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2009 CES Innovations Design and Engineering Showcase Honoree speaker diameter: 10mm frequency response: 20hz to 20Khz impedance: 16 Ohms max input power: 10mW cable length: 1.37 meters/54 inches plug type:...
11-16-2009, 01:30 PM #1Zagg Zbuds
- 2009 CES Innovations Design and Engineering Showcase Honoree
- speaker diameter: 10mm
- frequency response: 20hz to 20Khz
- impedance: 16 Ohms
- max input power: 10mW
- cable length: 1.37 meters/54 inches
- plug type: 3.5mm
- sensitivity: 94dB +/- 3dB SPL/mW
It's Zbud time! Today we are reviewing the Zagg Zbuds and we ARE having fun in the process! We are jamming out to the in ear buds with metal cases and several selectable size inserts to hopefully find a comfy spot for your ear. They come in a package with a nylon carrying case, though my case had some adhesive on it when I opened the package.
You can get the Zbuds in several different colors as seen on their site linked to the top right in this review. We have the black for this review which include a black metal casing for the earbuds, black ear inserts, black cords, black nylon carry case, and black mic. First thing you'll have to do is find a set of earbud foams that work for you. After having used almost every earbud on the market I have still yet to find one that works we well as the FutureSonics "pyramid" style earbuds, but the Zbuds foam inserts are up to par with everything else out there so not slobby at all. They do include a set of pyramid style earbuds, but the material just doesn't hook up in the ear like the Futuresonic buds do. I just have a problem with the expanded foam inserts working their way out of my ear, especially with a thick stiff cord like the Zbuds have moving the bud in my ear back and forth as I move my head.
Now we see the difference in the stock Apple earbuds and the Zagg buds. The Zagg design is called "tangle free", but I have to call it "rather bulky and stiff". This is my only complaint about the entire setup is that the apple buds do not force themselves out of my ears and have to be reset in the canal from moving around because the cord is soft and bends. Another result of the thickness is a lot of bulk when rolling the cord up and pocketing it. These earbuds are anything but compact. The mic is huge, the cord is huge, the rolled bulk pretty much demands the use of the included case.
The last photo shows the Zagg bud beside the famous FutureSonic pyramid style earbud which sucks into your ear like a plunger and stays there. I'd love to see Zagg consider a similar insert that isn't foam given the "in the field" use of the headphones tens to wiggle the foam loose easily in your ear. I'd imagine if we had more selection of foam inserts some of this could be eliminated with better fit, but it could all be eliminated with not using foam so perhaps Zagg can find a hybrid combo of foam for the base to mount the earbud insert, and a similar material to the FutureSonic for the bud tip. As you may tell not having these foams fit and falling out of my ear is annoying me as I write this.
Let's Listen to the Zaggbuds! They are crisp and have a nice range to them. They are a tad sharp and bright, but that is likely done to compensate for the harsh mobile environment. They certainly are tweaked for the higher notes. Play some acoustic guitar on them and you'll quickly find their sweet spot. We tested them out on "Brainerd Road" by Roger Alan Wade and the opening notes pierced the ear canals like you were there live. These would be the perfect techno buds if they had a little more low end punch to the, but instead they are more flat across the bottom end for rock and roll and other quick styles of music. Basically they are loud and proud, flatter on bottom and screaming across the top, balanced for jamming out to something that has a nice overall fill rather than a technical low end groove. These kinds of buds are the ones you want to listen to music on. People tend to buy an earbud that can hit a 40 hz note in your ear, but they overpower and muddy up on "real music" that is not processed to stay in one range. The Zaggbuds are well thought out to cover the entire range and are as stated before geared towards higher end performance to really get that sharp, crisp scream out of them. You can control the volume on the microphone by your ear if you don't want to reach across the desk for the iPod.
Overall review: While I am a bit tweaked by their bulky cord and mic, and not fond of the earbud foams that most of you will be fine with (I've seen the best inserts and I'm spoiled), I LOVE the Zaggbuds screaming attitude and well balanced overall performance. I think there are several good points to these that are worth checking out and I will certainly use them for my Van Halen days when I want to do some ear bleeding rocking out. They are very efficient and LOUD so they make a great set of headphones to jam to and their bright sound makes them the perfect set for electric and steel guitars. Being the owner of several sets of headphones double their price (FutureSonics for instance) I can say that these headphones are certainly among the best in their price range and perhaps in higher price ranges as well. If you have $80 to blow the Zaggbuds are the best way to spend under $80 on a set of headphones. They SCREAM for this price range, so give them a shot!