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JLab Epic in-ear headphones review:

Not quite epic, but quite decent

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A decent carrying case is included. Sarah Tew/CNET

You also get a protective carrying case, which is nice. It's a little bigger than it needs to be, but that isn't such a bad thing -- it's easy to get the headphones in and out of the case.

I liked the Epics' sound, though their sound profile leans toward the aggressive end of the spectrum (if you like a warmer, more laid-back headphone, this isn't). They're a tad bright and there's a little bass push -- and that bass isn't incredibly tight at higher volumes -- but the earphones deliver good clarity and are quite punchy without being boomy.

While the Epics don't have the clean, refined sound of significantly more expensive in-ears, I thought they acquitted themselves well for their price point. They're designed for mobile devices and are easily driven -- I had to turn down the volume to about 65 percent when listening to tracks on an iPhone 5S and a Galaxy S4 or risk ear damage and listening fatigue.

Close-up of the one-button inline remote microphone.

In my listening tests, I put them up against the Sol Republic Relay earphones, which come with a special silicone ring to ensure a secure fit. The Relays have a slicker-looking design and are water-resistant, but the Epics delivered a bit better sound, offering more detail in particular (the Relays are also a little hyped in the bass, as are most "mainstream" headphones these days). I found that the Epics had a similar sound profile to the Monster iSport Immersion headphones, which also offer a very secure fit.

I made a few calls with the Epics and the microphone worked well enough, though outdoors in the noisy streets of New York I did end up pulling it closer to my mouth to make sure people heard me.

The headphones also come in black and feature a flat, tangle-resistant cord design. Sarah Tew/CNET

My only real gripe about the Epics is that they look a little cheap (they look more like $30 earphones), which is the same way I felt about Sol Republic's $40 Jax earphones. The Epics aren't expensive, but I've seen sub-$50 in-ears that look and feel a little swankier (Moshi's Mythro is a good example).

Otherwise, there's a lot to recommend about the Epics. They offer a comfortable, secure fit, have plump bass, and deliver pretty detailed sound with an aggressive tilt that a lot of mainstream listeners like these days. It's not the most refined sound, but the Epics are definitely worth considering if you're looking for an affordable, decent-sounding in-ear that will stay in your ear.

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