Surprisingly great sound comes from these $39 earbuds
I tend to look at the bundling of accessories with smartphones as unnecessary up-sells — particularly earbuds. More often than not they're uncomfortable or just sound horrible, cheap throwaways, really.
With the SOL Republic Jax earbuds that are being sold alongside Motorola's new fare (that'd be the Moto X and Moto G), I was proved wrong. Motorola slipped us a pair of the $39 1-button Jax earbuds in a holiday greeting in December, and I took them along for the ride at CES last week. (Yeah, I was a little late in picking up my mail.)
I don't test earbuds for a living, but for under $50, these are a great buy.
I usually carry two sets of earbuds with me when I travel — my trusty Bose MIE2i (around $100) for everyday use, and my Shure 425s. The latter are embarrassingly expensive (about $300) but are better for blocking noise on long flights. (And loud pressrooms.) If I didn't already have the Bose, I'd save myself $60 and go with the SOL Republic Jax.
The earbuds fit snugly in your ear canal, with the rubber tips filling the void nicely and blocking out a surprisingly decent amount of background noise. I wasn't expecting much in the way of sound quality. But there I was surprised once again. Where does all that bass come from? The highs aren't tinny! This is not what I expected $39 earbuds to sound like.
Left and right markings are found on the cable just short of the earbuds themselves (they're hard to find in the dark, though, and the wire is flat. SOL promises a tangle-free experience from the more than 4-foot cable, but I managed to muck things up a few times. Not a huge deal, though. The single-button experience is simple enough — press once to play/pause music or mute a call.