Whenever I'm shopping around for a set of headphones it's not just a question of how good the sound quality is within my fixed budget but also how well they will fit in my ear. I have quite small ears and therefore narrow small canals, meaning that regular will drop out or give me pain after about five minutes of listening to music, whereas ear canal styled headphones with very large ear buds will slip out my ears from even the smallest movement. In June I came across these Panasonic headphones which are also described as being an "Advanced Ergo Fit". I'd bought headphones from Panasonic before and they'd been satisfactory for the price, and since this was a bit more expensive than that set I felt this would be slightly better quality.
I bought these off Amazon partly with vouchers. The RRP is £30.99 but Amazon now sells them for £21.99 which is much more reasonable. After all, I wanted good quality for my MP3 as well as a good fit for my ears so shelling out more than £15 was necessary.
The headphones came into a rectangular shaped cardboard box that displayed the earbuds in the centre with the rest of the wire bundled together at the bottom of the box within a plastic tray, so packaging is minimal but recyclable. As well as the earbuds and wires taking up most of the front there is the Panasonic logo and a description of the headphones stating they have a "Neo Slim Design". They come with two different sets of earbuds in Small or Large.
The actual headphones themselves are pretty attractive. My pair is described blue (code HJE350E-A if you're looking for this specific colour; the code above is for the white pair) but most of it is coloured black with a glossy blue finish on the back of where the earbuds are connected to the wires and the 'neck' of each side which contains the Panasonic logo. They even initial each bud so you know which one goes in your left ear and which one goes in your right. All in all it has very nice and simple design that isn't too flashy.
The cord is 1.2 metres long and comes with a detangler to keep the headphones neat and preventing you from making tight knots in the wires, so hopefully helping the headphones last longer without broken internal wires you get from wrapping them tightly around your mp3 player! The cord is a bit too long for my trouser pockets and it does but I know many consumers will be glad for the extra length here.
Upon opening the headphones I didn't take any chances with the equipped Medium earbuds, but immediately switched to Small. The result was a perfect, fit- a little guided push into my ears and outside noise was blocked and I felt like I had earplugs in! The earbuds are comfortable and actually stay in as well. It takes a proper jerk (i.e. my Walkman falling onto the floor or me sitting on the cord) for them to fall out.
The sound quality is very good for the price. I'm not going to give technical details as they don't really make sense to me but they definitely deliver a bass-heavy sound. Combined with the noise isolation feature you can fully immerse yourself in your music. This isn't at the level of being in a recorded studio but it's far from the tinny sound that you'll get from the headphones supplied with your mp3 player.
The only drawback I've found with these is that they have quite poor aerodynamics. Whenever I'm outside with these and it's quite windy they will flap about and rattle in your ears a lot which the noise isolation only emphasizes further. There have been times where I can hear my wires rattling and rubbing against my clothes over the music no matter the volume. Fortunately I don't travel often outdoors with my headphones on windy days so it's not that big a problem- until autumn kicks in perhaps!
Overall I really like these headphones because they're eye-catching, have very good sound quality and for once fit perfectly in my ears. Since I've only had them for almost three months I can't yet judge their reliability but they have been stepped on, tangled and crushed in my handbag when I'm in a rush (despite the detangler!) and their quality hasn't decreased yet so I'd say they are quite durable. In any case I would definitely buy them again (or the next grade up from the brand) when they need replacing, so they are very much recommended.
(Also on Ciao under the username Anti_W)
This review is rather short but sweet, sadly as you will soon find out as you read on I have not actually ever been able to test these headphones out thoroughly because they kept on breaking and therefore I can only tell you my story and hope that you will take certain hints such as 'If I were you buy reliable products not just faulty ones as I seem to have a skill at doing!'
I bought these headphones just over a year ago (Christmas 2009), when I bought them I remember paying just shy of £25 (of course my memory has been helped by the receipt that is sitting next to me!). So straight away the question you must be asking is why on earth do I still have the receipt, well let me explain. These headphones for me personally do not have the best 'service record'. Within a week of my purchase the wire was beginning to part from the 9mm 'jack' connector. Of course I was appalled and immediately sent them back to Dixons where I first purchased them and luckily they were replaced with a second pair, free of charge (I also received commendable service too - thanks Dixons). Strangely enough a few months on I had the same problem however this time Dixons couldn't refund or exchange as it was too late. I was assured by a friend who also owned these headphones that mine must have been a faulty pair - but how could they have been, the same thing happened to two sets - surely I wasn't that unlucky to have two faulty wire connections on two completely separated sets? My question has never since been answered...
==So what did I think of them for the time I had them? ==
As you may have calculated I used these headphones for about 3 and a bit months on and off before they were substituted onto the top shelf. The sound quality was pretty reasonable, I was actually quite impressed, the clarity was there and the volume and pitch ranges were of a good size meaning most 'normal' (when I refer to 'normal' I mean not really heavy rock nor classical opera) tracks sounded good.
They were comfy, thanks to the comforting ear buds (which also have extensive health benefits). They look quite trendy, however now I realise they look a little bland and possibly out-dated. And finally the actual speakers themselves seemed to be well made (I experienced no rattling or distortion as I have previously encountered with similarly priced Apple headphones).
I am sure that my experience is only a one off and to be honest I hope that is the case as it would be a shame if Panasonic had made these headphones sound good, look good at a good price but last all of two minutes...
This review is also on my Ciao account under the same name BazzaBoyT
I am quite a big music fan and the key to music is good sound. I bought these Panasonic earphones after losing the rubber earpieces to my last pair. I was looking for better quality earphones, and ones, which would hopefully last. I only recently dipped one of the earpieces in some water in a pool leading it to break. I was disappointed they did not recover as they don't receive electricity directly or emit electricity of any kind. Despite leaving them to dry, one of the earphones remained quiet and doesn't work properly.
The earphones initially come in a plastic box with the model number on the front. You can see them through the transparent plastic and they look quite impressive. The box was tough to open, as with most accessories nowadays, so you have to be careful not to injure yourself on the sharp plastic once you cut into it. After a long struggle to get the earphones out without ripping them, I was excited to see how good they were.
The earphones themselves look great and modern, so you aren't to be embarrassed wearing them out in public. They are black and silver, and the silver parts look really good and impressive. A black Panasonic logo is imprinted onto one silver part on each earphone, with another circular silver area to add to the look. In white font on a lower plastic part of each earphone, the letters L and R signify the ear for each earpiece. These earphones are ergo-fit ones, meaning they are designed to fit in your ear well and stay there. The bit that fits in your ear isn't round like ordinary earphones, but 'semi-circular' and fits right into your ear. This seems to give a better but not necessarily more comfortable fit.
I say this, yet I have not been able to wear these on a running machine at the gym without them falling out. They are fine for light exercise such as walking, but any major movements causes them to fall out even with the right size earpiece. The earphones come with three sizes of rubber earpieces to fit over the end making them fit in your ear feeling comfortable. They are of comfort, but if you start moving them around in your ear (not like you'd do this), they can hurt a bit, so be wary of them getting knocked whilst in there as they do go in rather deep.
The earphones have a good size wire, which luckily doesn't tangle at all. Obviously you may get a few loops in it every now and then, but the wire itself stays straight, which helps to keep it untangled. The connection will fit into any standard audio slot in a computer or iPod/MP3 player. It is gold in colour and gives very good connection to the sound device. The single wire splits into two where there are two sliding parts to adjust the position at which the wire splits into two. I don't understand why there are two sliding parts, but you can adjust them easily to wear.
These earphones give very good sound, and at first I was truly impressed. They are good at blocking out noise as they fit in your ear very well. Currently listening to 'Use Somebody' by Kings of Leon, you can hear the lyrics very clearly and the instruments too. The bass is actually very good but lacks some power. These earphones produce great treble and give very good all-round sound. If you listen well, you can hear songs in a whole new light once you first try these. I remember noticing parts of songs (instrumental or lyrics) that I'd never noticed before. They have an anti-touch noise cord, which means you can fiddle with the lower cord and it doesn't transmit sound into your ears so you aren't disturbed. You'd expect the earphones to fit in your ear really well but they always seem to slip out in the gym. If you put them in and give them a twist as if you're pushing the end towards the back of your ear, they seem to fit a lot better down the ear canal and the sound is a lot better.
These earphones were bought off amazon.co.uk, where they currently cost just under £20. I think this price is fair as they are of good quality and look good. However, you can get very good earphones from £10-£20 nowadays so I'd look around and read more reviews before you purchase. I wouldn't hold back from buying these again though, as Panasonic have always been good in terms of earphones - I just need to try and stop breaking them!
Thanks for reading!