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One of my kids is a music-loving, iPhone-toting teenager with a well-deserved reputation for burning through earbuds. Losing them isn’t the issue. Instead, she quickly tangles the cords into convoluted knots that inevitably end in the frayed cables snapping or being pulled out of the bud housing as the slack disappears. When Zipbuds offered to send “never tangle” Pro Mic earbuds to try out, I marched them straight up to Tasha’s room for the torture test.
The Zipbuds immediately scored on the appearance front. The zipper design — which allows you to adjust how the cables hang by sliding the zipper up or down — was deemed to be “cool” and the Electric Yellow color (they’re also available in black) helps them to stand out in a sea of white. The lower half of the cable is covered in a braided material (nylon?) that also effectively resists twisting or knotting.
The earbuds themselves are an angled design and three sets of rubber covers ensure a decent fit. Tasha reports they have been comfortable during periods of extended use.
In terms of sound quality, keep in mind that these are earbuds priced at $39.99 and the target demographic is people who are fed up with constantly having a tangled pocketful of cables. Zipbuds isn’t going for the audiophile crowd here. Still, I found the sound quality was acceptable — on par with the earbuds Apple supplies with its devices. The bass response seemed low, but that was easily remedied with the phone’s equalizer and music was distortion free even at higher volumes. Tasha is happy with the sound.
Here are the official audio specs, if you’re curious:
• 11 mm drivers
• 20HZ – 20kHz frequency response
• 16 Ohms impedance
• 104 +/- 3 dB sensitivity
• 20mW maximum input power
The “Pro Mic” part of the product name is a built-in remote with noise canceling mic. The remote is a single-button affair that lets you pause the music. Variations on the theme (pressing the button twice, for example) control other functions like skipping a song, activating Siri or hanging up a voice call. We used this with an iPhone, but Zipbuds says the features are compatible with most Android and Windows phones as well.
The microphone didn’t get much use. Teens are all about the texting and I could probably count the number of voice calls Tasha has made from her iPhone on one hand. It seemed to work as advertised and based on the comments for the Zipbuds Pro Mic earbuds on Amazon (where they currently have a 4.2-star average on 571 reviews) these earbuds should do the trick for regular voice call fans.
A few minor quibbles I had after playing around with the Zipbuds a bit myself. First, the remote is located very close to the earbud (maybe three inches down the cable) and I found that positioning a bit awkward — I habitually reach below my neck for inline remotes. Second, fiddling with the zipper while music was playing resulted in some audible feedback. Leave it alone and there’s no issue, but it could be a problem if you wore them during any activity vigorous enough that the zipper mechanism flapped around.
The zipper design does add a little bulk as well, but I think the trade-off is well worth it. After two weeks, we’ve yet to see a tangle — unheard of around here!