Panasonic ErgoFit RP-HJE120 review: $6 in-ear headphones you won't regret

The Panasonic ErgoFit RP-HJE120 earphones come in a variety of colors.


As you can see from the pictures, these are sort of a hybrid earphone, part hard earbud like your basic Apple earbud and part soft bud. They come with three different-size silicone eartips. At this price, you're more apt to see a hard-bud earphone, but being able to jam the soft tips into your ears helps with sound isolation and maximizes the bass output. I was able to get a tight seal with the largest of the eartips, and I actually thought the earphones were comfortable (in keeping with the ErgoFit name) and they stayed in my ears well.

I wouldn't speak too highly of the cord construction, and the wires leading up to each earbud are pretty thin. The cord does terminate in an L-shaped plug, which is good, although those with thicker "tough" cases on their smartphones may have some trouble getting the plug into the headphone jack.

The earphones come with 3 different-size silicone eartips.

As for the sound quality, what's impressive about the ErgoFit RP-HJE120 earphones is that they actually sound decent and compare favorably with many earphones costing $25 to $30. By that I mean you get a reasonable amount of both bass and detail, and they only tend to reveal their truly budget nature on quieter, more refined tracks (jazz, acoustical material) where they're apt to have a harsher edge. They also have their limitations with bass-heavy material.

I passed them over to fellow CNET editor Matthew Moskovciak, who's usually pretty hard on headphones, and he had mostly good things to say. "Not bad," he said. "Not bad at all." He liked them with rock tracks but didn't find them quite as pleasant when listening to The Beatles, for instance.

Editor Justin Yu was equally impressed after listening to them and recommended them as a more cost-effective replacement for the stock Apple earbuds.

The cord is thin and does have a tendency to become tangled if you stuff the earbuds in a pocket.

I don't want to raise your expectations too much, but whether you're in the habit of losing things or breaking $30 to $40 earphones (Skullcandy, I'm looking at you), or just looking for lightweight earphones to use at the gym, you should definitely give these a try.

At around $6, you don't have much to lose. If worst comes to worst and they don't fit as well as you'd hoped, you can always give them to someone else. And if you do like them, well, you might just end up getting a second pair in a different color.

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