New Apple EarPods vs. original earbuds: Should you upgrade?

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If you haven't yet upgraded to the iPhone 5, can you get some of that iPhone 5 experience by upgrading to Apple's new EarPods earbuds? At $29 they're not as expensive as high-end earpieces, but they're not exactly cheap either. Compared to the original Apple earbuds, the ones that shipped with every iPhone, iPod, and iPad up until the iPhone 5, are they a worthwhile upgrade, or are you better off waiting and just getting them for "free" with your next iOS device?

EarPods vs earbuds: Comfort and sound

The most noticeably new thing about the new EarPods is their design. The old earbuds used a ubiquitously round shape and speaker while the new EarPods have a more distinct, ergonomic shape that fit the ear canals in a more snug, comfortable fashion, and support a dual output setup.

I hardly ever used the original earbuds as, like many others, I find them ill-fitting and uncomfortable. After many years of submission grappling I have some gangly, nasty cauliflower ears. Yet, even in spite of my haggardly disfigurement, I find the new EarBuds fit quite comfortable and securely.

I am no audiophile by any stretch of the imagination, but due to the ergonomically snug fit of the new design, I found the sound from the earbuds to be more dynamic and had better range and base than the original earbuds. Also, because of the dual setup, they can do noise canceling to help make phone calls sound better as well.

EarPods vs earbuds: Remote and mic

Both the new EarPods and the original earbuds allow the wearer to control their iPhone, iPod, or iPad with an inline remote. You can play or pause, skip forward or back, fast forward or rewind, and of course increase and decrease the volume. And with it’s built in mic you can control calls and interact with Siri, or VoiceControl on earlier generation iPhones.

The remote and mic assembly in the new EarPods, however, is larger and much easier to fumble for, find, and use without looking. Likewise, the original earbuds also seem to have used a lower gauge of wire than the new EarPods which may affect durability.

The mic itself sounds about the same in both.

The bottom line

Overall, I think many people will be happily surprised with the new EarPods from Apple. They sound better, they fit better, and they're easier to use.

So what's the downside? The price tag. The EarPods are $29 and while that's nothing compared to ultra-high end earpieces that can cost hundreds of dollars, it's also not an insignificant chunk of change.

If you like the original earbuds and they work and fit fine for you, then there's no reason to upgrade to the EarPods. Save your money for now, and you'll get them for "free" anyway when you get your next iOS device.

If you hate the original earbuds but don't want to pay a hundred dollars or more for high-end alternatives, than at $29 the EarPods a re good low-mid range option. They sound good for the price, and have all the controls you need for your iOS device.

The new Apple EarPods aren't going to blow anyone's hair back, but while literally anything would have been an improvement over the original earbuds, the EarPods are a better than expected one for the price.

Anthony Casella