Review: Apple EarPods

Reviewed by Xercisenut

EarPods in Case

EarPods in Case

This is my review of Apple’s EarPods (w/ remote & Mic). These new in-ear headphones from Apple normally retail for $29, but I purchased them using a special $7 off promotion, which translated to a discount of just over 24%!

Sure, some might think $29 is a lot for a pair of earbuds, but even without the discount, I think of the higher price of Apple’s headphones this way: it’s only 6 Starbucks big-fancy-drinks-worth of hardware; they’ll last longer than a Starbucks drink; … and they come with far fewer calories!  (And that’s definitely a “win-win” all around.)

In the end, Apple’s new earbuds are just that: earbuds. However, being the Apple Fan-girl I am, you know I’ve found lots to like about them, so rather than focus on the in-depth acoustical and technical properties of these ‘buds — and they sound great! — I’m going to break my review down to a simple list of what I, an end-user, liked (and disliked) about them, and why I believe you’ll like them too.

What I Liked

The Box: I love how the cord wraps around in a little groove. I’ve owned a lot of “regular” apple earbuds throughout the years, but just to get the packaging of these new EarPods was absolutely worth the cost if you ask me.

They fit - even in small ears!

They fit – even in small ears!

The Form Factor: The EarPods new shape allows them to sit very nicely within the ear. When wearing regular earbuds of any type, I find myself using silicon covers by Yurbuds to keep any of them — Apple or otherwise — in my little ears. These pods don’t require that!

Knowing Which Bud is Which: You can actually read the “left” and “right” symbols right on the EarPods. With other earbuds, it’s almost always printed on the handle — in grey! — so it’s harder to see. And that’s especially true if you have older eyes like I do!

The Slim Remote: The EarPods’ remote is about 2 inches long and visible between your ear and your shoulder while wearing the EarPods. This remote allows you to pause phone messages, answer and end calls, and switch to the next track by “pinching” the space in the middle. The + and – buttons on either end of the remote raise and lower the volume. The microphone can also be found on the remote, although to prevent damage it’s not exposed as it was on Apple’s previous model.

EarPods Remote Up Close

What I Didn’t Like

Older Devices Need Not Apply: A newer iDevice such as an iPod Touch (2nd gen+), iPod nano (4th gen+), iPhone (3GS+), or iPad (all) is required to use the remote and I was unable to use even the most basic functionality of the remote when I plugged the EarPods into my iPod Shuffle or iPod classic. “Dumb” older iPods like mine simply won’t work with the controls of the new remote, although some newer model iPods will work with many of the remote’s feature with the appropriate software update installed.

Interestingly, I’ve seen reports that the new EarPods’ remote will, in fact, work with other manufacturer’s smart phones. One person wrote in Apple’s forums that, “Yes the EarPods work with other smartphones and audio devices. I have been using EarPods with my HTC Wildfire S. As for the audio control it works for it too.”

Of course without Apple’s official blessing, you’d have to take any information like that with a grain (or block!) of salt. I say, if you’re planning to use Apple’s new buds with any device other than those officially supported, it’d be a good idea to borrow a pair from a friend before plunking down 6 Starbucks “fancy drinks” worth of cash only to find out they won’t work with your device.

What’s in the Box?

Apple EarPods with Remote & Mic
Storage / Travel Case

Review Summary

Apple EarPodsApple EarPods with Remote & Mic

Price: $29.00 direct from Apple (link)

Manufacturer: Apple, Inc.

User Guide:

FMEO Rating:
Rated 4 Macs

Apple’s System Requirements: “The remote and mic are supported by all models of iPod, iPhone, and iPad (not all models support volume up/down functions). Audio is supported by all iPod models. Requires software version 1.0.3 for iPod nano (4th generation), 2.0.1 for iPod classic (120GB), and 2.2 or later for iPod touch (2nd generation).”

Strengths: Fit well in my small ears, richer sound than older Apple buds, better protection from moisture and dirt (but don’t submerge them!), easy to use controls for supported devices.

Weaknesses: Remote is incompatible with some older iPods and iDevices.