Feb 062013
 

At the end of the year, I listened to a lot of audiobooks. Between October and December, I listened to at least 15. Those who listen to audiobooks and know that even a short book can be a 6-hour listening time know that it’s a commitment.

I thoroughly enjoy audiobooks, but I was running into a problem: headphones. When I could listen without them, I did, but at the gym, on walks, and cleaning house, headphones make so much more sense. And I have a confession: as much as I love Apple products, I absolutely hate the earbuds. (I hear the EarPods are better, but I have not tried them out.)

When a friend at AT&T* (thank you!) offered me two sets of headphones to try out, I jumped at the chance. The headphones? Skullcandy Supreme Sound Merge and Plantronics Backbeats Go Wireless.

 

headphone1

headphone4

Fits flush on the opening of the ear.

The Skullcandy Supreme Sound Merge are wired, and they work as well as any wired earbuds I’ve tried. The wire itself is flat to reduce tangling. I will say, I just pulled these out of my bag after a week of not using them, and they pulled out without any knots or untangling. That’s a plus. Also, these earbuds are comfortable. There are several different covers, and the smallest were awesome. Unlike the earbuds I’m used to, I could wear these for a long stint without feeling like I had an earache.

I’m not an audiophile, but I will say the sound is a bit tinny on these. For me, that isn’t a huge issue, but if you’re a sound guru, you may want something a bit fuller. For comfort (and this includes not having to push these back in my ears), these are excellent for the price. These also fit in the ear without sticking out much, so wearing earrings or sunglasses isn’t an issue.

Pros:

  • Comfort
  • Price ($20-$30)
  • Discreetness
  • Tangle-free

Cons:

  • Sound
  • Still pull out easily if jogging

headphones2

Image via att.com

Image via att.com

headphone3

Fits the ear well but does stick out about a quarter of an inch.

The Plantronics Backbeat Go Wireless are just awesome. One of my biggest complaints of headphones (other than comfort) is how easily I rip them out of my ears or device. This annoys me so much, even though I know it’s just because I swing my arms like crazy. Still, if it’s bothersome, it’s bothersome. The Backbeats Go Wireless are wireless in that they have no main wire or lead out to the device. There is a wire that connects the left ear piece to the right ear piece. It fits easily behind your head or under your chin.

This little set of earbuds is pretty impressive for a number of reasons. First, they manage to fit the mini USB charger into one of the ear buds without making it too large to be comfortable. Second, the sound is awesome. Partially, I think that’s because they do a good job of sealing the ear and giving a fuller sound, but the Skullcandy set had the same setup, and the sound doesn’t compare. Once charged, there’s a side button on the in-line control panel to power these on and connect with your device via Bluetooth. The in-line remote is super easy to use and located a few inches below the right earbud. Some reviews hit these on battery life, but I’ve gotten excellent battery life out of these (nearly five hours). Of course, I don’t use these much for actual calls, which could make a difference if you utilize the headset for call purposes. Speaking of phone calls, I did make and receive a couple, and the sound was fine – no tunnel effects, though I did take one bud out because I felt so muffled.

The downside to this set is that when you do have to charge these, it takes a while. The other drawback is the size of the buds themselves. They’re small, particularly with what I mentioned above regarding charging capabilities, but they’re still large enough with the smallest bud covers that I continually have to secure them in my ear a bit more, even with the stabilizers. Therefore, I can’t recommend these for jogging without some adjusting. But for house cleaning, walking, and sitting at a desk, these are unobtrusive and comfortable with a great sound experience. I’ll be frank: these are my new go-to headphones. I kind of geek out about them. :)

Pros:

  • Wireless
  • Great sound
  • Long battery life
  • Fit

Cons:

  • Ear stabilization
  • Charge time
  • Price ($99)

So all you audiobook listeners out there, have you tried either of these? Tempted? Treat. Yo. Self.

 

*AT&T provided me with these headphones; however, that did not affect my review. The links provided are for convenience. I do not receive any compensation for any clicks or views.

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  • heidenkind

    Hm, I’m not spending $99 on earbuds. No way. My go-to headphones are Panasonic’s in-ear headphones http://www.amazon.com/Panasonic-RPHJE120P-In-Ear-Headphone-Pink/dp/B003EM2WAW/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1360130803&sr=8-6&keywords=earbuds They’re 5 bucks, comfy, and they sound great.

    • http://www.thepickygirl.com Jenn

      I’ve bought both – cheap and expensive (mostly as gifts). For some things it makes a difference. If I didn’t use them regularly, it may not bother me as much. Those are cute!

  • Charlie

    The second ones are pretty expensive, but you do get what you pay for in these cases. That said I’m surprised they don’t stay in well because with the quality you suggest you’d think they’d be more like the first. This might be a one-off, but this is a great post idea, particularly relevant!

    • http://www.thepickygirl.com Jenn

      Thanks, Charlie! I was nervous about doing a post like this, but I do see people on Twitter talk about headphones with audiobooks. I never thought I’d care all that much until I started listening to audiobooks regularly. I hated feeling like I had an earache!

  • http://twitter.com/abookishaffair Meg-A Bookish Affair

    I have Bose IE2s. They’re expensive but the sound is great and they stay in my ears nicely! I love them!

    • http://www.thepickygirl.com Jenn

      Bose is so nice…and so expensive. I’d love one of their sound systems. I had some great JBL speakers, but recently (after nearly 10 years) they have started shorting out.

  • http://unabridged-expression.blogspot.com/ Audra (Unabridged Chick)

    I can’t get into audiobooks although I love the idea of them — but I appreciate the headphone tips as I’m always on the look out for good ones — the earbuds kiiiiiiiiiiiiil me.

    • http://www.thepickygirl.com Jenn

      WHAT? Audio is awesome! I used to have a job where I was able to listen a lot (while doing data entry), and it was so great. Made the day go by much more quickly.

  • Julie Merilatt

    When The Hubs and I got our iPods 5+ years ago, we each invested in $100 Bose buds. Mine broke in less than a year, then I started using his and they broke within another 6 months. I was so pissed. Then I bought $20 Sony buds at Target and I adore them. Durable for hours of daily use for 3 years!

    • http://www.thepickygirl.com Jenn

      Yikes! You would think Bose would last. I’ve always heard such good things.

  • Yeye Yates

    Very nice review. However, I went for a wireless headset. Its gives out decent audio and extremely useful while on the road :)

    Hope this helps: Tips and advice on how to choose a Bluetooth headphone