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Looking for non-isolating, earbud headset for my smartphone (with mic) that is comfortable to use? (other than Bose MIE2)

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hi there.


I've been desperately looking for a headset to use with my Galaxy Nexus but I have one strong condition: it CAN'T be the popular IEM isolating type that is now seen everywhere.


First, because no matter what IEM I try, my ears and head hurt a lot after 5 minutes. They never fit right, plus my ears just can't take the pressurization and they're so uncomfortable to use. Second, because I'm going to use it a lot for walking on the street or while at work, and I need to be at least slightly aware of what's going on around me.


Then, it HAS to be a small, earbud-like kind. I already have a full sized headset that goes over my head for use at home with my PC, but I don't want that for travel/work. I want regular earbuds that I can easily store in my pocket when not in use.


The other condition is obviously that it needs to have a built-in mic so that I can use it for calls (I sometimes need to make hour-long conference calls at work). I don't mind about the next/prev buttons (it's fine if it just has 1 button for answering calls), but I need the mic and it needs to work with a standard Android phone.


As you can guess, I'm not too demanding with sound quality itself, as I'll be listening to music mostly while travelling, etc., so I won't be able to fully appreciate it anyway. For this reason I'd like to keep the cost below 50€ if possible.


However, it's proving to be incredibly difficult to find a headset that ticks all the boxes.


So far, the clear best candidate would be the Bose MIE2, since not only does it provide everything I want, but also a very convenient system to fix the earbuds to my ears without being so intrusive to my ear canals and isolating me from the outside world. However, I feel it'd be ridiculous to spend 120€ on the MIE2 just for the design. There surely has to be a similar option minus the extra marketing cost? I also understand everyone here claims that they are overpriced, which I assume is true, so I'm open to suggestions.


Candidates I've seen so far:


- Yurbuds Inspire Talk ($40)


The design and the fixation system ("TwistLock") look good. However, reading the reviews it seems that:


a) The sound quality is crap

b) The "TwistLock" thing wears off with use, and basically stops working completely after 2-3 months... rendering them useless.



- Philips ActionFit SHQ1017/28 ($30)


Another headset which is designed for sport. Not that I'm looking for that, but it seems if you don't want isolating IEMs you're suddenly a professional athlete.


a) From the reviews, they also seem to be of poor quality.

b) Not compatible with Android.



- Sennheiser MX685 (30€)


They seem to be great, I really like them... except they DON'T have a mic :(



So... can anybody please suggest ANY decent, non-isolating headset that uses earbuds, is comfortable and includes a mic for smartphone use? Or do I really have to spend 120 bucks on the MIE2 for that?


Any help would be much appreciated. Believe me, no matter what I search for on google, all my links are purple already.


Thanks in advance!

post #2 of 7
Thread Starter 

Nobody? frown.gif

post #3 of 7

Here's an option: Marshall Headphones Minor


It says Made for iPhone, but some reviews say that its microphone also works with Android. I have no idea how they sound, though.

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hi, thanks for your suggestion!


I did check those out too after a lot of googling.

I like them, but Amazon user reviews are really putting me off...




Basically it seems like one of the sides will stop working after a few months, as many people are reporting...


Also FYI, these seem to be made by the same company that manufactures the Urbanears, and they do indeed look very very similar to the Urbanears Medis.


They're so similar, they seem to share the same durability issues too... :(


Do you know of any other options?

post #5 of 7

Unfortunately I don't have any other options, but I'll keep looking. Also, if you do find something that meets your requirements, could you post it here? It seems like the number of different earbuds available is declining, probably due to the popularity of canalphones. One option is to buy a pair of minimally isolating canalphones (with mic). I have a model that uses Sony's hybrid tips (the Sony NC13, to be exact), and I can still hear my surroundings when I'm using them (albeit not as well as when I'm using earbuds). There are various models that use the same tips that also come with an Android compatible remote and mic. However, there are still the issues of fit and pressurization. I don't find either fit or pressurization to be an issue with the Sonys, but I also have a different set of ears from yours. One Sennheiser model that I'm interested in, the CX985, gives you the choice of whether you want a vent to the outside to be open or closed (white vs. pink tips), so choosing the white tips would decrease the pressurization. However, the CX985 doesn't include a mic. If I find a model with a mic that has a similar vent, I'll post it here. Finally you may be able to buy a remote and mic that plugs into your smartphone, and you plug any pair of earbuds into that; but then you would have two cables to manage instead of one, which could be a bit of a hassle.


Edit: Here are two more android compatible earbuds.


Edit 2: Jabra Chill, Active.

Edited by vhobhstr - 3/27/13 at 6:00pm
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

I can hardly believe it, but thanks to vhobhstr... I think we have a winner!! eek.gif


I'll summarize my findings:


Auria Exceed


I had already checked them too prior to posting here (sorry I didn't mention in my previous post... but I thought it'd be too much to list like 20 different headsets I had already discarded...).


I liked them, but according to user reviews, they would fail after some weeks of use. I was close to choosing them, but in the end I thought it'd be quite stupid to spend $40 on a headset that will stop working before I know it.


Auria Zeal


They fall a bit outside of my price range, plus I could hardly find any user reviews about them (and one of them said that the right earbud stopped working too...). Really skeptical about a $60 headset that doesn't have a significant amount of positive feedback by users.


In other words, I would be willing to spend that money if I was 100% sure they're great. But that's not the case with the Zeal.


Jabra Chill


Well, this was a close one.


They were really inexpensive (right now on a sale in Amazon going for $18.27 if you're interested).


However they had mixed reviews and many people claimed they weren't really comfortable with the rubber things. I would've probably given them a try, if it weren't for...


Jabra Active


Finally redface.gif


These ones seem to tick all the boxes. The only complaints I see are mostly from people who use them to work out (which I don't intend to). So I think they should be comfortable to wear for walking and casual use.


Some people also claim that the rubber covering (which is what makes them comfortable) typically stays in your ears when you pull the earbuds out, instead of remaining attached to the earbuds. I'm usually careful with these things and remove them properly from my ears with my fingers, so I should be fine.


Most importantly, they don't seem to suffer from any evident durability problems.


Maybe the sound quality isn't that great, but as I said I'm not expecting anything exceptional at this price range.


Also very relevant: they seem to have discount prices in all Amazon stores:


· US

· UK

· and Spain which is where I live :)


So for 21,44€ + 3€ shipping I think I can't go wrong.


Thanks A LOT for your help, and I'll surely post something about when I've tested them properly!

post #7 of 7

You're welcome! biggrin.gif

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