Zagg Z-buds Headphones Review$80.00
Tour & Design
Welcome to the Z-buds! Here they are all folded up nicely.
Now here they are without the twist ties.
The cables are longer than the average pair of in-ears. Let's start with a closer look at the ear buds and make this a proper effictio.
The buds have the traditional mesh at the tip of their nozzles, which helps shield them from ear debris. Also, note the relatively small area the sleeve have to hang onto. We found they tended to dislodge easily. Those cord guard-looking bits on the buds' undersides are actually hard plastic. The real cord guard is the cable casing itself, which should protect your wires fine on its own.
The holes on the back of the ear buds give them a semi-open design. This translates into poorer isolation and leakage control than the average set of in-ears.
Next on down is the remote & mic, which is located on the left channel's cable. The remote and mic are on opposite sides of the same pendant.
After a stretch, the left and right channels meet at a junction that has three moveable beads. Use these to manage the neck split.
Further down the cable, you'll find the volume control and finally, the plug itself.
Now here's what the headphones look like on HATS.
This is HATS, outfitted with the Z-buds. Note the thickness of the cable.
In The Box
In the Z-buds' triangular package, you'll find the headphones, six sets of sleeves for different sizes and shapes of ears, and a carrying pouch.
The main source of the Z-buds' durability issues, both good and bad, is its cable casing. For starters, the fabric coating is more durable than the soft plastic/rubber that's typically used. It can double as a cord guard since it'll help prevent the headphones' innards from bending in on themselves too tightly. The casing does create a bit of a weakness at the in-line accessory, however, because it doesn't bind to them. You can therefore spin the remote & mic around and around independent of the casing, twisting the internal wires. This is bad news, especially if you tend to ball up your headphones and shove them in a pocket when they're not in use.
Other than the casing joys/woes, there are a handful of minor points. The pin-hole open backs might be hard to clean should something get inside them. The sleeves aren't tethered onto the ear buds well, especially the foam set. Be careful any time they're not in your ears, because it doesn't take a lot to pop them off.
We're a bit torn on the aesthetics for the Z-buds. The ear buds don't have any real design to them, but this is a relatively minor complaint given how small they are. In-ears tend to either be white (iPod!) or black (not iPod!), so we really appreciate the splash of color. Conversely, the thickness of the cable looks a bit awkward, especially with the symmetrical form factor (shaped like a Y, as opposed to an asymmetrical design where one side is slung around the back of your neck).
All things considered, we're on the fence about the Z-buds. They're not beautiful, but they're not ugly either, which is the status quo for in-ears.