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MP3 Players

Ears-on with the Panasonic RP-HS33 sports earphones

We stick Panasonic's new water resistant RP-HS33 sports earphones in our ears and have a good laugh at how annoying they are

There are loads of affordable earphones in the world, and most of them sound rubbish compared to a pair costing as little as £30. But there's still a market for budget earphones because -- and lets be absolutely honest here -- most people don't realise the bundled ones that come with their MP3 player are about as capable of reproducing decent audio as my cat is at performing the Heimlich manoeuvre.

In fact some are so bowel-emptyingly bad, it's easy for some people to hear what they think is their favourite song, only to find out that through a half-decent pair of cans it sounds wholly different, and not in a good way. This makes us think of French novelist Marcel Proust, who, as a result of the abysmal sound quality of the 19th century Théâtrophone, once thought the noise of a crowd shuffling in their seats during an interval was actually the performance of a much-loved opera he had paid to hear.

So pardon us for not falling immediately head-over-heels in love with Panasonic's new water-resistant RP-HS33 sports earphones. Yes, with their clips-over-the-ear form factor they're ideal for joggers. And yes, they're bright green, just in case you forget that they're only for joggers and fitness freaks. But they look ruddy awful.

It seems that at some point in the past, certain manufacturers bought up thousands of tonnes of radioactive plastic on the cheap, and only gym-goers are fool enough to buy the gear companies make out of the damn stuff. Why is it that no killer electronics product of the last 10 years has been available only in green? Oh, what? The OLPC laptop? Of course. But -- what a surprise -- that's only being sent to kids in developing countries who don't mind laptops that share a hue with a swamp-dwelling ogre who lives with a talking donkey.

No, we don't like bright green electronics. And while these new Panasonic 'phones are reasonably comfortable, they sound just like any bundled earphone -- tinny, lacking bass, offensive to musicians and an insult to eardrums everywhere.

But if you don't want to spend much money, and if you insist on running by the Thames looking like you've spend a month camping in Chernobyl, you'll love the £14.99 RP-HS33s. Just remember that The Beatles never used down-tuned, distorted Ibanez guitars. So if you hear them during Love Me Do, don't say we didn't warn you. -Nate Lanxon