Apple In-Ear (White) review: Apple In-Ear (White)

  • 1

CNET Editors' Rating

2.5 stars OK

Average User Rating

2 stars 2 user reviews
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Affordable in-ear headphones; above-average clarity and detail; iPod-style travel case.

The Bad They don't fit as well as they should.

The Bottom Line The Apple In-Ears are definitely a step up from the 'buds that come with the iPod, but we wish they fit more snugly.

Editors' Top Picks

Editor's note: We have changed the rating in this review to reflect recent changes in our rating scale. Click here to find out more.

It's no wonder Apple's iPod is a huge hit. It's beautifully designed, and it sounds great--as long as you steer clear of the lackluster earbuds that ship with it. The company now has a better idea: the $39 Apple In-Ear headphones. Though they have the same iPod-friendly, all-white color scheme as their predecessors, the In-Ears, with their rubberized earpieces, are not only intended to be more comfortable but to offer superior sound.

After comparing the two models, we much prefer the Apple In-Ears to the 'buds that came with our iPod. The In-Ears put out richer sound, play louder, and offer greater isolation from outside ambient noise. At 42 inches long, the Apple In-Ear's cable is nice and short, offering ample but not excessive length when connected to the iPod's in-line remote cable; you could, of course, use them with anything that has a standard 1/8-inch minijack plug. You get a selection of three pairs (small, medium, and large) of interchangeable rubbery earpieces; try 'em all to see which is the most comfortable. One minor design snafu: The headphone's teensy "left" and "right" labels will be illegible in broad daylight to many owners and worthless to everyone in low-light conditions. But on the bright side, Apple includes a cool-looking, plastic storage case.

The skimpy owner's manual doesn't offer any advice about proper insertion techniques; the only way we could achieve the required 'bud-to-ear seal was to fit the In-Ears upside down, with the wires facing forward so that they looped up and over our ears. We had used that strategy with our Shure E2c ($99) in-ear 'phones with great success. A contest between these two models gave the nod to the Shures for their bigger, more bass-driven sound and their superior ambient noise isolation on the NYC subway. But that's to be expected, with the Shures (and our current favorite earbuds, the $130 Etymotic ER-6 Isolators ) costing two and a half times the price of the Apple headphones. Then again, Sony's MDR-EX71SL also offers good sound and a snug fit for a mere $50.

Our main problem with these headphones was that we had trouble keeping them in our ears. Joggers, take note: While we were walking, the In-Ears lasted five minutes before flopping out (though the fit will likely vary from person to person). That's too bad, considering everything else that's good about them.

Editors' Top Picks

 

ARTICLE DISCUSSION

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Jan. 7, 2004
  • Sound Output Mode stereo
  • Type headphones
  • Headphones Form Factor ear-bud
  • Connector Type mini-phone stereo 3.5 mm
About The Author

Ex-movie theater projectionist Steve Guttenberg has also worked as a high-end audio salesman, and as a record producer. Steve currently reviews audio products for CNET and works as a freelance writer for Home Theater, Inner Fidelity, Tone Audio, and Stereophile.