We usually only reserve our long-term evaluations to higher-end earphones and headphones, but when presented with a sample of Zipbuds new Slide earphones, we just had to test out the “tangle-free technology.”
As anyone who has owned a pair of earphones understands, the biggest deficit is dealing with untangling the long wires after being stowed. There are some clever devices out there to wind up the wires, but they end up being utilized by more of the obsessive / compulsive crowd, who doesn’t mind taking the extra time to wind everything up nice and tidy. For the rest of us, shoving earphones in your pocket is the norm. However, the result is even more of a time-suck every time you want to deploy the earphones for action. Enter Zipbuds.
Zipbuds aims to eliminate this problem by employing specialized left and right cables that cinch together like a Zip-Lok bag. While the cables are thicker and stiffer than normal earphone cables, they work great. In our long-term test with five evaluators (comments in quotes below), all reported back that they never had to deal with the dreaded “ball of string” issue. “Although the Zipbuds take up more room in my jacket pocket due to the ossified cables, they were an absolute pleasure to use,” stated one reviewer.
The Zipbuds Slide come with a in-line microphone for hands-free operation, but our evaluators found its performance was below-average compared to equivalently priced earphones on the market. “The mic was a serious drawback for me,” revealed one tester, “it claims to have noise-reduction technology, but it didn’t function well walking down the street in New York City. In fact, I ended up being THAT guy who has to hold the mic up to their lips just to be heard.”
Zipbuds boosts that the Slide has “powerful bass and dynamic clarity at any volume,” but all five of our testers found that claim to be over-reaching. “The Slides competitive advantage is their innovative tangle-free design, since I found the sonic signature to be just adequate,” stated one reviewer. Another declared, “the Zipbuds are turned for mid-range prominence at the expense of both the low and high ends of the spectrum, which is probably the right choice considering the price-point and target market.” Finally, “for a pair of $50 earphones, I found the sound to be competent. There seems to be a bump around 2K for bringing out vocals in compressed audio, which is useful in louder environments and enhances its use as a hands-free device.”
While the Zipbuds Slide is certainly not going to be your go-to for listening to high-definition recordings, its a great choice for every-day-carry, if you don’t rely on its hands-free capability. The “awesome” zip technology is a real winner and if you’re looking to stop pulling out your hair dealing with a wad of tangled up wires, it’s worth the price of admission alone.
The Future: We’d love to see Zipbuds take their sound quality to the next level. Leveraging the beefy cables, they can improve the connectivity and maybe even consider a multi-driver approach, so they can deliver on their “powerful bass” promise. The company should also revamp the in-line microphone to the latest standards.
+ Zipperless Zipper Technology
+ Innovative Design
+ Construction Quality
– In-line microphone
– Average Sound
Zipbuds Slide retails for $79.95, but streets for below $50.