As you may have noticed here at Maciverse, we’ve renewed our focus this year on reviewing the most interesting and innovative Mac related products. We want you to come to us if you are looking for honest reviews of Mac gear that you’re looking at buying. One of the companies that you’ll see pop-up quite often here is Zagg; Zagg is on the bleeding-edge of developing premium Mac (and other tech) accessories. Zagg burst onto the scene with their unrivaled iPhone screen protector, and they have quickly capitalized on this success by moving into other product areas. Today we are going to review the ZAGGsmartbuds – these are ZAGG’s premium in-ear buds that are part of their new line of audio products.
For full disclosure, I don’t consider myself to be an audiophile by any stretch. I love music, and I’ve purchased nice home and car audio systems in the past, but I’ll be honest and say that I often can’t tell audio differences that experts might call ‘obvious’. Many have scoffed at me for not being bothered by the standard iPod white headphones. They sound fine enough to me, so I’ve never bothered even trying another pair until now. So, this review comes from your average guy, not an expert. If you are an expert audio person (did I just make up that title?), you may want to find another review. If you are a normal person, this review is what you need.
So, was this non-audiophile able to tell the difference between the classic iPod headphones and the ZAGGsmartbuds? In a word: Absolutely. What I immediately noticed was that the high’s and low’s were much tighter. The bass heavy songs sounded tight, whereas with the old earbuds it was sorta sloppy. Its hard to put the differences into words, but suffice to say they are pretty significant.
My bass test was conducted on some rap songs by Eminem and Lil’ Wayne and I was pretty shocked by the difference. Based on my background, I was not expecting to experience much of a difference at all… but it really was noticeable. Deep bass wasn’t super deep in the same way that a sub-woofer produces that feeling, but it was present and tighter than I’m used to.
After that, I put on some Aerosmith and Dave Matthews Band to test the range of the earbuds. The rap I was listening to didn’t go too high in range, so I figured some of Steven Tyler’s high pitched notes and violins from DMB would let me hear that end of the range. Again, I’m not sure what to say here other than that they didn’t disappoint. These earbuds are impressive.
The Quality and Special Features
Besides the sound quality, there are a couple of nice add-ons to these that are signature Zagg touches. For one, they coat the cords with their patented invisibleShield technology that prevents tangling. The earbuds themselves also feel like they are good quality, and they offer a unique shape that looks like a lot of thought went into. At first it took me a bit to get used to… the way they sit in the ear isn’t like any other earbuds. But, over time, I’ve gotten used to them. The longer shape helps use the other side of your ear for leverage, keeping the bud in place right in the ear.
One other nice touch is The ‘Hangin’ Tight’ feature. This is a series of beads threaded onto the cords that allow for a unique setup where the cord sits behind the head. This may sound confusing, but as you’ll see in the video above (and the pic below), this means that when you are active with the earbuds in, they aren’t prone to being pulled out of your ears. Its a nice touch, and it looks like ZAGG has a patent on the setup. If you struggle with earbuds staying in your ear during a long run, this feature alone makes it worth a buy.
Yes, this review of headphones is by someone who admitedly isn’t good at distinguishing good from great audio. However, I can tell you that these headphones have a lot to offer besides sound quality. You know that when ZAGG does things, they put a lot of R&D into shipping a good product – and I think these ZAGGsmartbuds are no exception. You can get them directly from ZAGG here.