The Best Cheap Earbuds for About The Cost of A Happy Meal

I was in the market looking for a cheap replacement set of earbuds to replace a pair I recently lost and came across these guys, the Panasonic RPHJE120’s. They’re the best selling earbuds on all of Amazon, and when I saw that they were only $7 bucks, I was like no way can they be good.

earbuds with comply foam tips

But I couldn’t believe how many reviews they had (over 24,000 as of this post), and with an average overall rating of 4.4 stars, which is really high for something with so many reviews…especially for something as subjective as headphones.

Generally, when you find a product like this that has a rating of four and a half stars or higher, with at least 50 reviews, it’s something that you’ll really be happy with, or at least that’s been my experience anyway.

So I thought what the heck, let me pick up a pair of these and give them a review.

I will start by saying the worst thing about these are that the packaging on them is almost impossible to open without some scissors or pliers, and the plastic is razor sharp. Very frustrating when companies use packaging like this, but in event, lets go ahead and take a closer look at these earbuds

 

DESIGN

The shape of these earbuds is really nice and allows them to fit nice and snug my ears, and they’re really quick and easy to insert. What I mean by that is the way that each bud is uniquely shaped you can tell right away which side goes in what ear, without having to look at the markings, and I really like that.

panasonic rphje120 review

They also stay in your ears very well, which make them good for working out with. It takes a decent tug to be able to yank them out of your ears, and they stayed in very well for me when running, jumping rope or even just violent shaking my head. The Panasonic RPHJE120 earbuds also come in a bunch of different colors options as well, so you can match them to your device or your personal taste.

The cord length is 3.6ft, which for point of reference is the same length of apple earbuds and isn’t too long or short. However, there was one small issue I had with them which was with the cord is super thin and pics up a lot of microphonics. If you don’t know what that is it’s the thumping noises that headphone cables can pickup when the cable is hit or moving around.

At moderate volume levels or when sitting still or lying down, it’s a non issue. But while running, or with moving around with no audio playing, you can definitely hear it. Not a huge deal to me but worth mentioning. You can eliminate this effect by wrapping the cable over the top of your ears and/or going underneath your shirt if you plan on running with them (since that’s when the cable is bouncing around the most) and after doing that you don’t notice it.

 

SOUND QUALITY

For less than the price of a happy meal, I really didn’t expect much from these in terms of sound. But once I gave them a listen, I was actually pleasantly surprised. Obviously for 6 bucks you aren’t going to be blown away by these, and you should tame your expectations somewhat. But honestly, they really do sound good, and that’s not just for earbuds under 10 dollars either. I could have spent 5 times as much for them and still felt like they were a good value. In fact, they definitely sound better than the earbuds that come with apple products and those cost 29.99 to replace.

At full volume on my iphone, they only barely start to distort, it not until the final 2 clicks of volume level where you are able to discern any distortion and even then it was slight. But I could only listen to them at that high of a volume for a few seconds before it started hurting my ears anyways so I had to turn them back down pretty quick.

The point is you can play these really loud before you’ll ever hear any distortion because you ears will start hurting well before you reach that volume level. The apple ear buds I have distort a lot sooner and don’t sound as detailed at lower volume levels.

The panasonics come with 3 different size rubber tips and the sound isolation once you select the proper size is really good, although not completely quiet. Extended listening with them didn’t produce any listening fatigue, didn’t hurt my ears at all, and honestly the sound quality you get from them is just really great for 6 dollars.

best earbuds under 20

If they end up sounding slighty too thin to you (lack of bass response), make sure you’re using the correct size tip and that they’re seated properly in your ear. You can do this by pulling up on the top of your ear and making sure the earbud is inserted well into the ear canal.

I totally expected them to be all crackily and provide almost no detail, but that wasn’t the case at all. After listening to them for a few hours, I remembered I had an extra pair of comply foam tips lying around from when I mistakenly ordered 2 packs awhile back, so I decided to replace the rubber tips with the foam tips and it was a HUGE difference.

Not only do the foam tips give you much better sound isolation, but it drastically increases the bass response because the foam tips expand to seal your ear canal. I definitely recommend picking up some if you want to bump the quality of the Panasonics and warm the sound up a good bit. It will of course add to the overall cost, but I really think its worth it.

CONCLUSION

As a super cheap earbud replacement, I don’t think you can do much better than these Panasonics. They make a perfect pair for travelling because they block out sound well (especially when combined with the comply’s) and if you lose them, damage them, or they get stolen, it’s not a huge deal because they’re so cheap.

I also find they are good for working out because they don’t easily fall out of your ears and you don’t worry about sweat getting into a 6 dollar pair of headphones like you might if you spent 100 bucks or more on a high quality pair.

PROS:

  • cheap!
  • good sound
  • ergonomic fit

CONS:

  • can sound slightly thin without additional comply foam tips
  • some microphonics

I don’t hesitate recommending these if you want a good sounding pair of earbuds and don’t really want to spend a lot of money. They’re cheap, they sound great, they stay in your ears well and, really, how can 24,000 people be wrong?

You can pick up a pair here: http://amzn.to/1Ms0UwT

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