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Sony's MDR-E827G headphones ($19.99 list) are basic earbud models featuring the company's yellow-and-gray sports design. They're even water-resistant to fend off sweat damage. But despite all the athletic posturing, the MDR-E827Gs aren't cut out for serious workouts.
Compared to other sub-$20 earbuds, the MDR-E827Gs do have some notable features. For starters, the MDR-E827Gs come with a wind-up case that protects the 'phones and prevents cord tangles. The package includes a pair of foam earpiece covers, but you can also wear the phones without the covers for a tighter fit. But when I jogged outside with the covers installed, the results weren't pretty. Although the relatively short (3.3-foot) cord cut down on slack, tugging was still a major problem. As I ran, the earpieces frequently popped out of my ears, forcing me to spend more time fidgeting with them than getting my heart rate up. After I took off the foam earpiece covers, the headphones didn't slip out quite as frequently, but they were still a nag. If you want a more comfortable, firmer-fitting set of earbuds, check out Sony's MDR-EX71SLs.
The MDR-E827Gs were efficient enough to play quite loud even when driven by my underpowered portable MP3 player. When I fired up Dee-Lite's "Groove Is in the Heart," the track came through loud and clear. To their credit, the MDR-E827Gs delivered a surprising amount of bass. The midrange and treble weren't especially bright or revealing, but the overall sound was decent for a set of exercise 'phones.
In the final analysis, the MDR-E827G offers respectable sound relative to competing models, but they just don't wear well during workouts. What's more, the short cord makes the MDR-E827G an unattractive choice for more passive pursuits. I'd prefer to sweat in Aiwa's HP-JS36 Swoops model or even in Sony's own Street Style headphones.