EarPollution Reflex Earbuds (with Mic
Portable headphones come in two main styles: in-ear and on-ear. The former comprises the ultratiny earbuds and canalbuds that you place at least somewhat inside your ears, while the latter often features a headband and circular earpads that rest over the ears. iPod accessories maker iFrogz offers several models in both varieties in its EarPollution headphone line; the in-ear Reflex Earbuds with Mic are the subject of this review. These affordable earphones retail for just $29.99, but can be found for about half that online. It's a good thing, too, because while the Reflex Earbuds offer a handy inline mic and iPod controls, sound quality leaves a lot to be desired.
But first: design. The EarPollution Reflex earbuds' look and feel somewhat betrays their ultralow price tag. The cable, while superthin on the Y portion, is quite flexible and not overly thin in the main. Plus, it offers a bit of reinforced housing where it attaches to each earpiece, although we are still not confident they will hold up in the long run. The 'buds themselves are some of the smallest we've seen and feature angled arms for a better fit. As a result, we found the earphones to be both secure and comfortable, and iFrogz includes three sizes of silicone eartips to help in this regard.
However, we believe the sleeves also contribute somewhat to the downfall of the sound quality. Namely, they don't provide a good seal between the Reflex earpieces and the ears of the wearer. As such, audio ends up sounding thin and hollow overall. Even when we shoved the earbuds in--and we mean really far, uncomfortably far--they were lacking the warmth we desired, and bass was completely deficient.
On the plus side, the EarPollution Reflex earphones do feature an inline mic on the left side of the Y cable for use with music phones. It offers a call answer button that can also be used to control the iPod. Clicking once plays/pauses music, twice skips forward through tracks, and three times goes back. This feature works as advertised, and the Reflex is the cheapest model of headphone we've come across to offer it. However, unless you are on the tightest of budgets, are desperate for this functionality, and find Apple's stock earbuds unbearable, we'd recommend steering clear of this particular set.