Here at CNET we review a wide variety of headphones, including some budget models, but rarely do we venture into the sub-$10 range. But in the case of the Panasonic ErgoFit RP-HJE120 earphones, I decided to make an exception.
I saw the ErgoFit RP-HJE120 earbuds on Amazon and opted for the orange model, which I picked up for $6.07 with free two-day shipping because I'm an Amazon Prime member. The model comes in several different colors and some cost a bit more than others, but you should be able to get a pair for less than $10 shipped.
Of course, when it comes to $6 in-ear headphones, you tend to keep your expectations pretty low. Mine were a little higher because I'd read a bunch of favorable user opinions on Amazon, but I nevertheless wasn't expecting too much out of them.
My first reaction upon cutting open the nasty blister pack the product comes in was that the ErgoFit RP-HJE120s indeed looked like cheap earbud-style headphones, albeit with a bit of design flair and dash of cheerful coloring. I believe that when these were originally released they were targeted at iPod Nano owners, and my pair would have gone well with an orange iPod Nano if I owned one.
As you can see from the pictures, these are sort of a hybrid earphone, part hard earbud like your basic Apple earbud and part soft bud. They come with three different-size silicone eartips. At this price, you're more apt to see a hard-bud earphone, but being able to jam the soft tips into your ears helps with sound isolation and maximizes the bass output. I was able to get a tight seal with the largest of the eartips, and I actually thought the earphones were comfortable (in keeping with the ErgoFit name) and they stayed in my ears well.
I wouldn't speak too highly of the cord construction, and the wires leading up to each earbud are pretty thin. The cord does terminate in an L-shaped plug, which is good, although those with thicker "tough" cases on their smartphones may have some trouble getting the plug into the headphone jack.