One of the highest selling category of accessories for the Apple iPhone will no doubt be replacement
headphones and earbuds. Though almost everyone would agree that the included Apple iPhone earbuds are adequate, few would describe them as stellar, and they certainly won't suit the growing
community of audiophiles out there.
In the months leading up to the launch of the Apple iPhone, very few details were available regarding its specifications. So few, in fact, that most accessory manufacturers were unable to ready full functional iPhone accessories for release during the iPhone's launch period. So, despite what some would have expected, there was no bevy of made for iPhone earbuds and headphones available to the consumer at launch time.
One company who did manage to ready earbuds for the iPhone release was Hollywood, California's own v-moda. Though on a rushed timeline, v-moda delivered their newest model - the Vibe Duo - to consumers at the same time Apple released the iPhone.Considering that the included iPhone headphones fail to stay in my ears, I was eager to get my hands on a pair of Vibe Duos to check them out.
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One of v-moda's priority items for every product and model they ship is style, and they don't slouch. Like all of their product lines, the Vibe Duos deliver if you're worried about how your earbuds look.
The earbuds themselves are encased in a metallic-looking, shiny, black plastic and are banded by textured metal. As far as earbud style goes, they definitely stand out amongst the crowd. If that's not enough, the silicone fittings that attach to the earbuds come in both black and clear, and are interchangeable and included. v-moda isn't sparing anything when it comes to style, and it shows.
After suffering from the aforementioned issue with the included iPhone earbuds constantly falling out of my ears, and having little more success with lower priced models from Sony and other manufacturers, the Vibe Duos offer a pleasant suprise when it comes to fitting.
Included with the Vibe Duos are six pairs of silicone earpieces which attach to the buds themselves. The fittings are varied in size and color, and are designed to provide a snug fit for varing ear canal sizes. It's worth pointing out that I got a better fit out of all three sizes than I had from any other pair of earbuds worn previously. That said, experimenting with the different sizes will yield a best fit, and the best sound.
If you haven't grown tired of untangling the rubberized cord on your iPhone headphones (or other model with similar cabling), you're more patient than I am. So, I'm putting it midly when I say how
enamored I am with the fabric coated cable on the Vibe Duos. As a result of the fabric wrapping, I've had almost no issues with cord tangling. Plus, the fabric coating just makes the cable feel more substantial and of higher quality than plastic or rubberized coatings.
As far as cable-bound accessories, there's not much to say. Attached to the cable are the microphone for making and receiving calls, and a clip for keeping the microphone close to your mouth (though I've not found much need for this). Both accessories are positioned appropriated on the cable and don't get in the way when you're not in call mode.
The cable is also very long, another feature lacking on the included iPhone headphones. I've been able to comfortably wear the headphones even with deep pocketed cargo shorts.
Sound - Earbuds
Though no audiophile, I was very impressed with the sound quality of the Duos, especially for a sub $100 set of earbuds. The Vibe Duos produce very crisp and clear sound across the entire spectrum. Bass is rich and solid, mids are crisp and clear, and highs are surprisingly clean.
I strongly recommend making sure that all of the iPhone's equalizer functions are disabled. You'll likely be surprised at how much you'll hear in your music that you'd never heard before through the Apple headset.
Sound - Microphone
The microphone performs as well if not better as the included earbuds. During many tests, the listener on the other end of the line reported being able to hear voices better with the Vibe Duo - especially in high noise situations.
One drawback of the microphone system is that your own voice doesn't seem to be routed back through the earbuds, it feels a bit like you are talking with your fingers in your ears. Essentially, this is what is happening, due to the "earplug" nature of the Vibe Duos. v-moda would do well to route a bit of this sound back to the ears in the next version in this lineup.
Integration is the only area where I have anything that could be considered negative to say about the Vibe Duos. Considering how "iPhone geared" the Duos have been marketed, there is one glaring omission from the headset - a operations button.
Found on the Apple earbuds that are included with the iPhone, the operations button provides basic control of the iPhone without the need to handle the phone itself. Incoming calls can be answered, ongoing calls can be terminated, and music can be played/paused/shuffled using the operations button.
Surprisingly, this is lacking from the Vibe Duos. While this is likely due to the fact that either a) v-moda wanted to mass market the Vibe Duos to users of all music mobile phones or b) Apple gave v-moda a short time to product launch which didn't allow engineering of the operations button, I'm still sad to see it missing.
All in all, using the Vibe Duos with the iPhone is an absolute pleasure. The sound is a huge leap coming from the included Apple earbuds and the styling and form of the Vibe Duos making the experience much more enjoyable. Noisy city streets and crowded cafes are silenced by the noise-cancelling features of the Vibe Duos. As much as the operations button is missed, the Duos are still unquestionably worth your money as the other pros making them so much more useable than the included earbuds.