Rating: ★★★½☆

Pros:

  • Zipper prevents cord from tangling
  • Reasonably priced
  • Solid sound quality with decent dynamic range

Cons:

  • Heavy weight causes the headphones to be pulled from ears
  • Slightly larger form factor than normal ear buds
  • Included ear hooks are ineffective for exercise

Zipbuds aren’t exactly a new idea, but when I got word that DGA was taking the idea from concept to reality I couldn’t help but get a bit giddy.

Though the concept is rather simple and straight forward – a zipper, much like found on your jeans or sweatshirt, doubles as a cord that lets you zip up the buds to prevent the cord from tangling during storage – the execution calls for a significant amount of feness to deliver an actual working and usuable product. So do the Zipbuds deliver? Read on to find out.

Much the like the concepts we’ve seen over the years, the Zipbuds are just what they promised to be. We saw an early prototype at least year’s CES (2009) and believe me when I say they’ve come a long way. According to DGA it was no easy feat getting all the components to play nicely, but what they’ve achieved is a rather seamless form factor that will have most people guessing that this isn’t the first iteration of the product.

The sound quality of the Zipbuds are on par with any similarly priced ($39.99) pair of ear buds. The sonic capabilities of the buds are rather vast, boasting significant lows and highs that accommodate a wide variety of music. However, I noticed a fair amount of cord noise in the headphones while walking around – more than the average pair of ear buds – even when compared with those with an anti-tangle cord system. This was a result of the zipper portion of the headphones, which is made from plastic, rubbing against my clothing as I walked.

Zipbud ear hooks for exercise

Included in the box are a pair of ear hooks, which are designed to hold the Zipbuds in place while performing rigorous activity. Unlike other ear buds, which usually have this feature built-in, DGA’s version don’t wrap around the the top of the ear.  Instead they hang over the back of the ear. While effective at offsetting some of the weight created by the zipper, they aren’t very useful, are tedious to install and if I had to guess were an after thought. I’m still scratching my head as to why they didn’t opt for a standard over the ear hook.

Because the Zipbuds include a built-in zipper, they probably weigh almost twice as much as a pair of standard earbuds. Without the ear hooks in place I experienced the sensation that the Zipbuds were constantly falling out or being pulled out of my ears. I also struggled to achieve a comfortable fit in my ears, which made it even more challenging to keep the headphones in place.

Despite the weight issue that I experienced, the zipper portion of the Zipbuds worked flawlessly; they zipped up again and again without any problems.  In the past I’ve used a number of anti-tangle corded headphones, but despite this feature they still get tangled up.  So it stands to reason that this is the best “tangle-resistant” cord system I’ve seen to date.  Though, one additional caveat I noticed is a slightly larger than normal form factor when they’re wrapped up.

While the Zipbuds are a fun and novel idea, the benefits of the “tangle-resistant” cord aren’t enough to sway me from using my everyday in ear headphones.  But don’t be fooled.  The ZipBuds deliver superb sound quality and will surely make a great gift for anyone who has a hard time keeping their headphone cords in check.

You can buy the Zipbuds from Amazon for $39.99.










Christen Costa

 
Grew up back East, got sick of the cold and headed West. Since I was small I have been pushing buttons - both electronic and human. With an insatiable need for tech I thought "why not start a blog focusing on technology, and use my dislikes and likes to post on gadgets."