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ShareBuds MX Twin Stereo Earphones (Retractible) review: ShareBuds MX Twin Stereo Earphones (Retractible)

ShareBuds MX Twin Stereo Earphones (Retractible)

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.
Expertise Mobile accessories and portable audio, including headphones, earbuds and speakers Credentials
  • Maggie Award for Best Regularly Featured Web Column/Consumer
David Carnoy
2 min read


ShareBuds MX Twin Stereo Earphones (Retractible)

The Good

The ShareBuds Twin MX Stereo Earphones include two sets of earbuds integrated into one unit; this model includes retractable cords for each set of buds; they sound OK.

The Bad

The retractable element of these ShareBuds just doesn't work all that well.

The Bottom Line

If you're in the habit of frequently sharing your headphones with friends and family members, the Sharebuds are an intriguing concept--but the retractable-cord design isn't implemented as well as it could be and the headphones are overpriced.

What do you do when you only have one iPod and one set of headphones, but you and a friend want to listen at the same time? The common solution is for each person to take one bud each and listen in dreary mono. Sure, people do it, but it's just doesn't sound good.

Well, Mida Interactive has taken the dual-listening experience to a new level with its ShareBuds Twin MX Stereo Earphones, which includes two pairs of stereo earbuds integrated into one product. The good news is they fit comfortably (you get three rubber tip sizes to choose from: small, medium, and large) and sound OK. While they're not going to blow you away with rich tonal qualities or tight, deep bass, they deliver sound that measures up to what you'd get from basic soft-tipped earbuds that cost around $25. Considering you're getting twin headphones, you can see how Mida would come up with a price of $49.99. (Alternatively, of course, you could buy two sets of earbuds and a cheap $2 headphone-jack splitter for dual-listening, but the ShareBuds are clearly designed for serial music or movie sharers).

However, we were disappointed by the retractable-cord design. It's a good idea in theory--two sets of headphones do require some cord management--but we found that the cord just doesn't retract as smoothly as it should and sometimes gets a bit tangled. The retracting mechanism is also cheaply built. While it's not a total dealbreaker, just be forewarned you'll probably have to spend some time getting the cord to roll up just right, which rather takes away from the appeal of the retractable model.

That major gripe aside, we see how this product could be a good fit for kids who like to share their music with friends or a family who doesn't want to carry two sets of headphones on a trip for one DVD player, especially when you consider the ShareBuds' overall size when retracted is pretty compact. It is worth noting, however, that at this price the headphones should have come with some sort of carrying case, even a cheap felt or neoprene one.

In the final analysis, we find the retractable ShareBuds tough to recommend at their current price of $49.99. But if you see them for $25 or less, they're worth considering if dual-listening is your thing. The step-down, nonretractable version of the ShareBuds retails for $10 less and could be a better deal if you don't mind spending a touch more time on cable management.


ShareBuds MX Twin Stereo Earphones (Retractible)

Score Breakdown

Design 6Features 6Performance 5