With the HearSay, iLuv ventures into territory oft neglected by the overall market: a set of earbuds which aims to offer all the niceties of a $99 product while clocking in with a more value oriented $59 price tag. The means the inclusion of a built in mic and volume buttons. It also means the inclusion of increasingly trendy – and less tangle prone – flat ribbon cabling, along with a choice of colors including red, black, and white.
The key for an earbud product like the HearSay (model number iEP515) which looks and feels like a more expensive product is that it has to offer decent sound quality as well. In my tests I found that the HearSay is strong in the lower and middle ranges, with the bass in particular being solid, while the upper treble ranges are merely adequate. Earbuds in this price range never get more than two of the three ranges right, so this is acceptable for what you’re paying, so long as you’re not fanatical about your treble. The overall audio quality of the HearSay is better than most of the competition in this range.
The one oddity is that the rubber posts which go in your ear canal are right up against the fattest part of the earbud ,instead of being tapered or set back a bit as is the case with most earbuds. Users with smaller ear canals may find this design uncomfortable, while users with larger ear canals are unlikely to notice one way or the other. So the recommendability of the HearSay iEP515 is different for each user. But for those who don’t have small ear canals, the above-average audio quality, built in mic and buttons, and striking design are all apt motivators.
Rating: four stars out of five • Price: $59 • iluv.com