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The elusive perfect earphones

By Jean-Claude Elias - Aug 17,2017 - Last updated at Aug 17,2017

Finding the perfect stereo earphones for your smartphone is impossible. They simply do not exist. Which is quite unfortunate, since many of us depend on this important accessory that does not only allow hands-free communication, but also significantly reduces the health hazard associated with holding the phone set close to your head during long conversations. I am not even mentioning the use of it while driving in your car, given that none of us should be doing this in the first place, of course…

Stereo earphones are useful not just with smartphones but with laptops too. Most if not all of the new computers models are fitted with Bluetooth connectivity that allows you to listen to music through the earphones, making the accessory even more important to have.

Perfect implies countless characteristics. Convenience, comfort, lightweight, good aesthetics, reasonable price, and battery power for at least 12 hours without recharge. Add to that quality of sound that should be good enough not only for speech but for music too; and naturally wireless connectivity that is reliable and does not let you down in the middle of an important conversation or creates nerve-breaking hiccups when listening to Bach’s or Ed Sheeran’s music. I have yet to find such an accessory. There is always something missing in the checklist to perfection!

Yesterday I thought I had found the Holy Grail of stereo earphones. I saw on the net that Revols have opened the floor for pre-ordering their new set. They present it as “The Last Earphones You’ll Ever Need”, which somewhat is a passé slogan; but never minds. The Revols set does not only satisfy most of the above characteristics, it also comes with an innovative extra feature and not a minor one: it moulds itself to you ear’s shape on first use and therefore becomes custom-made for you, bringing utmost comfort. As for the audio quality in it, it comes courtesy of Onkyo, the great Japanese reference in terms of premium music sound.
No need to say more.

I felt enthusiastic about it and was about to order one when I saw the $300 price tag. This is half the price of a high-end smartphone or of a typical laptop computer. Is it justified? It is hard to tell, and of course it depends on your budget and on the importance you give to the subject. For most of the population, however, this is what you would call a very expensive accessory. So much for perfection…

Samsung has a set that is almost as good as Revols’, for one third of the price of the latter, it is the company’s best-selling Gear Circle. Admitted, it does not have the custom moulding-to-your-ear feature and the quality of the music sound it produces is only acceptable.

Bose, another well-known maker of high definition sound equipment, also proposes superb stereo earphones, at about the same high price as Revols. Bose QuietControl set does not feature custom-fit design, but has the company’s famous noise-cancelling technology that almost completely isolates you from external noise.

Apart from the esoteric Revols, the refined Bose, and the good-enough Gear Circle, there are tens if not hundreds of Bluetooth stereo earphones models on the market, typically in the $20 to $60 price range. Just log on Amazon and give it a try by searching, you’ll be lost and will find it hard to choose.

Many hesitate before paying more than that. However important the ear set may be for you, it is still nothing but a small accessory that can be easily lost or stolen. Keeping the cost reasonable may be the sensible way to go.

Besides, if listening to quality music matters a lot, you can still do it with an additional set of wired earphones or even headphones. These produce superb sound and do not cost an arm and a leg.

 

And you thought paying for the smartphone or the laptop was the end of the story!

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