I dislike earbuds. Before the advent of the “in-ear” variety, when the world was stuck with only iPod earbuds, I literally could not wear them. They didn’t stay in my ear for more than about 10 seconds, and those 10 seconds hurt. Then came along the in-ear headphones with the changeable silicon tips. Instead of trying to sit on your ear, these snuggly fit inside the ear canal itself. This made it so they didn’t fall out, but extended listening periods became painful. Now we have a hybrid of the two which promises to be the most comfortable earbuds you ever wear, and guaranteed not to fall out.
I’d never heard of Yurbuds before, but apparently the company is the #3 headphone vendor in the US. These headphones are designed specifically for athletes, by athletes, and are made of some pretty tough stuff.
Comfort: These headphones are comfortable. They were in my ear for the entire 5 and a half hour trip home from CES, and never once did I have to take them out due to being uncomfortable.
Strength: I can’t say specifically what the headphones are made of, but I was told that the gauge of wire used in the headphones, coupled with the sheath material, give them the highest tensile strength of any headphones on the market. This means they will last. I have given them some pretty big yanks, and so far they are going strong with no sign of damage.
Water Resistance: All Yurbuds products are moisture and sweat resistant. This doesn’t mean you can go swimming in them, but it means that sweat and rain are not going to phase them.
Sizing: While my pair only came with 2 sizes of silicon covers, Yurbuds will send you a custom fit pair if you send them a picture of your ear with a quarter next to it for reference.
Cleaning: Because of the large surface area of the silicon cover that comes into contact with your ear, you will inevitably pull them out to find wax on them. However, a simple rinse under warm water will have them back to new in no time.
3 Button Mic: Inline on this pair of Yurbuds is a 3 button mic for use with your smartphone. This turns them into a headset as well, meaning your phone can stay in your pocket. The mic is also water resistant.
Learning Curve: This is the first pair of headphones that I can honestly say requires you to read the instructions in order to wear them. Even with the instructions, finding out exactly how to wear them can be a chore, especially if the included sizes don’t fit your ear.
Cable Sheathing: The cable on the Inspire Pro model is sheathed in a durable rubber coating. While great for durability and water resistance, it’s not so great for friction. I’ve run into multiple instances where the cable grabs on my hoodie and starts yanking the earphones out. This is also compounded by the heavy gauge wire used inside, which has an obvious shape-memory. This means that, out of the box, the cable will retain the curves of being wrapped up in the packaging, even after twisting and stretching them out.
Sound Quality: I was slightly disappointed in the sound quality of these. Advertised as having “clinically tested” advanced acoustics, they sound for the most part like an average pair of headphones. The bass response is lacking, but I’m assuming that is partly due to the design of the silicon covers, because they are not noise-isolating.
Overall, I think the Yurbuds design is a welcome attempt at crossing the in-ear and on-ear headphones. Once you figure them out, they are easily the most comfortable headphones you will ever wear, and they are very difficult to make fall out. A couple design choices could have been changed to prevent snagging on clothes, but seeing as how they look towards athletes first I guess it’s not really an issue for them. If you are tired of your old iPod buds, or can’t stand the in-ear buds that make extending listening a nightmare, definitely give Yurbuds a try.
You can see more at the Yurbuds website. Prices range from $29 to $59 depending on the model.