If you’re a Star Wars fanatic looking for rock-bottom-price earphones, then look no further than the Star Wars Darth Vader Earbuds. For $9.99 (list), these in-canal earphones offer low-quality audio with soft bass albeit in a distinct design. If you care more about quality than design, you’re better off looking at our Editors’ Choice for low-cost earphones, the RHA MA150 . For $10 more, you’ll get vastly improved audio performance, but you won’t get the Star Wars look.
The Jazwares Star Wars Darth Vader Earbuds have an all-black design with a rubber Darth Vader mask on each earpiece (Yoda, C-3P0, and Darth Maul models are also available). Like other inexpensive earphones, the thin, black cable doesn’t have inline controls or an in-line microphone, but you do get rounded, rubber eartips and two additional sets of eartips in different sizes. The earphones are comfortable to wear, stay secure, and enter your ear canal to block out a good amount of external noise.
For $10, you’re just not going to get high-quality audio performance (despite the existence of the surprisingly good $20 RHA MA150). In the bass-heavy “Stricken” by Disturbed, the low end sounded muffled, and all of the instruments were indistinct at moderate volumes. At maximum volume, you could begin to hear the massive kick drum, but the vocals became murky and there was no contrast between the different elements of the song.
It was a similar experience with our standard bass test track, The Knife’s “Silent Shout.” At maximum volume, I could feel some impact of the low end without distortion, but at moderate listening levels the bass faded away. The vocals, on the other hand, started to sound indistinct once you raised the volume to the max, to the point that I couldn’t understand the chorus.
With Flo Rida’s “I Cry” the audio was very poor all around. The vocals were muddy and distorted at maximum listening levels, and the bass sounded extremely muffled. At moderate levels, the vocals sounded hollow, but a little more distinct.
The Darth Vader Earbuds offer a $10 audio performance. They’re obviously targeted towards kids who like Star Wars, so they would make for a nice, inexpensive gift. Kids aren’t typically audiophiles, so they’ll likely overlook the subpar audio quality in favor of the cool design. But if you’re in the market for inexpensive earphones for yourself, take a look at the RHA MA150, which offers a much stronger bass response and more solid audio performance, minus the Star Wars brand.
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