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Apple EarPods review: more than good enough

Apple's new standard headphones can finally compete

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Introduction

No one missed the launch of the iPhones, iPads, and iPods last year, but Apple also updated a small but very important part of their product line: their standard in-ear headphones. The standard earbuds that you receive with Apple's products have been overhauled. Better late than never, as the original earbuds were never really popular. We're happy to report that the new EarPods sound a lot better.


The first few years after the launch of the iPod i 2001, the rounded, white in-ear headphones were a status symbol. If you were sporting those white earbuds it meant you were the proud, hip and reasonably wealthy owner of that revolutionary mp3 player. They did evolve slightly over the years, but the quality of the earbuds never equalled that of the (audio) device it came with, or other in-ear headphones for that matter.

By 2012, the Apple earpods had slipped from being a status symbol to a free accessory you wanted to replace as soon as you could. The huge popularity of personal audio devices brought with it an avalanche of high-end headphones, such as the popular Beats by Dre.

Apple EarPods with Remote and Microphone
The Apple EarPods

Apparently this fact finally dawned on Apple last year, and a new design of the earbuds was unveiled along with a new name, the EarPods. These promised improved sound quality, but Apple likely came to the same conclusion as other audio brands that you can't make the quality too good of included earbuds. That would negatively impact the lucrative upgrade and cross sale market. Not only for its own deluxe headphones, but also other brands that purchase licences from Apple for the sought-after "Made for iPod/iPhone" sticker.

Bundled headphones should be 'good enough' therefore, something that will get you by for a while, but that also leaves room for buying high-end upgrades. From our perspective it's important that included essential accessories should be of 'good' quality.

The iPad Nano comes with a version without built-in remote, but the iPhone and iPod Touch headphones come with built-in remotes. Those remotes have volume control and let you change track. With the iPhone you can also take phone calls and make phone calls, and it has a built-in mic. This version can also be purchased separately for £26. It's reasonable price for earbuds, but there are always cheaper options of course.


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