears or shift around while you’re walking and wearing, though it also takes a little bit longer to get them seated correctly in the first place.

Smaller openings that don’t use a huge grill alone should increase element resistance and make them more durable, and Apple claims overall they’re designed to better take a beating, and early impressions bear that out.

The Bad

It would be hard for the new EarPods to be worse at anything than the earbuds they replace, if only because those were so bad in every regard. However, one thing I did notice was that the controls/mic pod felt a little bit flimsy and light, which could be a concern for long-term wear, but that could admittedly also just be a mistaken impression.

Conclusions

The new EarPods are better than the old ones, and they come free with new iPhones and iPods, so you can’t really complain. Plus, at $29, while I’m not sure they rival some of my favorites like the Bowers & Wilkins C5 or Klipsch S4i, they sound pretty good. Definitely a better buy than the lackluster In-Ear Headphones with Mic for $79 as a standalone purchase.

Full Coverage - 2012 Apple Event