One thing I've learned is that you can never have enough earbuds. Indeed, if your house is anything like mine, any earbuds you own will get "borrowed" by your spouse or children and mysteriously never return. Also, it's great to have extra sets available in the car, your backpack, your gym bag, and so on.
Ah, but at what price? A pretty low one today: Amazon has the JLab JBuds J5 noise-isolating earbud headphones for $9.99. Shipping is free if you're an Amazon Prime subscriber or pad your cart to at least $35 (simple: buy four pairs!), otherwise it adds about $6.
The J5s are available in your choice of 10 snazzy colors (I especially like "Sneaker Head," pictured here, and "Sport Yellow"). They're constructed from aluminum and have reinforced joints, which is nice if you've ever used super-cheap headphones that don't. (The cable tends to fray and pull loose in short order.)
Of particular interest, JLab supplies four sets of silicone tips so you can get the absolute best fit for your ears. (Most earphones come with just three sizes.) There's also a clip to keep the cord from flopping around, another small but appreciable perk.
So. The reviews. They're mixed, averaging out to 3.6 stars. I haven't tried these myself, but I do know a couple "mistakes" people tend to make when it comes to reviewing earphones like these.
First, these are noise-isolating earbuds, meaning they're designed to seat snugly inside your ear canals. If you've only ever used regular earbuds, like the kind that used to come with iPods, this can feel weird at first. And if you don't seat them properly, they won't sound good. At all.
Second, once you do create that inner-ear seal, even the slightest brushing of the cord can cause an annoying sound. The clip provided here should help, but it's just something to be aware of. This problem, cited by several reviewers, is hardly limited to the J5s.
I'm not saying these are the world's best headphones, merely that they're an attractive deal at $9.99 and worth consideration if you want a ruggedish pair in a color that matches your favorite running outfit. Your thoughts?