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Zipbuds Juiced review: Basic earphones you can zip up

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MSRP: $19.99
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The Good The Zipbuds Juiced are relatively inexpensive and the zipper design of the cord makes it truly tangle-free.

The Bad The zipper cord is comparatively heavy and makes some noise when it rubs against your clothing. Also, when rolled up, the cord is relatively bulky compared with other earphones' cords.

The Bottom Line Despite its tangle-free qualities and sub-$20 price tag, the only reason to buy these is if you can't resist the novelty of the zipper cord design.

5.7 Overall
  • Design 6.0
  • Features 6.0
  • Performance 5.0

Review Sections

Zipbuds have been around for a few years, and their claim to fame is that their cord is integrated into a zipper. The company's 2012 models, dubbed "Fresh" and "Juiced," come in a variety of colors as well as versions that add a microphone/remote for making calls for $10 more.

The $19.99 Zipbuds Juiced reviewed here is the entry-level model, while the step-up Fresh ($40) offers better bass response and overall sound.

As with all noise-isolation style earphones, sound quality is affected by just how tight a seal you can get. The earphones come with three different-size eartips (small, medium, and large) and you'll want to pick the one that offers the snuggest fit (I went with the large).

The Zipbuds Juiced are available in multiple color options. Sarah Tew/CNET

In all, they sound OK, though I didn't find them terribly comfortable to wear when I jammed the tips into my ears in order to get a tight enough seal (if I lost the seal, they sounded very thin). In terms of sound quality, they're what you'd expect from an inexpensive set of earbuds. For some folks, that sound will be acceptable. For others, it just won't cut it, and these guys just don't outperform other earphones in this price class.

On a positive note, the zipper design really does help prevent tangles and it certainly will appeal to younger users who are after a cute, eye-catching design. To adjust how they hang, you simply unzip the cord to whatever length you desire. When you're finished using them, you zip the cord all the way up and then roll the cord up. Alas, no carrying case is included.

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

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