Apple has been notorious in the past for making cheap, low-quality, white headphones that have very bad build quality. Did I mention that they were overpriced? Apple’s in-ear headphones go to the other side of the spectrum. What really persuaded me to purchase these headphones were the dual drivers that each earpiece had. For 80 dollars, it felt like a steal. The Apple IEMs are professional-grade, high-quality, white headphones that have great specs, a simple-Apple-styled design, amazing audio quality, decent build quality, a comfortable feel to them, and an unsurpassed value for your money.
What’s in the Box
- Apple In-Ear Headphones with Remote and Mic
- Carrying Case
- 3 Sets of Silicone Ear Tips
- Case for 4 Ear Tips
- 2 Replacement Steel Mesh Caps
- Frequency Response: 5Hz – 21KHz
- Impedance (@100Hz): 23Ohms
- Sensitivity (@100Hz): 109dB SPL/mW
- Custom 2-Way Balanced Armatures per Earpiece
- 1 Year Warranty
The design on these headphones is not new. It’s actually a very familiar design as it looks very similar to the notoriously low-quality Apple earphones. They are white with grey rubber, just like the other earphones. There is a steel rim around the drivers instead of rubber. The earphone tips are clear which compliments the design of the headphones really nicely. The design of these headphones, like most Apple products, is simple and clean. There is nothing really flashy about the headphone design. Simply put, they look like Apple earphones, except they go in the ear. The simplistic design has always worked for Apple, and this is no exception.
Although design is important in headphones, audio quality is even more important as, without this, the headphones aren’t worth the money. Audio quality has always been important to me. I want to be able to hear everything that is played and hear it accurately. I’ve mainly been using Sony’s for the last 4 years of my life while I experimented with other companies. I have always loved Sony’s signature they put on their headphones. Apple’s signature is the opposite of Sony’s, which in a way is a good thing. The Apple IEMs fixed what the Sony signature didn’t have, treble. The bass was not intruding, but were deep and accurate. I was really pleased with the low bass in these headphones. However, I do wish that they did have more of a exciting effect to them. The mids were clear to the touch and clean. The mids overshadow the lows a little. However, it wasn’t too much. The singers sounded nice and buttery, like they should. Unlike the mids and bass though, the highs are very soft, still clear, but softer. Although the highs could use more amplification, I was still pleased with them, not as much as the mids and lows though. Nothing was distorted or fuzzy at all. The headphones do carry good quality to them. Taking a look deeper, I found the quality to be very great.
If you use an equalizer app like EQu, you will be able to push the bass of the headphones to the limit. They sound outstanding with the right software. It is really hard to distort the bass. However, it is possible to distort the highs a tiny bit. Nothing big though.
Outside of audio quality is the noise cancellation that these headphones provide. Technically, it’s noise isolation, however, cancellation also fits the description. This was one of the main reasons why I switched from my Sony headphones. The noise isolation on these headphones is spectacular. I was at a track meet and could hear nothing but my music playing. No gun, no teams cheering, just me and my music.
Audio Quality Scores
- Treble/Highs: ★★★½
- Mids: ★★★★★
- Bass/Lows: ★★★★½
- Noise Cancellation: ★★★★★
Many people complain that they cannot hear any bass. This is due to the fact that they do not have a correct seal on their ears. This seal is important if you want to feel the booming bass. Always test out each ear tip in each ear to get the best fit and sound. Also, it is natural for one ear to be slightly bigger than the other one. It is also natural to have 2 ears the exact same size. So, if you’re like me, you’ll have a medium ear tip in one ear and a small in the other. This is perfectly fine.
Microphonics, defined by Merriam-Webster as “noises in a loudspeaker caused by mechanical shock or vibration of the electronic components”. This is exactly what it is. The headphones, as stated earlier, provide a great seal that passively reduces noise greatly. There is a negative side to this though. You can hear just about every vibration go through your headphones. This can tend to get annoying to many listeners, including myself. However, there is one quick fix to this. You wear your headphones over the ear. Though it may look funny, or feel funny at first, you get used to it. Also, if you put the cable underneath your shirt, it also reduces it a lot. Microphonics has become a non-problem for me with these methods. There still is a little, but it’s at a minimal that I can live with.
The audio quality on these headphones is unbelievable and is just a unique experience. As long as you can find the best seal and ear tips, you’ll love these headphones. The main downside was the lack of treble and highs, but this can be fixed with better tips. You can still hear the treble and highs clearly, they are just softer. The overall score would be a four and a half, but because Apple didn’t compensate for the iPod’s weak Equalizer and include better tips, it is 3.5 stars. If they did include the better tips, it would fix both the tips problem and the non-compensation for the iPod problem and would easily get a 5 star rating for audio.
Audio Quality: ★★★★
As with audio quality, build quality is extremely important. What is the use of having headphones that sound amazing if they break in a week? I have always loved the quality of Sony as they last forever. Literally, I’ve had my old pair go through a washer and dryer and still live for 3 years after that.
Apple’s In-Ear Headphones look to have the same durability as Apple’s iPod earphones. The wires have the same thickness, the earpieces are both plastic, same goes for the headphone jack as well. However, the in-ears have better build quality in the fact that they have a steel casing around where the driver should be and steel mesh caps so the drivers don’t get damaged by the environment, ear wax, and other debris.
Apple’s in-ear tips are made of silicone. They are as thick as the ones that came with my Sony’s. I’ve never been able to tear through any silicone tips in my life. I have lost some though. These earphone tips fit on to the headphones snug and are difficult to pull out. This makes it harder to lose them as they can’t come out.
The plating on the headphone jacks aren’t gold plated. Gold-plated headphone jacks tend to sound better, but are mainly used to resist corrosion. These headphones look to be nickel plated, which are inferior to gold when it comes to corrosion resistance.
Apple also gives listeners 2 cases, one for your headphones and one for your ear tips. This ensures that everything is kept safe and will last a long time. The headphone case also winds up the wire, so the wires don’t end up in a tangled mess.
If anything does go wrong, you are backed by a 1 year Apple warranty. This is Apple warranty. For those of you who don’t know, Apple has some of the best warranty support ever. This is another thing that persuaded me to buy these headphones.
Overall the build quality could be better on the headphones. However, because of the cases provided, it can improve the life of your headphones. The quality of these headphones seems sturdy enough to last a while.
Build Quality: ★★★½
The Apple In-Ears are IEMs. As with IEMs, to put them on you have to shove something into your ear. That will never be comfortable or feel natural, but you get used to it. After about 1-2 minutes, I didn’t even realize they were in my ears. These headphones are extremely comfortable in my ears. The light weight also helps out with this. Apple did a nice job making sure the headphones were comfortable to wear.
Value for your Money
The Apple In-Ear Headphones retail for 79 dollars USD†. If you look hard enough on sites like Amazon, you may be able to find a pair for less. However, many are knockoffs, so be aware of who you’re buying from. That being said, the Apple IEMs are definitely worth the money you pay for them.
The fact that the headphones feature dual drivers makes it worth the money right off the bat. 80 dollars may sound expensive, but when you compare it to other dual driver headphones, you find that this is only a fraction of the price. Many dual driver headphones cost 300 dollars USD or more.
The other main feature is the remote and mic. There is no dual driver headset that supports this yet. There are only a select few in-ear ones that support this. My Sony’s are one of the select few. This definitely makes it worth more as you can control your iPod with gloves on, and we know how hard the touch is to control with gloves.
The Apple IEMs are well worth their 80 dollars. I’d go even on to say that they are definitely worth much more than the 80 dollars you pay for them.
Value for your Money: ★★★★★
Apple has successfully restored their quality in the headphone business with their IEMs. Now if they could do that to the normal earbuds, I think everyone would be happier. A word of warning to bass heads, these headphones have bass, but it wouldn’t be enough to satisfy the bass head need. For normal listeners of a wide array of music, these headphones work wonders. At 80 dollars, these headphones are a steal. Apple’s In-Ear Headphones are professional-grade, high-quality, white headphones that offer great sound quality and design. However, the build quality looks as cheap as their original earbuds, but the cases make up for this to an extent. I was blown away with every new part of the songs that I was missing out on with my old headphones.
- Design: ★★★★★
- Audio Quality: ★★★★
- Highs/Treble: ★★★
- Mids: ★★★★★
- Lows/Bass: ★★★★½
- Build Quality: ★★★½
- Comfort: ★★★★★
- Value: ★★★★★