Zipbuds is an audio product company that has made a name for itself – literally – for having sets of headphones with a zip as part of its audio cable.Â As well as being a nice novelty and conversation starter, it was surprisingly practical as it gave users a way to store the headphones away without having to worry about excessive tangling. Well, Zipbuds is back with a new set of headphones called the Zipbuds Slide, and perhaps contradictory to their brand name, the Slide uses a unique new mechanism that replicates the same function as a zip without the “zip” part – so just how good is the Slide, and does it retain enough of the novelty that have made Zipbuds productsÂ unique? Let’s check it out.
What’s in the box
The contents of the box for the Zipbuds Slide in-ear headphones are very straight-forward: you’ll get the headphones themselves as well as two extra sizes of earbuds (small or large) to help you get on your way to enjoying tangle-free listening. There are quite a few colours for the Slide headphones that are available, but we’ve got the P.O.P (pink and purple) variation for review – you can also get it in All Black, White Sea (white and aqua), Black Neon (black and lime green), White Purple, Black and White and Black Sea (black and light blue).
Zipbuds calls its new zipper mechanism the “Zipperless Zipper” cabling, and enables two sets of silicon cables to be clasped together, might like a zip would keep two sides of a zip together. It’s incredible effective and is much easier (and quieter) to use than conventional zips courtesy of its smooth zipping. The rest of the cable is the same kind of silicon, but a single cable the rest of the way down – the cable is square, which is a bit different from the round or flat cables we’re used to seeing on most products, but they seem to do the job just as well.
The Slide headphones are priced at a regular retail price of $79.95 USD, which puts them in a relatively premium part of the market – that said, they are also marketed as a pair of sports headphones, which is a use case that many fitness-conscious people will appreciate.
How does it perform
The last time IÂ reviewed a pair of Zipbuds headphones, I was struck by how good the audio quality was – to put it simply, I wouldn’t put theÂ Slide headphones in the same bucket, at least, not anymore. Having mostly reviewed headphones over the last few months, it’s clear that the Slide headphones lack a lot of depth particularly in the bass department. That’s not to say it’s not there – it can certainly be remedied a little with careful equalization control, butÂ they aren’t particularly bad sounding either. Suffice to say that if you’re an active person and need a solid pair of headphones, the Slide headphones will do the job admirably.
Comfort-wise, on the other hand, I was extremely impressed with the Slide headphones. The structure of each earphone looks a little bulbous, but that’s primarily to give the Slide headphones aÂ more stable seating in your ear – and it works. And it works two-fold: while it creates a stable seal, it also takes some of the pressure out of jamming the earbuds in your ears. This is also made partially possible by the silicon earbuds that come with the Slide headphones which are firm, but textured and soft enough not to cause any discomfort for many hours of listening.
Of course, the piece de resistance of the Slide headphones is how they handle transport and general day-to-day use, and for which they get top marks. The silicon cabling makes it easily cleanable and pretty much perfect for the fitness lifestyle, and the new zipping mechanism doesn’t take away from that at all. Of course, the best thing about the zip mechanism is that once you’ve finished listening, you can zip up your headphones all the way to the top and put them in a bag without the fear of them getting tangled up.
If there’s only one gripe about the overall design of the Slide headphones is that the in-line microphone and answer call button are located quite far down. This is of course necessitated by the zipping mechanism, but it pretty much means you have to hold the mic to your face if you’re taking a call in public – note though that Zipbuds do claim the Slide headphones have noise-filtering of unwanted sounds.
What I like about the Zipbuds Slide
One of my biggest gripes with the older Zipbuds headphones were that the hard plastic zip parts would rub against whatever I was sitting behind,Â which created unnecessary conducted noise along the cables. With this new Zipperless Zipper, that gripe is entirely dealt with. What’s more, now because heavy, hard plastic doesn’t have to be used, the Slide headphones also benefit from pretty significant weight loss, which also helps with the overall comfort of the headphones.
Speaking of the new Zipperless Zipper, it can never be overstated how good this mechanism is for preventing tangling of audio cables – even if you somehow manage to get the whole cable in a knot, it’s still only one simple knot so it will never take you ten minutes just to start listening to your music (that is, as long as you use the zipper in the first place).
What I don’t like about the Zipbuds Slide
For me, it’s still a little weird that a set of Zipbuds headphones doesn’t have a real zip mechanism – while I absolutely love how much better this new Zipperless Zipper cabling works, I feel like the novelty aspect of having a Zipbuds product has been lost a little. The last Zipbuds review I did resulted in many a conversation about why the headphone cables had a zip growing out of them, whereas that conversation never surfaced during this review. If we flipÂ the argument around, we could insteadÂ say that the Slide headphones are much more subtle than its predecessors – of course, it’s an intensely personal decision to decide which is better for you.
When it comes to colours, I’m a pretty simple guy, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the available colours of the Slide headphones is a little daunting to me. Aside from the All Black and Black and White versions of the Slide headphones, all the other colours scream “contrast” – I admit that this generally fits with the fitness community and their generally brightly coloured attire, but if you’re looking for something a little reserved, your choices are limited.
The Zipbuds Slide headphonesÂ are a step in the right direction for Zipbuds – while I might have some extremely specificÂ gripes about them, the new zipper mechanism and overall design choices make the Slide headphones Zipbuds’ most usable product to date. The best part of it is that while the regular retail price of the Slide headphones is $79.95 USD, it is available in every colour on Amazon for $49.95 USD at the moment which in my opinion is a bit of a steal – we’ve got the Amazon links below if you’re interested.
For more details about the Zipbuds Slide headphones, be sure to visit its product page on the Zipbuds’ website here. What do you think about ourÂ Zipbuds Slide review?
Gallery of Photos
- Great new zipper mechanism
- Not as novel as predecessor
- High contrast colour choices