For The Confused Indian Buyer: Here Are The Best Earphones Under Rs. 1000
Most (if not all) smartphones come with a set of stock earphones which while being nowhere in the realm of providing 'quality audio' work for taking calls and listening to a bit of radio in a pinch. If you're looking for a cheap replacement for when these earphones die on you, this is the category you should look at.
This list has been compiled with the help of users as well as our in-house experts.
In no particular order, here we go!
The Sennheiser CX180 in-ears are one of the most popular earphones sold in the country. In fact, Sennheiser specifically launched this model for the Indian market, keeping in mind the average consumer's audio palate and budget requirements.
Designed to be used mostly with your smartphones, these earphones are pretty l ightweight and comfortable due to its plastic build. A downside of course, is that it is also flimsy and the cables tend to be rather tangle prone and susceptible to cable noise. Disappointingly, there is also a lack of choice in colours which is the norm in this category.
Ergonomically, these earphones are superior than most in this list; the finger-contoured housing design which allows you to easily take these on and off and the soft eartips in varying sizes also helping out. You can also get yourself a pair of ComplyFoam 400 Series eartips for better comfort, isolation & improved sound.
When it comes to sound, these are rather biased towards bass. Indians do have an inclination to love bass over everything and Sennheiser has capitalized on this by designing these to cater that very whim. At loud volumes, you can even get the earphone housings to vibrate!
What pulls these down is how the overpowering bass muddies the mids and highs. It can be said that one can't expect a lot from cheap earphones, but Sennheiser being a brand as big as it is, definitely could have done much better. The highs aren't as bright and detailed either.
Ali Pardiwala, NDTV's resident audiophile and headphone geek, has done an extensive review for the CX 180 in which he described the sound as, "There is a clear boost in the bass. And although the tone and detail isn't fantastic, it certainly isn't bad either. Once again, the focus on the bass tends to drown out any scope for the mids and highs to stand out, and the upper ranges fall short in sparkle and detail as a result. However, the imaging doesn't suffer immensely, and still has enough in it for you to enjoy the music."
We're inclined to agree.
Coming to the soundstage, it's better left alone. Three dimensional imaging is a distant dream. In fact, ' narrow' is the word that comes to mind here. Noise isolation on the other hand, is trumped by the Panasonic RP-HJE350 which is also featured in this list.
A few years ago, Panasonic was at the top of its game, known for its fantastic sounding value-for-money earphones. Although the company lost the price wars it had in the subsequent years with Sony & Phillips, the fact remains that they're a company with strong credentials in budget personal audio. And the HJE190 is one of them.
The highlight of the HJE190 is its comfortable design and secure fit. Panasonic has employed its proprietary design funda called ' Ergofit' which is a two step fit, first fitting into your ear and the next going deeper into the ear canal for better isolation and a firmer hold.
Panasonic has succeeded in doing that. These earphones have a low profile and can stay in your ears even when you engage in rigorous outdoor activities like cycling, running etc.
Cable noise is another factor that Panasonic has tried to combat. For the uninitiated, cable noise is that irritating noise you hear when your wires rub against your clothes/body. The cord slider basically ensures that this reduces. Which it does to a certain extent, but not entirely. Unfortunately, the wires are very thin, seem flimsy and aren't tangle resistant, which is a let down, especially since Panasonic's main selling point here is design related.
Coming to the sound, these are big on bass with a clear and bright sounding highs . Where the HJE190 suffers a little are the mids. They could have been a little crisper and detailed. As for soundstage, it's good enough for the price, probably only getting beat by the ES19s in this list.
If you're looking for a pair of earphones to use with EDM or bass heavy music that will make your head vibrate due to the thumping bass, get yourself the Panasonic - RP-HJE190.
Audio Technica is most famous for its M-Series studio monitor headphones. With the COR150, the company aimed to bring its technology to the masses. However, rather than providing their signature reference sound, these earphones have 'Core Bass' technology.
The COR150s have a two way design that is unique to it in this price category. They can hang down in the traditional way or can also hang over the ear with the help of plastic earhooks for extra security so that they don't fall out. When they hang over the ear it also takes away from the traditional tension that exists from the ear canal to the weight of the chord. For runners or people who work out: these earphones could be for you. However, depending on your ear size, this style might also get exceedingly uncomfortable.
The plastic they use for the chord is standard; nothing to write home about. The circular cord winder that comes with, on the other hand, is another nice touch. When it comes to aesthetic appeal, it's better to go for the darker shades. The bright colours tend to look a little tacky.
Noise isolation is okay, better at high volumes. Isolation at low volumes isn't as good as it should be.
When it comes to sound, the earphones are definitely bassy, but the bass isn't as refined as the others in this category. Out of the box, it is rather boomy, muffling the mids and highs. To be fair however, it does get better after a few hours of burn in.
As for the highs, when they do manage to peak out, tend to be a little harsh. The soundstage is surprisingly wide. It's beat out only by the HJE350s and the ES19s.
These earphones are however, better for their design rather than their sound.
The only reason i am rating them 4 out of 5 is because of poor build quality ."
After winning accolades with the exceedingly popular E10s, aiming strictly at the smartphone upgrade market, SoundMAGIC has come out with the ES19s as a viable contender in the sub-1500 price category.
Straight up, the biggest plus point is the mic and remote provision. The ES19s also has a nifty mechanism with the one button remote: the A/B switch enables the control of Apple as well as Android smartphones and devices, making them compatible with more devices than is the norm.
When it comes to aesthetics, the ES19s earphones have a very clean, understated look to them. The rounded earpieces are finished well and while being very lightweight. The cable is a smooth, matte finished silicone cable that is surprisingly decent in resistance to tangles. The straight jack is however, an unfortunate minus.
Fit and isolation aren't as secure as the HJE350s but they're not worrisome. A casual listener would be pretty satisfied with both.
When it comes to sound, the ES19s is very clear and well balanced. The bass is deep, warm, natural and tight – it isn't overpowering, just nicely balanced. The mid range is clean and tight with impressive definition and highs are light, open and controlled.
Coming to sound stage, the ES19s is fairly wide and nuanced with accurate positioning right across the spectrum. On the whole, sound quality is more balanced and detailed when compared to any other model at this price point.
The MDR-EX150 is an update to the popular, albeit discontinued Sony MDR-EX110. Sony hasn't made any technical changes of note to these earphones. The only noticeable difference, to be honest, is in the variety of colours that this model is now available in.
Design is probably the biggest selling point for these earphones. Apart from the colours, they're very lightweight and rather comfortable. Accessories aren't much to speak of, with just additional eartips coming in the box. A negative would be that the cables are rather thin making them slightly weak.
These earphones do come with 9mm drivers, so the sound clarity is good enough. C lear sound without distortion is another point in favour of this model. Despite the wide frequency range (as low as 5hz), bass could be much better. It isn't as deep and attacking as is mostly preferred.
Noise isolation unfortunately, is rather mediocre. As for soundstage, just like the CX180, the less that is said, the better.
On the whole, these earphones would substitute your stock earphones in a pinch. However, they won't provide an upgrade of noticeable value. But if you're looking for something colourful, stylish and highly portable, then these might appeal to you.
Skullcandy has come to be known as the brand that caters to the masses. The innovative and quirky designs add to the brands popularity. The Riff sports a hassle-free sleek designed from the house of Skullcandy . One glance, and you will realize that the plastic build does not look very durable and will have to be cared for.
The highlight of these earphones is that it comes with an innovative Fix technology. For the initiated, the ear pods have been designed keeping in mind the shape of your ear canals. This ensures that you enjoy the most secure and comfortable fit.
When it comes to Noise isolation, Skullcandy has tried to combat maximum environmental noise. These earphones come with noise isolating acoustics and an angle port. The seal that is created around the ear canals is noteworthy.
For Smarphone compatibility, the Riff accommodates an in-line remote and mic on its cable. This feature lets you answer calls and control music without much effort.
When it comes to the sound, the bass is extremely powerful making your music listening experience power punched. The highs and mids sound fairly clear, while the vocals sound natural. However, extreme detail and clarity is not attained.
The Skullcandy Riff does not come with a carry case making portability difficult.
These earphones come with a One year warranty.
These were the best 5 headphones that come under Rs 1000. Although there are others that come within the same budget, these are the ones we definitely recommend.
What are your favourite earphones in this range? Do let us know in the comments below!
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