Some Brief Thoughts on Apple’s New EarPods

Apple's EarPods in their packaging

Apple's EarPods in their packaging

They’re the most comfortable pair of earbuds I’ve owned. I feel like the EarPods were shaped just for my ears. The buttons on the remote are fatter and have a satisfying click. There’s some bass where there really wasn’t any before. Mids and highs sound balanced, even if detail found in more expensive in-ear headphones is lacking. Comparatively to Apple’s old buds they’re much better. Personally I think they look sharp — it’s like having two tiny spaceships dock with your aural receptors.

The EarPods’ design gives it a unique benefit over traditional earbuds: they block more outside noise and are similar to in-ear headphones in this manner, which provide complete noise isolation by the means of fitted plugs. My ears are small, and I’ve had consistently bad luck with in-ear headphones, the smallest plugs always being too large and uncomfortable. Plus, I’m not one who sits still — noise from brushing the headphone cable bothers me. With the exception of maybe the old stocky earbuds that came with the iPod video, Apple’s earbuds have been the most comfortable for me. The new EarPods don’t leave my ears sore after a few hours of wearing them while writing, doing chores, or whatever. A good in-ear pair of headphones (even a pair of $99 Shures from Best Buy) will likely be much more impressive sounding for discerning music lovers, but I’ll take comfort over the omg-my-ears-feel-stuffed-and-my-head-is-going-to-split-open feeling. Everyone’s ears are different (e.g. they fit loosely in Gabe’s ears.)

I’m not a fan of how Apple wraps their cable at the plug and (now at) each stem of the EarPods. The small gray sleeve wrapping around the rubber cable still feels thin and will eventually tear as they have with all my older Apple earbuds, whereas the latest Apple Dock Connector to USB Cables have thick textured end sleeves that feel tough and durable.

Apple’s EarPods are convenient, add extra thump to bass and drums in your music, and come bundled with a new iPhone 5, iPod touch, or iPod nano. Are they worth $29 by themselves? When my current pair wears out or if I lose them, I’ll buy a new pair (I haven’t worn anything else that’s as comfortable). Although you should probably listen to the technology savants from The Wirecutter if you want to save some money or equip yourself with better sounding buds. My choice simply comes down to comfort and having headphones for when I’m traveling, need my hands free during a private call, and for when I need to tune out or not disturb someone else from something.