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Monster iSport Victory In-Ear Headphones review: A winning in-ear sports headphone that fits securely and sounds very good

The Monster iSport Victory is a little pricey, but it does offer a great water-resistant fit as one of the better-sounding in-ear sports headphones out there.

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David Carnoy
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David Carnoy

Executive Editor / Reviews

Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.

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The iSport Victory is Monster's premium in-ear wired sports headphone. It comes in a couple of different colors and retails for around $150 in the US, £130 in the UK, and AU$229 in Australia. That's probably a little more than it should cost, but it does offer a great fit and is one of the better sounding in-ear sports headphones out there.

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Monster iSport Victory In-Ear Headphones

The Good

The Monster iSport Victory fits very securely and comfortably and is sweat-resistant and literally washable. It also delivers good sound, with strong bass and detail. An Apple-friendly inline remote and microphone is included along with a smart carrying case.

The Bad

The headphone seals out the outside world, which can be bad if you're a runner or biker and want to hear oncoming traffic. The remote buttons are small, and the middle ControlTalk button is stiff.

The Bottom Line

Despite a couple of small flaws, the Monster iSport Victory offers a great fit, is water-resistant, and one of the better sounding in-ear sports headphones out there.

I'm a fan of the iSport Victory and have been using it for a while, though I'm gravitating more toward Bluetooth headphones for running and working out at the gym these days, so part of me kind of wishes this came in a wireless version.

That said, the headphone has a few things going for it. First, thanks to the included SportClip "winged stabilizers" -- those soft plastic appliances that fit into the inside of your ear -- it offers a very secure, comfortable fit and you can get a good, tight seal. As a result, bass performance is very good. Overall the Victory sounds quite good and delivers more refined sound than the earlier and less expensive iSport Immersion, which has been discontinued.

Monster iSport Victory product photos

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This is a pretty aggressive headphone that's definitely forward sounding with lots of bass and good detail. It's a little hyped in the bass and treble, but that's how you get the more exciting sound that many people are looking for.

Just be aware that the headphone does seal out the outside world quite well, so you may not hear cars coming if you're playing your music loud while running or riding your bike. If you're looking for more a more open design that lets some sound in, Monster makes the iSport Intensity , and I also like Bose's $130 Freestyle ear-bud style headphone.

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The iSport Victory comes in lime green and black. Sarah Tew/CNET

As you might expect from a sports model, the Victory is sweat-proof and can literally be rinsed off, which is handy. It's durable and also has a flat cord, which helps keep that cord from tangling up. I also like the carrying pouch that's included. It's simple, but easily springs open and shut and is very compact.

My only design gripe is with the inline remote. The buttons are small and the middle ControlTalk button, which also advances tracks forward and back, is stiff and hard to use.

Android and Windows Phone users should also be warned that some of the remote features won't work with their phones because this is an Apple-friendly remote. You can, however, make calls using the built-in microphone.

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What you get in the box. Sarah Tew/CNET

Conclusion

Aside from a couple small shortcomings, the Victory is a well designed sports headphone with strong sound. As I said, this headphone retails for $150, £130 or AU$229, but what's interesting is that the green version seems to be selling for less than this black version. I've seen it for $120, £120 or AU$195 online (the price fluctuates), which is closer to what this headphone should cost, and at that price it's a decent deal.

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Monster iSport Victory In-Ear Headphones

Score Breakdown

Design 9Features 8Sound 8Value 7
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