ID America Spark review: ID America Spark

This model features an inline microphone with a play/pause button that doubles as an answer/end button when making cell phone calls. There's no volume control on the button and Spark says the microphone isn't compatible with all smartphones (it works with the iPhone but is more miss than hit with Android models). My quibble with that inline mic button is that it seems cheaply made and could fall apart over time. Also, it has a rectangular design and the edges are a little bit sharp; the button ended up snagging on my clothing from time to time, which was mildly irritating. It's not a huge deal but Id America should have gone with a design that rounded off the corners.

The Spark has a straight plug rather than a more durable L-shaped plug. Sarah Tew/CNET

One of concern: I can't vouch for just how durable these earphones are. The cords are fairly thin and I don't know how well the Spark would hold up if you accidentally yanked or snagged that cord. I didn't have a problem in the two weeks or so that I've used them, but I was careful to put them in their case when not in use.

The inline microphone has a play/pause button but no volume controls. Sarah Tew/CNET

Performance
As noted, I was pleasantly surprised by the sound quality, and so, too, was CNET contributor and audio guru Steve Guttenberg, who writes CNET's Audiophiliac column. We both thought they sounded like more-expensive earphones. They offer detailed, balanced sound with ample but not overpowering bass, and were strong through the midrange. You're not going to get the level of detail or more nuanced sound you'd get from a higher-end pair of earphones, but these measure up well to plenty of earphones costing $79 or even $99.

Conclusion
The Sparks carry a list price of $59.99 but you can get them online for $49.99 and I've seen the silver version selling for less than $40. They get strong marks for design (unique look, good comfort) and performance. My only concerns are their durability and the build-quality (and sharp edges) of the inline microphone. In all, though, these are very good earphones for the money, particularly if you can get them for less than $40.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Color aluminium silver
  • Weight 0.5 oz
  • Sound Output Mode stereo
  • Additional Features answer/end/play/pause button
  • Type headset
  • Headphones Form Factor in-ear
  • Connector Type mini-phone stereo 3.5 mm 4-pole
About The Author

Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable e-reader and e-publishing expert. He's also the author of the novels Knife Music and The Big Exit. Both titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, and Nook e-books.