A heartbreaking tale of Duracell knockoff iPod earbuds

eight AA batteries with iPod earbuds included for free! Could they be as good as the real thing?

Matt Hickey

I just last week spent $30 on new iPhone earbuds. Mine were in the pocket of my favorite peacoat, which was recently stolen by some awful human being. I was shocked by the price, but that's the Apple way.

Today at my local QFC (the "Q" is for quality), I saw the above item for $5.99: eight AA batteries with iPod earbuds included for free! Imagine my excitement! I'll have a backup in case in the jacket thief (or, indeed, thieves) decide to strike again! For less than one-fifth what the fancy name brand cost! I scored, right?

I mean, look at them. They look just like regular iPod earbuds. They're white, shaped with the same design, and feature the helpful "left ear, right ear" icons. I'm sure they're of the same quality I'd get from Apple.

Matt Hickey

I needed the batteries because I'm a photographer. I mostly take photos in the evenings, which means I use an external flash that burns through batteries. That's what prompted my purchase. But at this point my excitement wasn't about the bargain of the power sources but rather the bargain of the free--I mentioned they were free, right?--iPod earbuds!

But wait, is that a flexing bit near the plug? I don't recall my iPhone or iPod earbuds having that. I'm sure it's because these are better. It must be.

Here is the unboxing, because we know you gadget nerds love unboxings.

Matt Hickey
Matt Hickey

Let's see how they work with my iPhone. Clearly, that's the device these white angels were made for. What's this? They don't fit! The recessed earbud jack on the 2G iPhone is too narrow! Now I'm back to square one!

But maybe they'll work with a regular fifth-gen iPod?

They do. They have a use. And they sound like crap. Total, complete crap. No high end, no low end. It's all a clippy, muffled mess. Not saying the iPhone earbuds I just bought are stellar, but now I see the value in $30 for them. These are garbage.

At least I got a good deal on the batteries.

Matt Hickey
Matt Hickey
About the author

    With more than 15 years experience testing hardware (and being obsessed with it), Crave freelance writer Matt Hickey can tell the good gadgets from the great. He also has a keen eye for future technology trends. Matt has blogged for publications including TechCrunch, CrunchGear, and most recently, Gizmodo. Matt is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CBS Interactive. E-mail Matt.


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