Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Zagg Smart Buds

When I came to Japan, I brought along my Sennheiser CX-500’s with me so that I can use them with whatever mobile phone I happen to purchase from here. Sadly, I had to buy an iPhone (sadly, because I always wanted to buy the new Windows Phone) and to add more misery, it came with some crappy pair of earphones. I was OK with it because I had the CX-500, but there was one little problem. See, I have to make a lot of VoIP calls, mostly to my girl friend at home and hands-free was a must, not just the earphones. iPhone earphones worked OK for that purpose, but they would sound terrible when listening to music and keeping them fitted in the ears was a difficult thing to do. They must have the worst ergonomics out of all! 

I never intended to replace my CX-500, because they were as good as they get, but with the lack of a mic, they were not very useful to me. I knew that Zagg made some iPhone compatible earphones with all their wisdom and quality, so I paid their site a visit, hoping to buy a set of earphones. There they were, the Smart Buds, with all the features and relatively cheaper price (compared to the others that they had compared it to) but still, the price was a lot. $80 + shipping for a pair of earphones, especially which might not be as good as the CX-500 in terms of the sound quality? No way! But the good news is that Zagg gives discounts once in a while, and sometimes as high as 50%. I waited for them to do this, but they never gave that discount. But a friend gave me a working 50% discount code. I quickly ordered a pair. That was on 2nd of August. 

Zagg Smart Buds

The package arrived yesterday, the 10th of August. Quicker than when I ordered stuff when I was in SL.

So I opened the package, plugged in the earphones only to remember that I didn’t have any music in my iPhone as I had recently restored the firmware. I synced it with iTunes and listened to “Love the way you lie” by Eminem – this is what I have been listening to the whole day – and I was very disappointed with the audio quality. I plugged in the CX-500 and sure enough, something was not right with the new earbuds! The Smart Buds gave no bass at all. For a second, I wondered if I got bitten by some good marketing ploys. But I kept listening to the music with the Smart Buds for a while, and I felt a bit of pain in my ears. The earbuds were not good. They were hard. Felt most like plastic instead of rubber.

The Smart Buds came with a set of replaceable earbuds of different sizes and shapes, just like the CX-500's. I replaced the existing ones with the biggest ones that were available, and tried it out. Wow! What a difference. Now they felt almost as good as the CX-500. (BTW, I’m only talking about the bass here. I’m not much of an audiophile really) Phew! I was beginning to feel relieved.

Now that the audio quality problem has been resolved, I wanted to test how securely they would fit when doing some activity. I wore them and went out on a bike ride and they worked excellently. They never felt as if they were about to come off. (It would not have mattered even if they came off because they would never fall off my neck). 

They say they are very durable because the wires are coated with the same material as the Invisible Shield. But I would use them carefully because they are new and I’m still not convinced that they won’t break. It will take some time for me to accept their claims. They don’t seem to tangle much either, just as advertised. But I didn’t take them in my bag yet.
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