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.

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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.

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

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.

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.

What you'll pay

Pricing is currently unavailable.

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