The BoomGear SX-900S ($39 list) earbuds provide a better-than-average fit by incorporating tiny drivers coated in flexible earpiece pads that form to your ear canals. There's just one problem: they sound terrible.
Another drawback: Despite a relatively high price tag and a tangle-prone, dual-sided cord, the SX-900S doesn't include a carrying case. BoomGear does provide two sets of the interchangeable earpiece pads in slightly different sizes; both sizes fit this reviewer's ears well. Although the 2.5-foot cord is shorter than most, it is just long enough to connect with a portable MP3 player in your pants pocket (if you're of average height).
On a more positive note, the buds fit snugly and comfortably during a 30-minute treadmill run. By comparison, it's virtually impossible to exercise with loose-fitting, standard earbuds such as Sony's MDR-E827G ($19.99 list). It's also worth noting that the SX-900S in-ear drivers did a fairly effective job of blocking out background noise.
Featuring 105dB sensitivity, the SX-900S was capable of playing loudly even when driven by an underpowered portable MP3 player. BoomGear marketing materials claim the SX-900S has "built-in subs for extra bass," but don't be fooled by the hype. When we fired up bass-intensive tracks such as Paul Oakenfold's "Essential Mix at Home in Ibiza," there was little low-end presence. Even worse, midrange frequencies sounded grainy and out of balance with the painfully brash treble. What's more, vocal parts displayed unmistakably whiny, headache-inducing midrange resonance.
In the final analysis, the SX-900S delivers excellent style and comfort, but falls far short on performance. Sony's MDR-EX71SL ($49 list, but widely available for $29) earbuds have a similar physical design, but sound much better and include an extension cord and carrying case. Unless you really don't care about sound quality, opt for the Sony instead.