Colorful earbuds have become increasingly popular with headphone manufacturers, possibly due to consumer demand for something a little more stylish than plain white or black. It's no wonder: earphones are basically accessories that serve to pipe music to your ears, so they might as well be fashionable. Radius, a new Tennessee-based company pushing out Japanese-designed earbuds, is the latest entry into the burgeoning market of fashion-forward electronics. The company has three product lines, one of which is the $30 TruTune ultralight aluminum earphones.
Unsurprisingly, the main feature of the TruTune earphones is a stylish design. Of course, the cable is still iPod-white (except that of the black version), so bystanders might not immediately notice the wearer's fashion-forward thinking. Further inspection reveals light silver earbuds (encased in aluminum) accented by one of eight colors: blue, light blue, red, pink, green, light green, orange, silver, and black. The colorful detailing is repeated at the intersection of the Y-cable and also around the housing of the iPhone-compatible straight plug at the end of the cable. The included extension cable, which attaches to the earphones to give a total potential length of about 5 feet, also features the vivid casing around its plug and port.
The TruTune earphones don't offer many other accessories, just a few sets of silicone sleeves to help the user achieve a proper fit. However, the aperture of each earbud is on the large side, so we couldn't get a tight seal with the ear. If you can, the 'phones are reasonably sound-isolating. Also, we found the TruTune to be quite comfortable after more than an hour of wear. One thing to keep in mind: the left earbud cable is shorter than the right, which is ideal for use with an MP3 player in an armband, but some users may not prefer this style.
Sound quality isn't exactly the TruTune earphones' strong suit, but given the price point we're not entirely surprised. Music sounds just OK--not good, not bad. On the plus side, there's no background hiss, and audio is not muffled or mushy at all. Bass response is reasonably tight and present, though not precisely thumping. The high-end is super detailed and plenty clear. Mids are slightly deficient, and music has a sharp and slightly empty quality to it overall. If you're looking for rich, full, and encompassing sound, these headphones will disappoint. However, the TruTunes offer passable audio for the gym and for users who are more interested in style than sound quality--they're certainly an improvement over stock 'buds, in any case.