I love the earpods that came with my new ipod touch. I have compared them to the sony xba-1 and mdr-ex85lp. I'm not into the xba-1 as it falls short in terms of a flat response, however the ex85lp have been my favorite IE phones for about 3 years. They have truly enhanced my listening enjoyment and there the first thing I go to when I really want to enjoy music. That being said, they aren't perfect, and the earpods have a similar effect on me.
The ex85lp phones have a very warm sound. I find the bass very capable and fairly well balanced. They aren't perfectly flat response, but they are great for the price. The depth and instrument separation are great. The main issue I've grown to notice more and more is that they like that little extra airy-ness. The high treble details are there, but they are soft and not reference flat. The earpods switch things up a bit. They don't sound as warm. The bass is pretty similar being a little bit more prominent in the mid-bass area. The main difference is that the earpods have more open high frequencies. The problem is that they almost have a fatiguing aspect to them. it isn't bad, but I find I can more easily listen to the sonys longer and louder.
They also have a little less mid-high frequencies than the ex85lp. The sonys have a more u shaped frequency curve leaning towards a flat sound but with a little bass boost and treble boost but the very highest treble rolled off. The earpods have more of a camel shaped curve with the mid-lows boosted a bit and then the mid-highs boosted, but no rolloff at the very high end. I find lately i've been using the earpods over the sonys primarily because they offer the "impression" of more detail in a lot of the music I listen to. Violins and cymbals and such have a more realistic sharpness to them than the sonys. That isn't to say they are easier to hear or sound better really. The sonys have incredible separation and detail. They midrange even brings out instruments you don't hear in the earpods as well, but the earpods almost bring back some of the airyness the sonys lack.
So, I'm in search of a new pair right now to replace both and give me a good balanced response. Flat and reference is what i'm looking for. But after using (probably still will for a while) the earpods, I can honestly say I believe them to be an incredible value for the $30 price tag. And if you got them with a new device, even better. I think if you fit them properly in your ear you will get a lot of music enjoyment from them. I think I've just caught the sound quality bug. :)