Etymotic hf2 review: Etymotic hf2

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good The Etymotic hf2 earphones offer great sound quality, and there's a built-in mic for making and receiving calls. A couple of useful accessories, such as a case, are included.

The Bad The Etymotic hf2 earphones don't work with all MP3 players. They may be uncomfortable for those who don't like sticking things far into the ear.

The Bottom Line For iPhone users with a penchant for improved sound quality and a willingness to stick things in their ears, the Etymotic hf2 earphones are a reasonable option.

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The iPhone is a great multimedia device, but it's not perfect. One of the most glaring oversights for this music phone is the lack of stereo Bluetooth (A2DP) compatibility. As a result, you're limited to clunky adapters or wired headsets if you want to enjoy music and talk to the fullest. Now, you can count on another wired option from Etymotic, the hf2 Noise-Isolating Headset + Earphones. These headphones will set you back $179, but they offer very good sound and a handy built-in mic. However, they won't necessarily work with another MP3 player you may have.

The design of the Etymotic hf2 is fairly standard for a noise-isolating set. One thing to note, though, is that these go even further into the ear than many similar models. They come with three types of ear fittings: two sizes of triple-flange tips and one set of extra-long foam tips. Each set requires insertion pretty far into the ear to achieve a proper seal, so if that sounds uncomfortable to you, steer clear. From the thin, black earbuds, a black Y-cable descends about 12 inches, where it joins and continues for another 34 inches--it's plenty long for most portable applications. A lapel clip comes attached to the cable to help position the in-line mic to your liking. The mic features a single button for answering and ending calls. Etymotic also includes a zippered case for storage and a handy (though gross) tool for cleaning ear wax out of the earbuds.

The Etymotic hf2s are capable of providing some great sound quality, so it's a bit of a bummer that they're not totally interchangeable with other MP3 players. They work fine with iPods and the Zune, but we experienced various problems--from static to mids dropping out--when we tried to use them with a Sansa Clip and a Zen. It's an unfortunate side effect of the necessary mic channel on the headset plug. Music coming from our test iPhone sounded nice and clear, with tight, thumping bass. Mids were warm, and high-end details came through well with a decent amount of sparkle.

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Where to Buy

Etymotic hf2 Headset + Earphones - headset

Part Number: ER23HF2BK
Pricing is currently unavailable.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Color black
  • Weight 1.3 oz
  • Sound Output Mode stereo
  • Additional Features answer/end button
  • Type headset
  • Headphones Form Factor in-ear
  • Connector Type mini-phone 3.5 mm 4-pole