Introduction, Specifications, Pricing & Availability
It's quite often that you'll encounter annoyingly-tangled wires when fiddling with in-ear offerings while at the gym, on public transport, or looking for some peace and quiet at home. A company named Zipbuds has tried to solve the issue with their line of zipper cable products - what we have here is the Zipbuds Pro mic.
As the name suggests, it comes with a zip and a microphone. Alongside it being neon yellow in color, the manufacturer claims all of your tangles will be a thing of the past, with an easier product experience to be had for years to come. Can this product live up to its self-driven hype? Read on to find out our thoughts as we compare it to the previously-reviewed $2.50 Jenkins J10 earphones and the Tt eSPORTS ISURUS DUB.
Connecting to your device through a 3-ring 3.5mm jack, these earphones offer a handy zipper in order to keep your cable untangled, an in-line control button which sets out to pause, play, skip, answer and hang up calls and rubber earbuds for comfort and passive noise cancellation.
1.6 ounces in weight and providing you with what they claim as a ZBX high performance drivers alongside a noise-cancelling microphone, there is unfortunately not any specific driver or microphone statistics readily available for viewing.
This is a little disappointing as basically every company these days claims noise-cancellation and high performance or enhanced bass - without the specifics, it's hard to really drill down into the product itself, so you're going to have to assume what my listening experience shows to you is correct to your standards.
Pricing & Availability
Setting you back a reasonable retail price of $35 with free shipping from Amazon, this product sits in the same price range as the Tt eSPORTS ISURUS dub and offers a similar amount of benefits and positive features.
What's in the box?
This product comes in a very simple package and unfortunately does not contain any kind of carry pouch or case. A carry pouch can be viewed as an inexpensive necessity when you're looking to keep the product clean and free of wear when kept inside a handbag, laptop bag or backpack.
There's three included different ear cap sizes included for different customers which is a now-standardized and undeniably very handy inclusion.
A Closer Look, Listening Experience & Final Thoughts
Let's dig deeper
Comfort is the main factor with these types of products. Looking back at the iPod round earphones of yesteryear makes me cower at the thought of the pain that they caused to my ears - often not recognized until they were taken out and then forced back in.
A really cool offer on their website says "you broke em? Here's 50% off," now I haven't seen any manufacturing issues with the stability of the design thus far, but trawling through the Amazon buyer comments it can be noticed that a few people talk about their products breaking. Earphones are often the most mistreated product when it comes to audio accessories, bunched up and thrown in bags, kept in back pockets and sat on, dropped phones tearing at the cable and more. If you're paying less than $50 for your earphones, I see 12-18 months of use as a great success. Well according to the reviews, you can expect this product to last just that long - so nothing to fear here.
Before we touch on the sound, something has to be said about microphonics. Something that I've not yet had an issue with, it seems the zipper on this product allows for some extra sciencey issues to take place. Explained as the "transmittance of mechanical vibrations through an electrical component," it basically means that when the cable is rubbed, some sound will transfer directly into your ears through the ear buds.
What does this mean for the Zipbuds? Nothing good is the answer. If you're looking to thread the headphones underneath your shirt in order for them to not get tangled on anything, think again as the sound is almost unbearable. Every step you take will see a loud muffled rustling through your earpiece and drive you insane. Positioning the earphones on the outside generally reports back a better experience, however your bag, passing strangers or the wind forcing the cable to hit your clothes will also cause annoyance. There are some ways you can reduce the sound by doing things like looping the cord over your ear, however, it's annoying and shouldn't have to happen in the first place.
Public transport, everyone's enemy
After catching the train into the city a few times with these earphones and listening to a wide variety of music, I was able to test them thoroughly in the sound department.
The passive noise cancellation is one of the best I've experienced thus far and the fluorescent yellow color scheme ensures many other train commuters would often be caught staring at the brightly clad frame and the zip located within. No discomfort was experienced even after 60+ minutes of solid tune pumping, which is a great positive.
Let's look deeper
Quiet tracks like Twenty One Pilot's 'Ode to Sleep' performed quite well, allowing the quality of the drivers to put themselves on display. You'll find that most cheaper earphones will pump up the bass, leaving much to be desired for songs in which require clarity - good job to Zipbuds on this.
Looking into something with a little more bass, the assistance of Nas was required. Every back beat was clear and on par or better than the Tt eSPORTS ISIRUS DUB, once again not overpowering the vocals.
Looking into heavier music in the form of EDM, Hardstyle and heavy metal, the bass picked up where it left off and pushed hard. No distortion was heard and the bass had a kind of rumble and depth that you would expect out of something like $100 home computer 2.1 speakers - in other words, good!
As for it being a complete tangle-free solution? Not really. The whole cable isn't zipped up so it does make a difference, but not enough to rave on about.
The feel: This product doesn't hurt the ears and feels nice to the touch.
Easy to clean: Rubber, woven cable and the shiny zip means it's easy to wipe down and keep fresh and clean.
The sound: The best sub-$50 sounding earphones I have tested so far, the clarity is present, the bass isn't overpowering and there is a depth and punch to every beat.
Sound transfer: As explained above, the cable rubbing on anything causes a nightmare of sound to invade your space. This issue has to be fixed before the overall score can go up.
The looks: Love it or hate it, the fluoro colors are not for the feint of heart.
The button controller: Not really touched on in the review, the button is a little too big and fiddly in operation.
If the cable rubbing issue was removed, I would give this a product a TweakTown editor's choice award, hands down. Unfortunately, this limitation just kills the overall score, no matter how great the bass and clarity may be.
The best sounding sub-$50 earphones I have tried yet, they're ultimately let down by cable sound transfer and the lack of a carry pouch.
|Performance (audio quality)||90%|
|Quality including Design and Build||20%|
|Bundle and Packaging||70%|
|Value for Money||80%|
The Bottom Line: The best sounding sub-$50 earphones I have tried yet, but they're ultimately let down by cable sound transfer and the lack of a carry pouch.
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