The iPhone is arguably one of, if not the most revolutionary products of this generation. When it first came out in early 2007, chairman and CEO Steve Jobs told the world that Apple was going to reinvent the phone. It actually did more than that. The iPhone essentially started a smartphone revolution, with Apple and its major competitors racing towards providing the public with the most powerful computer that fits in the palm of their hands. In short, the iPhone redefined the smartphone category.
During the first few months after its release, the iPhone sold 1.4 million units, and was already attracting the attention of manufacturers who wanted to come out with their line of iPhone-compatible accessories, like the iPhone Earbuds. One of the first of these third-party accessories were the earphones. It soon became apparent that as sophisticated and as revolutionary as the iPhone was, the accessories that came with it – namely, the earbuds – were just too basic. It did what it was supposed to do, and nothing more. This realization spawned a new market, and manufacturers were scrambling to develop their own line of accessories designed for use on the iPhone.
Today, the number of third-party iPhone accessories on the market can easily be in the millions, and they come in just about every shape and form imaginable. The earbuds that come with new iPhones have vastly improved, but compared to some of the best-selling third-party accessories that you see today, they still seem too basic, not only when it comes to design and function, but also in terms of performance. Many of the third-party Apple earbuds that you can buy today have a much better sound profile than the supplied Apple earbuds, and they offer a whole lot of other extras as well.
With so many Apple earbuds available in the consumer electronics market, finding one that best suits your needs can be difficult. While there are plenty of amazing products out there that are a definite leap forward when compared to the Apple earbuds, there are even more that are mere knockoffs and cheap imitations. So do you know which one to buy? If you are on the market for high quality earbuds designed to enhance the way you use and listen with your iPhone, you must first understand the key characteristics that define a great product.
What to Look for When Shopping for New iPhone Earbuds
- Compatibility – Unfortunately, there can be a few compatibility issues when it comes to Apple earbuds and accessories in general. Because the iPhone runs on its own operating system and its proprietary hardware protocols, what is compatible with the iPhone may not always work on your Android or Windows smartphone, and vice-versa. However, device and accessory manufacturers are already working tirelessly towards resolving compatibility issues, which is why you can now find a number of iPhone accessories that will work just as well with your non-iOS device. Of course, if you want your earbuds to work exclusively on your iPhone, there’s nothing wrong with that either.
- Sound Quality – Obviously, if you are in the market for new earphones, you will want a product that sounds good, or at least, better than the Apple earbuds that came with your iPhone. Read reviews and online comments about the particular set that you are interested in, and find out from others if the earphones are really worth your attention. Better yet, go to a store and try them out for yourself. It also goes without saying that since you are looking for earbuds to use on a mobile phone, you will want outstanding sound quality not just when you’re listening to music or watching a movie on your iPhone, but also when you’re talking on the phone, or video chatting with a friend. It is important that the audio coming through the earbuds is not only clear and audible, but also intelligible.
- Design and Durability – Since you most likely take your iPhone with you wherever you go, you will want earbuds that are well-designed and durable enough to withstand the rigors of your daily grind. Many of the iPhone earbuds available today were designed with maximum comfort and convenience in mind, making use of soft, cushioned materials as well as lightweight ergonomic designs.
The bottom line is that, no two Apple earbuds are ever built the same way. You need to know what these products are capable of, and what purposes you intend to use them for. Will you be using them primarily while travelling or while working out at the gym? Will you use them in an office setting or in a club with loud background noise? The answers to these questions should give you a better idea of what you want to buy.
4 Of The Top iPhone Earbuds On The Market Today
One of the few high quality noise cancelling in-ear type headphones on the market today is the aptly named QuietComfort 20i from audio electronics industry leader Bose. An Apple-compatible sibling to the highly popular Bose QuietComfort 20, which was designed for use with Android, Blackberry, and Windows smartphones, the equally impressive QuietComfort 20i delivers amazing sound performance, extreme comfort, and durability. It is equipped with one of the most advanced active in-ear noise cancelling systems available today; a feature that is leaps and bounds ahead of what other earphones can only dream about having. While the soft silicone tips on the QuietComfort 20i does very little in terms of passive noise isolation, its active components does a remarkable job of cancelling ambient noise. It does this by picking up and analyzing background noise, before sending out an equal and opposing audio signal that effectively cancels out noise. This active noise cancelling feature is prevalent in full-sized over-ear and even on-ear type headphones, but it is rarely seen in in-ear models. It is also worth pointing out that the active noise cancelling capabilities of the QuietComfort 20i can easily be switched on and off, thanks to a control box that is conveniently located along the earphones’ audio cable. Its noise cancelling capabilities should be reason enough to consider the QuietComfort 20i as one of the best iPhone earbuds out there, but its superb audio quality and comfortable design really seal the deal.
The name Shure has always been associated with high quality audio input and output products, and the SE215-K definitely lives up to the company’s reputation. Delivering outstanding sound performance thanks to its lightweight low-profile design and its effective noise isolating capabilities. Its soft, angled ear tips create a tight yet comfortable fit that also seals out a fair amount of ambient noise. Aside from its unique earpiece design, one other feature that is worth mentioning is its detachable wireform cables. Worn over the ears instead of just dangling freely from the ear lobes, these audio cables conform to the contours of your outer ear, holding them in place as you continue about your day. Sound quality is superb, and its bass is low and powerful. The SE215-K comes with six pairs of rubber and foam tips and a handy carrying case for easy storage. Retailing for around $100, the SE215-K is as good as advertised, maybe better.
Wood has amazing acoustical properties, making it the perfect material to build musical instruments and audio equipment such as speakers and amplifiers with. This is also why Symphonized Audio incorporated wood into some of its products, including the NRG Premium In-Ear Noise Cancelling Headphones. It provides outstanding audio quality, and its soft silicone earbuds create a tight but comfortable seal around the ear canal, effectively keeping ambient noise out. The NRG Premium also has a built-in mic so that you can take calls hands free. It is also compatible with your iPod or any other portable music player that has a standard 3.5mm audio output jack. With its handcrafted earpiece, durable design, and remarkable sound quality, the NRG Premium could very well be the best $20 that you will ever spend in your lifetime.
Multi-industry leader Sony pulled no punches and spared no expense when the company designed the MDR XB50AP. Delivering a remarkable sound performance that encompasses a wide range of audio frequencies, the MDR XB50AP does a lot better than what its $35 price tag suggests. It is fitted with an omnidirectional mic that lets you receive calls hands free, and a multi-function inline remote. Its soft, comfortable ear tips form a natural sound barrier that keeps external noise out, giving you optimal sound isolation that only works to further improve your overall listening experience. It is also solidly built, but lightweight and compact enough that you won’t mind wearing them over long hours. Between its retail price and its outstanding audio performance, the MDR XB50AP is indeed one of the better options for you to consider when you want to find the best iPhone earbuds on the market today.