My current headphones were on the fritz. I had to jiggle the wire so the right bud would produce audible sound. I desperately needed new ones. Inateck to the rescue!
Three days ago I received a sleek pair of earbuds from Inateck. It wasn’t a company I was familiar with at all, so I really wasn’t sure what to expect as far as quality vs. value. After spending many hours with them, I was pleasantly surprised.
As you can see in the image above the packaging alone already goes well beyond the standard, impossible to open plastic shell you get with most “budget” ear buds. The quaint box, and little carrying bag set the tone for what to expect when using these eco-friendly ear buds by Inateck.
Normally with budget earbuds you get flimsy plastic and a look that says, in a couple of months, you’ll be right back at the store buying new ones. This was not the case with Inateck’s earbuds. The aluminum alloy and zebra-wood combination feel sturdy in the hand and comfortable in-ear.
The main feature that assuages fears of frailty is the wooden back. Not only does the wood give the appearance of a more high-end pair of earbuds, but the wood also improves bass and acoustic sounds. It also reduces the vibration that you sometimes get when listening to more bass heavy music. This is something I definitely noticed while listening to some of my favorite songs.
The 8mm drive was a tight and secure fit in every device I used it in. I was never worried of the connection becoming loosened in my Galaxy, my laptop, or my 3DS. The cord, measuring in at just under 4 feet, has yet to tangle or snap whether I have my phone in my pocket or in hand at my side. I am also plagued by a what I call “Tangle Fairies.” These little imps go around my house at night and knot up all my cables no matter the position I left them in. I am happy to say that the chord on Inateck’s earbuds seem to repel these bothersome sprites and I have yet to experience any snags or knots.
Overall, the build makes this $15 pair of earbuds feel and look like something you paid significantly more for.
When I was first shown earbuds ages ago I thought they looked uncomfortable as all get out. I wondered how anyone could shove a piece of silicon, plastic, or rubber so far into their ear and it be comfortable. When I finally tried a pair of earbuds however, I was greeted with noise cancellation, louder and clearer sounds, and a secure fit. I had become a believer.
Inateck’s earbuds never irritated me after prolonged usage. They offer three different sizes of smooth, silicon earbuds which are easily interchangeable. I stick with the larger size as I have a large ear canal and they provided the least amount of interference. The other sizes work fine, but for me the fit wasn’t as tight as I like. However it is nice to have the option available for those without ear holes as cavernous as mine.
The first test for me with any new set of ear buds or headphones is always TOOL. Despite what you think of that band, their progressive music always contains many layers of bass, treble, and mids. Inateck’s earbuds passed my TOOL litmus test. The bass was clear and banged appropriately in my head. The sweeping, spacey guitar hummed and vibrated my eardrums. Maynard’s magnificent voice bounced around my frontal lobe with much clarity.
I did test out various other forms of music as I realize that TOOL isn’t exactly the baseline so much as it’s my baseline, and at the end of the day I do have eclectic taste in music. In fact lately I’ve been jamming out the the OST to a brilliant indie game called Furi. The soundtrack to that game is awesome on its own, but it is definitely what you would call “headphone music.” Furi’s soundtrack is a surreal mix of synths, drums, and bass. It uses the stereo output to make sounds seem like they’re bouncing from one ear to the other, and Inateck’s earbuds translated that with crystal clear clarity.
I always listen to my music cranked to 11, in my Galaxy’s case 15, and I experienced very little pop and distortion during any song. There were a couple of dubstep tunes where the drop was just too low for the headset to handle and the bass started to sound muddled, so I was forced to lower the volume. However, I should probably be listening to the advice my phone gives me about listening to too loud music and going deaf.
Beats audio this ain’t. But for $15 they were never going to be.
The Inateck Noise Isolating In-Ear Headphones also gives you the ability to make hands free calls. The built in mic, which is activated with the press of a button, was responsive, and, according to my friends on the line, the call quality was good. I could hear them clearly, and no matter the position I was sitting, laying, or standing in, they claimed to be able to make out what I was saying fine. I was also able to easily activate voice commands and execute them on my Galaxy.
One unfortunate omission is the lack of volume control on the earbuds themselves. The old, worn out pair that came with my Galaxy had volume control on board, so it was a feature I greatly missed. All you can do with Inateck’s buds is cancel or answer calls, skip tracks, or pause music. It became annoying after awhile to have to pull out my phone and adjust the volume when switching from music to phone conversations. It seems like a small gripe, but, when some songs get annoyingly loud, having to wrest my phone from my pocket and adjust the volume on there is a bit of a chore. Full hands free operation would have went a long way here, but for $15 it’s hard to be too peeved.
Inateck’s Noise Isolating In-Ear Headphones are a great deal for $15. They would be a great back-up pair of earbuds, and do alright as a primary pair. The sleek wood finish and solid build feel and look like something you might pay upwards of $40 for. The sound quality is crisp and clear in most situations with pops and fizzles only occurring during extremely bass heavy audio when it’s turned up far to loud. The packaging and the earbuds themselves are made from sustainable environmentally friendly materials. The all linen carrying bag is handy, albeit a bit unneeded in my situation, but it’s nice to have. The option to customize the size of the earbuds is a welcome addition as ear size isn’t universal so a on-size option just wouldn’t make sense.
All-in-all I am happy with these earbuds. They will last a good while, and I’m in no hurry to get them replaced any time soon. Audiophiles will probably turn their noses up at this, but for the regular Joe/Jane, these earbuds are servicable. Should you go out and replace your high dollar headset with these if you have one? No. But, if you’re in the market for an affordable pair of quality earbuds this pair from Inateck will definitely get the job done.
If I have to put a number on the rating I’d say: 3.7/5. Above average. The main hit comes from the lack of volume control on the headphones themselves.