Alan Smithee

ZAGGsmartbuds – Review

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To help in my everyday goal of tuning out the world around me and filling my mind with only the sounds I want to hear, I have either my iPod or iPhone with me every hour of every day and next to them I usually have my trusty pair of Apple headphones…at least when I don’t break them.

I’m not kidding, I tend to go through a set of Apple ear buds just about every three months. I think that I’ve spent just about as much as a brand new iPhone on replacement headphones for these damned portable devices that make my life easier. I finally said to myself that “enough is enough” and decided to actually get a GOOD Pair of headphones for once and that’s when I stumbled upon ZAGG’s answer to my problems, ZAGGsmartbuds.

ZAGG is a local company to us Utah based WPR personnel and as such you can’t go to a mall without walking past their kiosks and just my luck I needed to pick up a replacement screen for my wife’s iPhone (which is another of their awesome services, free lifetime replacements on their invisibleSHIELD covers) when I noticed that they had started selling their own brand of headphones.

For the low (and believe me, I priced the competition’s earbuds) price of $49.99, I picked up my new set of headphones that were meant to replace my Apple headphones (the ones that have the inline mic and volume controls). After spending a few weeks with these as my main source of in-ear entertainment, I have to say that I won’t go back to the white-corded easily broken pieces of crap that good ol’ Apple includes with most of their products…and this is coming from a die hard Apple consumer electronics fan.

To begin, let’s get the details of this product out of the way. These are ear buds of an exceptional quality. The buds themselves are the type that have rubber or foam (4 different pairs of size and materials are included in the box) surrounding the speaker that pipes the music directly to your inner ear. Believe me, once you find that right combination of size and material, mine are the large thin rubber diaphragm type, there’s nothing I’ve ever experienced with headphones of this size. I’ve listened to a few bass heavy albums with the volume cranked all the way up and it’s managed to make my eyes wobble with how hard they hit.

The cable that is attached to the buds is coated in the same plastic material that makes up the company’s invisibleSHIELD screen protectors. For those that might not know, this material is god-damned hard to destroy and will probably survive as much torture you can dish out. Nothing short of a pair of really sharp scissors or a box cutter would cut through this stuff. This is a markedly difference to someone like me whose known nothing more than crappy built headphones.

Perhaps the most innovative bit about this product is the company’s “Hangin’ Tight” method of wearing the ear buds. You see, there’s a reason that ZAGG has made the cord for these headphones longer than most others…but first a hypothetical.

I’m sure as a portable media listener, you’ve dropped your audio player while the ear buds were in your ears, what usually happens? That’s right all of the weight of that dropped item is tranferred to the cord and subsequently to your ear holes. It’s no fun.

So to help with that and the annoying search for your earbuds when not in use, they have this “Hangin’ Tight” method. There are mutiple sliders on the headphone cord to help with this. You just simply provide long enough slack for the headphones to make it to your ears on one end, and put this loop over your head. You now have a pair of headphones around your neck that if you need to take one or both out, they’ll be lying approximately on the lapels of your shirt.

If you were to drop your audio player now, it would make all of the pressure go to the back of your neck instead of on your ear canals which is such a relief.

The only complaint that I have for this product would have to be just a minor one, the only colors available when I purchased mine are black/black and silver/grey. I got the black on black ones and have to say that a bit more color wouldn’t hurt this product. But then again, this could be the Apple fanboy missing his white wired headphones.

All in all, I really have enjoyed having these headphones so far, and they provide the best quality of “ignore the annoying people at my job” sound that I demand from my phones. I suggest that if you’re in the market for replacement headphones that have a built in microphone, ZAGGsmartbuds should be the ones you pick up.

OVERALL: 94%

For those that like to look at product specs, I’ve pulled these directly from the product’s store listing:

Earbuds Specs:

* Speaker diameter: 10mm
* Frequency response: 20hz to 20khz
* Impedance: 16 Ohms
* Max input power: 10mW
* Cable length 1.37 meters/ 54 inches
* Plug type: 3.5mm
* Sensitivity: 94dB +/-3dB SPL/mW

Microphone Specs:

* Microphone with Noise canceling condenser
* Speaker diameter: 10mm
* Frequency response: 30hz to 16khz
* Impedance: 10 Ohms
* Sensitivity: 42dB +/-3dB

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