TuneBuds Mobile for iPhone
Company: Griffin Technology
I think I need to start this by saying thanks to our editor-and-chief for allowing me to borrow his iPhone 1G to test the functionality of Griffin’s TunebBuds Mobile earbuds. Without his assistance this review wouldn’t be complete, and if this review wasn’t complete, it wouldn’t be fair.
So why do I say that? Well, to be frank, the sound quality of the TuneBuds is less than stellar. While I’m not a hardcore audiophile, I do enjoy a full range of sound from my audio equipment, and in the case of the TuneBuds, I found that the low-end response was almost non-existent. Now the mid-range and upper-range is fine, which is okay if you plan to use the TuneBuds as a headset for your iPhone, and I think this really is the market that the folks at Griffin are targeting.
So to clarify a few things before I go any further, testing for the TuneBuds Mobile earbuds was conducted using an iPhone 1G (a la Tim Robertson) and a 16 GB iPod Touch 1G (mine). For all you first generation (1G) iPod Touch owners, this is not the product for you. The basic functionality of the TuneBuds Mobile is not supported by the 1G Touch, and the sound quality of the TuneBuds Mobile doesn’t match that of the stock earbuds provided by Apple. I also need to point out that the Griffin has posted the compatibility information on the TuneBuds Mobile page of their website, and the 1G iPod Touch is not on that list.
Now, having said all that, I’m not saying that this product is bad. I own several products from Griffin Technology and enjoy them all. Were I looking for an affordable head set for my iPhone, or a set of earbuds with a built-in control dongle and microphone for my 2G iPod Touch, the TuneBuds Mobile are an effective, affordable solution.
So what is there to like about this product?
First of all, product presentation. Griffin has sheathed the cable for the TuneBuds Mobile in a braided nylon material. This does a great job of reducing the tangling and gives them a cloth-like feel that reminds me of a pair of boot laces – good boot laces – not the cheapo ones that fray and break after a few months wear and tear. They also provide three different sizes of interchangeable ear cushions, so you can pick the size that fits best for you. Finally it also comes with a coin pouch-sized zippered storage case, so you can keep the extra ear cushions and earbuds in your pocket without worrying about getting them tangled up in key chains and pocket lint.
Secondly, I really like the simplicity of the control dongle/microphone. The dongle has only one button, but with it you can do most of the functions you need to control your iPhone. If you’re listening to music, one touch will pause and play the current track. If you don’t like the current track, double click the control button to hear the next track. If a phone call comes in while your listening to a song or podcast, single click to answer the call. Don’t feel like having a phone conversation? Simple hold the control button for 2 seconds and the call we be sent to voice mail. And while I didn’t actually hear the how I sounded on the other end of the conversation while I was testing the TuneBuds Mobile, I was told by the listener on the other end of the conversation that the sound quality of the microphone was fine.
So overall, the TuneBuds Mobile earbuds works as-advertised, and offer an affordable headset/earbud solution for iPhone users, albeit at a compromised sound quality.