Best Earbuds Under $100?
A reader asks: I travel and commute a lot, and I need a set of headphones for my iPod and laptop. Those white earbuds just don't cut it on a plane or subway – especially for blocking out noise. I like to watch action movies, so they need to have good bass for those Hollywood explosions. But I'm also a jazz fan.
Hey Reader: We're not crazy about stock earbuds, either, and we've tried just about every alternative on the market. While in-ear models from Etymotic and Shure are popular for their excellent noise blocking and über-clear sound, they are expensive and uncomfortable on long trips. Instead, we recommend an affordable set from Ultimate Ears, the MetroFi 220. For $79, you get full, crisp bass without sacrificing clarity in the middle and upper ranges -- making the headphones versatile enough for all kinds of movies and music.
The extremely compact earbuds look pretty snazzy, with shiny, titanium-colored accents and a red-tinted ring clearly marking the right-ear bud. You get three sizes of smooth silicon tips. That way, you can select the ones that go just far enough into your ear canals to stay put and block noise -- without tickling your cochlea. Their black, hard-plastic carrying case fits easily in your pocket. For an extra $10, Ultimate Ears also makes an iPhone-compatible version, the MetroFi 220vi, which features an inline mic and a call-answer button.