When it comes to novelty in personal audio products, it’s hard to go past Zipbuds. Their unique zipper headphones make for both great novelty and functionality, and we have the great pleasure of taking a look at the Zipbuds PRO mic earphones today. We’ve had a look at their first generation Juiced earphones before, and while overall the audio quality was surprising, they were occasionally uncomfortable to wear. Let’s take a look at the Juiced family’s bigger brother, the PRO mic.
What’s in the box
Compared to the Juiced packaging, the box for the PRO mic is streamlined and the Zipbuds brand appears to have undergone an evolution, for the better. In the box, expect to see the bare minimum to get listening straight away: the earphones themselves, of course, and additional earbuds in two different sizes.
As we mentioned earlier, one of the prime attractions of Zipbuds products is their novel zip cable which you will find in the middle of the PRO mic earphones. Making up about half the length of the cable, the zip makes for a great way to make sure your cables don’t get tangled when you hastily shove them into your pocket. That isn’t to say that you can’t get them tangled if you really wanted, but it is significantly less likely with this zip feature.
Although the PRO mic we have here is a relatively gaudy Neon Yellow, I don’t feel that this affects the overall design as I think it did with the Juiced earphones. The PRO mic earphones actually feel like quite good quality, and there are a few neat flourishes that help its overall image. Things like the the metal 3.5mm audio plug are a nice touch and the braided cable gives the PRO mic a more premium feel. I’m not going to lie that they feel undeniably plastic overall, but with the various shiny additions, you might think they are decent quality just by looking at them. This feeling only gets stronger when you take a look at the earphones in black.
Of course, the primary difference between the PRO mic and the Juiced models apart from the appearance is the presence of an inline remote and mic. While it’s only equipped with a answer call button and the mic itself, this gives a world of flexibility for the user to use this more on the move.
How does it perform
The crux of every audio product review: how does it sound. If I’m honest, I really enjoyed the PRO mic’s audio quality. They didn’t particularly have a lot of depth, but the highs were goodÂ (if a little dull) and the mids sounded great. The bass of the PRO mic is really where it does well and you can really get thumping away with these earphones as they appear to be natively configured for bigger bass. Savage’s Freaks is even more of a guilty pleasure while using the PRO mic’s and EDM appears to make the best use the earphones’ strengths – plus, in Neon Yellow, they would fit right in at a rave.
Next on the list of performance metrics is comfort, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by how comfortable the PRO mic earphones were to wear. Unlike the Zipbuds which could be a little cumbersome and uncomfortable to get situated, the PRO mic is sits pretty in your ear without much coercing. While the earbuds might look a bit rotund, this actually works in its favour as this helps it sit in your ear quite easily and takes a bit of the pressure away from your ear canal. I had no issues wearing the PRO mic’s for hours at a time.
The inline controls and mic do their job dutifully, but if I had one comment to make it would be that the mic is a little too far up the cable – while wearing the earphones, the mic would sit around my cheek. ThisÂ didn’t appear to affect the audio quality being sent in most situations, but in crowded places this would be a bit more challenging an ordeal. This is obviously necessitated by the fact the place were most inline mics are positioned is reserved for the end of the zip on the PRO mic, but I’m not sure I entirely like the compromise.
The zip of course is the highlight feature here. It’s not rocket science: the zip is quite heavy duty and is able do exactly what you would expect it to do. Naturally, being such a chunky zip, it does create noiseÂ when zipping up or down so I wouldn’t recommend using the zip if you are listening to something. Furthermore, the zipper tap is quite loose which makes sense on a piece of clothing,Â but if you are walking (or running) with the PRO mic’s, the zipper tab is going to keep bouncing up and down on the zip which actually creates a noticeable amount of conducted noise.
What I like about the Zipbuds PRO mic
I find myself liking the Zipbuds PRO mic quite a lot. One of the things that I like, and I know this can sound pretty mundane, is the attention to detail and how well put together the PRO mic is. Zipbuds would easily have thrown together some plastic and had themselves a novelty product, but they went out of their way to make a more premium experience with the PRO mic, and I have to say I approve. And despite this obvious step in quality over the Juiced family, the PRO mic doesn’t necessarily cost that much more – the Juiced earphones sell for $24.99 USD, whereas the PRO mic comes to $39.99 USD.
The comfort is another thing that I was pleasantly surprised by. As many of you who read my audio reviews will know, I abhor earphones generally due to the fact many of them are uncomfortable hurt my ears (jury’s still out on whether I have ridiculously sensitive ear canals). I’m pleased to say that I have no complaints about the PRO mic’s fit or comfort and that I’d be quite happy to use them on a daily basis.
What I don’t like about the Zipbuds PRO mic
There is, however, one reason why I wouldn’t want to use the PRO mic earphones everyday. I mentioned that using the zip tab while using the earphones creates quite a lot of conducted noise and the same applies to when the zip cable bumps into thing. Working at a desk, I found the cable would rub against the table creating noticeable and annoying noise. It’s obviously not a complete deal breaker seeing as I don’t sit at a desk all the time, but it’s something that you will be aware of.
I would have also liked a few more accessories with the PRO mic. While it does have the bare essentials, I would have liked things like a clip to help hold the PRO mic in place and stop the cable from swinging or dragging down. Obviously the package as it is is good enough, but a few things here and there would make it a much more complete package.
With the Holiday season quickly approaching, the scramble for stocking stuffers is going to intensify greatly. If you’re the market for audio gifts, the Zipbuds PRO mic earphones are not only a great novelty, they have the audio quality to match, and whether you get this as a gift for yourself or someone else, I doubt you’ll hear any complaints.