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Zipbuds Fresh review: Headphones you can zip up

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MSRP: $49.99

The Good The Zipbuds Fresh offer decent sound quality, and the zipper-design of the cord makes it truly tangle free.

The Bad The zipper cord is comparatively heavy and makes some noise when it rubs against your clothing. Also, when rolled up, the cord is relatively bulky compared with other earphones' cords.

The Bottom Line The Zipbuds Fresh offer respectable sound, but the pluses of the tangle-free cord design are compromised by a few drawbacks.

6.3 Overall
  • Design 6
  • Features 6
  • Performance 7

Zipbuds have been around for a few years, and their claim to fame is that their cord is integrated into a zipper. The company's 2012 models, dubbed "Fresh" and "Juiced," come in a variety of colors as well as versions that add a microphone/remote for making calls.

The $40 Zipbuds Fresh reviewed here is the premium model, with better sound and bass response than the Juiced, which starts at $20.

As with all noise-isolation style earphone, sound quality is affected by just how tight a seal you can get. The earphones come with three different-size eartips (small, medium, and large) and you'll want to pick the one that offers the snuggest fit (I went with the large).

The Zipbuds Fresh are available in multiple color options. Sarah Tew/CNET

In all, they sound pretty decent, though they're a little bright, which means they're pushing the treble a bit. I can't say they outperform other earphones in this price class or will wow you, but so long as you get a tight seal, they deliver respectable enough sound with good clarity and ample bass.

The zipper design really does help prevent tangles and it certainly will appeal to younger users who are after a cute, eye-catching design. To adjust how they hang, you simply unzip the cord to whatever length you desire. When you're finished using them, you zip the cord all the way up and then roll the cord up. Alas, no carrying case is included.

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