The most popular style of headset for iPhone users seem to be in-ear style earbuds. This review will provide a comparison of three earbud models that cost under $100.
In Search of the Perfect Headset
I have been searching for the perfect earbuds for my iPhone for over two years. While I have not found a perfect pair, I did find that a higher price does not mean a better product.
In the first of this two part series, I will be comparing three earbuds priced under $100. While they do not offer the sound quality of more expensive models, they provide a viable alternative for the budget minded consumer.
Griffin Tunebuds Mobile
The Griffin Tunebuds Mobile were one of the first headsets I tried. They have an inline mic with button for call and music control. They include three sizes of silicone tips and a carrying case. What differentiates the Tunebuds Mobile is the nylon cord which is suppose to prevent tangling. From my experience, the nylon cord only helps to make untangling easier.
The fit and sound quality of the Tunebuds Mobile were decent. For $39.99, most non-audiophiles will be happy. Call volume was fine but callers did complain about call volume. When compared with the Apple headset, most people preferred the call quality and volume of the Apple headset.
Build quality of the Tunebuds Mobile was a problem for me. They work for casual use but are not made for gym use. However, Griffin does have a great support staff is great as I promptly received replacements for two pairs of earbuds that failed from gym use. After the third pair failed, I gave up and continued my search.
Even though I rated these as average, I recommend them for casual users that do not expect stellar sound quality and do not plan to wear them in the gym. For $39.99, they are good for listening to music around the house.
Shorty after the Tunebuds Mobile failed, I gave the Sennheiser MM50iP a try. They have the inline microphone and button for call and music control. They include silicone tips in three sizes but lack a carrying case.
The feature I liked about these earbuds was the asymmetrical cord design. The cord for one earbud is longer than the other allowing the headset to be worn behind your head. This enables you to remove the earbuds without them falling to the ground. Some may not like this design but I found it useful.
Both music and call quality was good. I did not receive complaints from callers while wearing these. The mic and sound quality was on par with the Apple headsets and much better than the Griffins.
Once again, build quality was a problem. After the Tunebuds Mobile, I avoided using the Sennheiser earbuds in the gym. Even with casual use, the right earbud failed after six months. For the current selling price of $79.95, I cannot recommend the MM50iP from Sennheiser.
The iPhone 3GS was accompanied by the release of headsets that included inline volume control. After upgrading to the iPhone 3GS, I looked around for earbuds that incorporated this new feature.
My current pair of earbuds are the Scosche HP150m. They incorporate Scosche's tapLINE control technology that includes volume control with the inline mic. These earbuds include silicone tips in three sizes but no carrying case.
Thus far, I like the HP150m and I find the the inline volume control useful. The sound quality is equal to the Tunebuds Mobile but not as good as the Sennheisers. The volume of the inline microphone can be a problem in louder surroundings. I need to hold the mic closer to my mouth while talking for the other party to hear me clearly.
Other than the low call volume, I have not had any issues with the HP150m. I have avoided taking these earbuds to the gym and they continue to work after two months. They are available for $39.95 from the Scosche website and the Apple Store. For this price, they are worth a try if you are looking for earbuds with inline volume controls.
iPhone Headsets Comparison
A comparison of popular iPhone headsets priced under and over $100.
- iPhone Headsets Priced Under $100
- iPhone Headsets Over $100