November 11, 2008

Review: JVC HAFX33P Marshmallow In-Ear Buds

This post is part 1 of a two-part series of headphones reviews. Stay tuned for part 2, which will include a free giveaway for one lucky reader/commenter!

When my old headphones broke, one of the first to weigh in on the headphone debate was Jenn, who recommended the JVC Marshmallow In-Ear Buds. Finding them for less than $10 including shipping on (they’re a bit more expensive), I immediately ordered them and hoped that they’d get to me before Saturday morning, when I was leaving for Portland. I was too cheap to pay the extra $10 for expedited shipping to make sure they’d be ready in time (come on, the expedited shipping would be more expensive than the headphones themselves!), but luckily, they arrived on Thursday. I was excited to try them out, and did so on Friday on my way to work. They worked great, and I’ve since used them quite frequently in the past few months… but used them with caution.

Aesthetically, I loved that they came in pink to match my iPod. (They may come in other colors too, but the link Jenn sent was for the pink set, and I loved them so I didn’t bother checking to see what my other options were.) The cord is white, which fits my silly status requirement of wanting them to match the standard white that Apple uses 🙂 The cord is just a bit thicker than my old Brookstone headphones, but it makes them look kind of soft and squishy and fun. Unlike my old set, there is a little slider to move the point at which they split, which is pretty nice – helps keep your cords from getting tangled.

Unfortunately, the downside is the earpieces – arguably the most important part of a set of headphones. The marshmallow tips on the end of the earphones certainly make them comfortable, but they also are extremely noise-cancelling. They’re perfect on an airplane and they’re absolutely perfect, because they serve as combination earplugs and headphones, but now that I’ve tried these, I completely understand why people complain about the use of headphones while running. My old headphones allowed me to listen to music and still hear what was going on around me (at least, assuming the volume wasn’t too high). However, regardless of volume, the JVC marshmallows are way too dangerous for running. I’m even afraid to wear them around town or on the subway, because they really don’t allow you to hear any ambient noise.

The one thing they are perfect for is on the plane – I love using them on the turboprop plane to Ithaca, which is usually so loud that I can’t listen to anything. Because of their comfort, they would also work well if I ever wanted to sleep with headphones on because I’m trying to sleep in a noisy environment or something (although then how would I wake up?). They’re also fabulous for doing the elliptical at the gym, when I want to hear what I’m watching on TV and don’t want to hear the gym music that’s blasted in. I would definitely recommend them for use in controlled situations like this, but I would caution strongly against using these while actually walking or running somewhere. I realize this is a running blog, so just stay tuned for tomorrow’s review of the perfect set of headphones to complement these!


11 thoughts on “Review: JVC HAFX33P Marshmallow In-Ear Buds”

  1. Thanks for the review! I actually like the fact that they’re noise-canceling for less than $10. I couldn’t imagine spending hundreds of $$ for the Bose ones – I don’t fly enough to justify that.

    I wouldn’t wear them running though – like you, I like to know what’s going on.

  2. Thanks for the review. I might need to give these a try for less than $10. I am always, always having headphone difficulites. I have yet to find hte perfect pair.

  3. I just bought a new pair of headphones (that my husband suggested) and I don’t like that they don’t have a snappy thing to snap them to my shirt anywhere like my previous ones (that broke) did. So, time for a new pair for me. I’ll have to come back and see whatcha got to say.

    Man, on another note – you have done so many more Marathons since the last time I was existing on blogs. Congrats! You are such a natural.

  4. Seriously..i’m almost embarrassed to admit I still use my old school over the head headphones because the little pods usually hurt my ears…I’ll be interested in your next review.

  5. I think I would actually like the noise cancelling…though then I could jump even higher in the air when a biker passes me…hmm maybe not such a great idea. I thought of you when I read this month’s Runner’s World…they covered the Emerald Nuts New Year’s Eve 4 miler…though I didn’t see you in any pics 😉 Looks like fun though.

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