VIBE Duo dual-purpose headphone/headset for Apple iPhone
US $99.99

Company: V-MODA
http://www.v-moda.com

Apple’s iPod earbuds have always worked reasonably well for me. They provide a good fit for my ears, and the sound quality is acceptable.

I was surprised to find that the headphone/headset earbuds shipped with the iPhone did not fit my ears well. Without a good fit, the sound quality was noticeably compromised. Bass response was especially weak.

Numerous manufacturers shipped iPhone-ready earbuds early on the iPhone lifecycle, but none included a microphone. Earbuds alone were pointless, as the iPhone is a phone, after all.

Two weeks ago, I was the lucky purchaser of one of the first Vibe Duos to be sold at the Tucson Apple Store. The sales clerk who rang up the sale didn’t yet know that the Vibe Duo was even in stock.

After two weeks of hard use, the Vibe Duo proves to be a significant improvement over Apple’s headphone/headset.

The fit is better. V-MODA supplies differing sizes of pliable plastic ear tips. I was happy right out of the box, and did not try all the varying sizes.

With a better fit, sound quality is much improved over the Apple unit. Bass was stronger and fuller, and the high frequencies were less tinny and harsh. Apple’s unit could be good, but I’ll never know, as I can’t get the buds to provide a solid seal in my ears.

There are a few drawbacks to the Duo.

The pause/skip button is quite small compared to Apple’s, and I found it hard to find and click when I wanted to pause playback or skip to the next song. You need to feel around to locate the relatively small clicker. You can grab and squeeze the Apple button anywhere, without any fussing.

The cord is fabric covered and tends to kink if you roll it up when not in use. Apple uses a plastic cable, and it’s not prone to kinking.

The Duo’s microphone may not be quite as crisp as Apple’s. I had a few conversations where the listener said my voice sounded just a bit distant, compared to using the Apple gear. Feedback about voice quality depended on my location, so cell quality may be an issue.

All told, the Vibe Duo is a winner!

MyMac rating 4.5 out of 5.

Fix the pause/play button size and location, and the Duo will be nearly perfect.

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