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Pod Botherers – Apple’s Rival High-End Headphones

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1/15/2013 8:49:59 AM

‘Rival high-end headphones’ said Apple. Really? These don't cost much more...

Apple EarPods

Price: $30

Website: www.apple.com

Ratings: 4/5

Apple EarPods

Apple has finally replaced its dreadful old earphones. Those who don't like shoving things into their ear canals will appreciate that the EarPods sit just outside. There's no isolation, though, so sound leaks both ways, and while they sound good for free, those who don't get them with a new Apple portable can do better for similar money.

JVC HA-FX1X

Price: $40

Website: www.jvc.com

Ratings: 5/5

JVC HA-FX1X

As Amazon's most popular earphones at the time of writing, we figured these JVCs would be well worth a listen and we were right. The fact they're only US$20 online helps, but these are genuinely capable in ears that boast real oomph, control and clarity. They're comfy as well, despite their slightly cheap, bulky build. Great value.

Sennheiser CX 275s

Price: $80

Website: www.senheiser.com

Ratings: 4/5

Sennheiser CX 275s

Sennheiser CX 275s

With the Sennheiser name and price-tag, we expected much of the CX 275s earbuds. They're certainly comfortable, nestling into the ear and staying put almost unnoticeably and the sound is good, too. They lack the punch and directness of the SoundMagic E10s (right), but they still make for a satisfying, balanced listen.

Mix-Style In-Ear

Price: $50

Website: www.mix-style.com

Ratings: 4/5

Mix-Style In-Ear

Mix-Style In-Ear

Mix-Style didn't go for subtlety with colours for their creatively named earphones. Pink or green? We can't decide. But the sound is a tad brash: a bit heavy handed with the bass and lispy on vocals. No in-line controls either, but it's worth saying that they're often under US$25 and that their punch and clarity is pretty impressive.

SoundMagic E10

Price: $55

Website: www.soundmagic.com

Ratings: 5/5

SoundMagic E10

SoundMagic E10

The awesome E10s have been upgraded. As well as a more durable, twisted cable, the new ones add an extra dose of bass to the already winning formula of detail and punch, making them even better value. Chatty types, who want a mic and iThing remote, need the E10M - a princely US$20 extra.

RHA MA450i

Price: $65

Website: www.rha-audio.com

Ratings: 5/5

RHA MA450i

RHA MA450i

Hailing from the not all that sunny climes of Glasgow, RHA has hit upon a winning formula here. Nice build, comfortable fit, an iPhone-friendly three-button remote and a very full bodied delivery and all for just US$65. The bass can get just a smidge overbearing when pushed, but the RHAs still have the overall quality to push the E10s right to the wire.

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