The stock pair of ear buds that come with your iPhone are fine for watching YouTube or chatting hands-free. But in terms of performance, they fall conspicuously flat—both in user reviews and lab testing. If you think you’ve been enjoying your music and movies on your iPhone with the bundled ear buds, then you likely don’t know what you’re missing. Check out some of these top iPhone headphone alternatives and hear the difference for yourself.
Klipsch X10i - $350
Comfort, portability, excellent sound reproduction—you can have it all. That is if you’re willing to pay more for your iPhone headphones than you paid for the phone itself. Klipsch X10i headphones are premium in-ear headphones that are made for those who spare no expense when it comes to enjoying top quality sound. Weighing in at just 10 grams, the Klipsch headphones have five different contoured gels that allow them to fit comfortably inside your ear. This provides some nice passive sound isolation so you can enjoy the full spectrum of music, speech and soundtracks. The headphones come with a quarter-inch adapter, in case you want to use them for another device, as well as an airline adapter. You also get a carrying case and a cleaning tool.
Etymotic hf2 - $155
For the slightly less spendy consumer, these headphones deliver amazing bass response at half the price of the Klipsch X10i. As in-ear headphones, the Etymotic hf2 headphones come with two sets of silicone ear tips that conform to your ear as well as foam ear tips, for those who aren’t fans of silicone ear tips. The 4-foot cable includes a microphone with buttons that control calls and music playback, making it an easy replacement for the headset that comes with the iPhone.
V-Moda Vibe II - $120
When Apple designed its stock iPhone ear buds, they made the assumption that everyone looks good in white. V-Moda’s Vibe II headphones beg to differ, and offer stylish headphones made from stainless steel and toned in black or rouge. While just shy of premium quality sound, these headphones are far more affordable than the high rolling headphones on this list, which depending on how discerning your ear is, may be a good trade off. In addition to the silicon ear tips, you get special earhooks that give you more stability when jogging.
Maximo iMetal iP-HS5 - $50
For those lamenting that none of the top iPhone headphone models listed here fell into the sub-$100 range, despair no more. The Maximo iMetal iP HS5 headphones give great sound for the price, offering amazing clarity and detail for a $50 pair of headphones. Made from metal, rather than plastic, these have a serious feel without the serious pricetag. The microphone sits closer to the mouth than with the iPhone headset, which may be an improvement, depending on your preferences. You also get a carrying case, a 2-foot extension cable, lanyard, shirt clip and two 2.5mm plug adapters, in case you want to use it on a different phone.