Koss Clipper Lightweight Clip-on (Silver) review: Koss Clipper Lightweight Clip-on (Silver)

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CNET Editors' Rating

2 stars Mediocre
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Secure, comfortable fit for exercising and working out; ultracompact lightweight design.

The Bad Mediocre sound; doesn't include carrying case; tangle-prone cord; lacks in-line volume control.

The Bottom Line The Koss KSC22s' exceptionally secure, comfortable fit make them a good choice for runners and gym bunnies, but their sound quality is strictly mediocre.

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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.

You enjoy listening to music while jogging, but standard headphones are typically uncomfortable, with earbuds jammed into your auditory canals or bouncing around as you log your miles. The perfect solution, then, is clip-on earbuds, which loop snugly around your ears. Koss's KSC22s ($14.99 list) hug your ears tightly and are exceptionally comfortable to wear while exercising. Unfortunately, these bargain 'phones are otherwise mediocre.

Intended primarily for wearing during workouts, the KSC22 headphones feature a lightweight, compact design. But if you're seeking extra features, look elsewhere. Despite the fact that the 'phones have a tangle-prone cord, Koss couldn't be bothered to throw in a carrying case. Further, there's no convenient in-line volume control like those you'll get on some sporty models, such as Aiwa's HP-JS36 Swoops ($24.99 list). On the plus side, the KSC22s' 4-foot cord prevents excessive slack when you use them with a portable MP3 player.

In terms of comfort and wearability, the KSC22s are winners. Along with foam-covered earpieces, the 'phones have rubberized ear clips that help prevent slippage. When I took the 'phones along for a 30-minute treadmill session, they didn't budge from my ears. The same can't be said for several of the competing earbuds we've tried, such as Sony's MDR-E827Gs . And the ear clips didn't interfere with eyeglasses or sunglasses, either.

As for sound quality, the KSC22s are nothing special. Although they played loud enough for my taste, they couldn't reach especially high volume levels when driven by my underpowered MP3 player or by the CD players built into my gym's workout machines. When I fired up selections from the Beastie Boys' To the Five Boroughs, for instance, the sound was fairly dull and small, and there wasn't much bass.

If you're looking for inexpensive headphones that stay put during a workout, the KSC22s are a decent choice. Because of the headphones' tangle-prone design, however, I'd be a lot more enthusiastic if Koss included a carrying case.

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Quick Specifications

  • Release date Jun 15, 2002