Zipbuds Juiced review: Basic earphones you can zip up

The zipper cord is sturdy but makes noise when it rubs against your clothing. Sarah Tew/CNET

While the cord seems sturdy and the design has its pluses, it also has some noticeable drawbacks. For starters, it's a bit heavy, which means you probably won't want to use these earphones for running outside (they might be suitable for gym use, however).

The other problem is that since these are noise-isolating earphones that passively block out ambient noise, you will hear the cord rubbing against your clothing, with the zipper design magnifying that noise (you can hear a traditional thin cord with a cloth or rubber casing brushing up against your clothing, but the noise is muffled compared with the noise this cord produces).

Finally, when you roll these earphones up for storage, the ring they make is not so compact; they're just bulkier than other earphones. That said, they don't tangle and are very easy to unravel.

This Juiced model doesn't have as much bass as the step-up Zipbuds Fresh. Sarah Tew/CNET

Conclusion
Though I didn't think the higher-end Fresh Zipbuds were a good deal at $40, I did like them better than this model. They just seem a little better built and more comfortable to wear (and yes, they sound better, though still not great). Both models are truly tangle-free but the zipper design creates other issues, including excess noise from the cord rubbing against your clothing. Some people won't mind this as much as others, and the earphones are fine for stationary use.

From a comparison standpoint, there are certainly other earphones in this price class -- and some much cheaper models, including Panasonic's $17 RP-HJE355 -- that sound better and are more comfortable to wear (see our list of headphones for under $50 for more options). So I'll say the same thing I said about the Fresh Zipbuds: the only reason to buy these is if you can't resist the novelty of the zipper cord design, or if having a tangle-free earphone cord is a big priority.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Color pink
  • Additional Features zipper cord
  • Type headphones
  • Headphones Form Factor in-ear
  • Sound Output Mode stereo
  • Connector Type mini-phone stereo 3.5 mm