Cheap earbuds are not hard to come by; there are hundreds of sets on the market that won't cost you a penny over $30. And all of them are, by and large, indistinguishable from one another. Of course, there are the rare exceptions, such as the iBlink Earbuds. This $25 set features integrated LEDs that blink to the "beat" of the music, and while the construction is cheap and the sound quality won't be passable for discerning listeners, the flashing light gimmick is sure to appeal to more than a few tweens and teens.
The iBlink Earbuds come in six configurations, allowing you to choose from a variety of color combos depending on what appeals to your eye. The earbuds themselves are either white or black, and then you can select from three LED hues: power pink, electric blue, or hot white. We have to say we're a bit disappointed that the lights are not multicolored, but one can't expect much at this price point. The LEDs--which are integrated into both earpieces and the battery module that supports them--supposedly blink to the beat of the music, but it would be more accurate to say they flash with the overall sound. Much of the time, the vocals are what drives the light timing. Still, they are at least in step with the music.
As you might expect from such headphones, the iBlink Earbuds are exceptionally cheap in construction, and we don't have much hope for their durability over time. The cable is super thin and doesn't appear to be all that reinforced at the connections. The earbuds also have a cheap plastic feel, though the battery module seems more substantial, and it's nice that there's a rechargeable cell (a USB charger is included in the package). Also, there's an integrated shirt clip to ensure the module doesn't pull the earbuds out of your ears. The earpieces themselves are fairly comfortable--if a bit large--and there are three sets of silicone eartips to help with fit. Certainly, fit will vary by user, but the iBlinks fit pretty securely in our case.
Unsurprisingly, the main complaint with the iBlink Earbuds is with the sound quality. Anyone with any sort of ear for good audio is going to be disappointed. Music sounds hollow, muffled, and slightly distorted overall. And if there's any improvement of stock 'buds in the bass department, it is barely discernible. The saving grace is that sound is not so harsh it makes our ears bleed, and younger listeners will likely not be as picky as us when it comes to playback. Taking the target audience into consideration allows us to cut the iBlinks quite a bit of slack here, but experienced listeners should take heed: these are not for you.