Did you read Katie’s recent piece on the tragedy of cheap headphones and find yourself nodding along in agreement? Me too. I particularly hate it on public transport when you’ve got N Dubz blaring into your right ear for three stops from your music-taste-impaired neighbour.
Despite this, I’ve been putting up with rubbish earphones for years, where one ear bud always goes or the sound is tinny and rubbish. Apple, I’m looking at you.
So when Roxy gave me the opportunity to try a couple of their sets of earphones, I couldn’t exactly say no. Especially good timing as the left earbud of my iPod earphones has died. Again.
Are they any good though?
The earphone design win points for looks, with the Reference 230 earphones (above) coming in a hot pink colour with bright orange ear buds (or green and turquoise like the pic).
I was pleasantly surprised by the sound. Comparing it with my iPod earphones, the quality is louder and clearer. I tested it with my sister in the room and she couldn’t hear any noise leaking. The closed casing stops sound escaping.
There are several advantages and disadvantages for the Reference 230:
- The earphones effectively block out external noise and therefore the volume at which you need to play it is lower.
- They’re bright, so I can easily fish them out of my bottomless handbag.
- They come with their own mini bag (pictured) to store them away safe and tangle free.
🙁 Like most other earphones, the buds can be uncomfortable after a while.
🙁 Bright pink clashes with most of my outfits
The Reference 250
The Reference 250 (left) arrived in a vibrant blue and green design. The Reference 250 differed from the 230 as it featured in-ear buds and a mini book-style microphone, ideal if you listen to your music on your phone and a friend interrupts your ‘Easy Listening’ playlist.
In bud earphones always feel a little odd to me, and on the highest volume they tend to make my ear feel like a bass drum. My opinion hasn’t been hugely changed by this. Here are the advantages and disadvantages:
- The mini-book microphone. I liked the ease of answering the phone with a simple click. Even if I did look a bit of a crazy lady doing this on the bus.
- Again, the design is great on the earphones, and it comes with a carrier case big enough to store your ipod or phone too.
🙁 I can’t get on board with the in ear function. It feels weird and it kept falling out.
🙁 The sounds wasn’t as good as the 230, a little tinny and the base doesn’t transfer through very well.
I’d highly recommend the Reference 230 for its design, sound quality and external sound blockage. The design of the Reference 250 and microphone option make it a great option if you don’t mind in-ear buds and like to multi task!