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Consumer Reports: Costly Headphone Disappoints

By Consumer Reports and NBC 5 News
|  Monday, Nov 25, 2013  |  Updated 5:40 PM CDT
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Non-isolating headphones are great for joggers, because they don't shut out the world. But the most expensive one we tested was a bust.

Deanna Dewberry, Consumer Reports

Non-isolating headphones are great for joggers, because they don't shut out the world. But the most expensive one we tested was a bust.

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Just about everyone seems to be wearing headphones these days. Non-isolating headphones are especially good for joggers. They don’t have a seal between the earpieces and your ears, so you can hear outside sounds as well as your music. Consumer Reports just tested 10 non-isolating headphones.

One set, EarHeros, claims to be the "world’s most elite earpiece" and has a price tag to match: $150! But when testers assessed this "elite" set, they has the worst sound of any headphones Consumer Reports tested. The bass is lacking, and it’s a little bit harsh sounding. In fact, despite being the highest-priced non-isolating headphones tested, the EarHeros are the lowest-rated, with an overall score of just six out of 100.

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There are many non-isolating headphones that provide full-range audio, which lets you hear bass, midrange, and treble pretty much the way they are supposed to be heard.

Apple’s basic EarPods rated much higher, and at $30 cost far less. For even better sound, Consumer Reports recommends the Bose IE2 headphones. You'll get very good audio, and at $100, they are still less expensive than the EarHeros.

If you're looking for headphones to use inside and want noise-canceling ones that block out other sounds, you'll have to spend more. Consumer Reports recommends Beats Executive from Beats by Dr. Dre. They have an over-the-ear design and deliver excellent sound quality and very good noise reduction for $300.


Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports’ website.

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