Review: Fanny Wang WangBuds
December 4, 2012 by Beatweek
Headphone maker Fanny Wang makes its first foray into earbuds with the WangBuds, and rather than taking the predictable route of adding to the veritable sea of in-ear earbuds on the market, the company instead offers something completely different. The earbuds bundled with the iPhone and other audio products offer flat grilles which sit next to your ear canal, while most brand name third party earbuds are designed around small rubber buds which are slide inside your ear canal. WangBuds employ something of a hybrid between the two: the have a flat grille, but are covered by rubber pieces which steer the audio directly to the edge of your ear canal. I’ve seen this concept employed before on single-ear bluetooth headsets, but never on a set of mainstream earbuds. That alone left me intrigued.
My tests with the WangBuds left me with a new appreciation for what can be done audio-wise with on-ear earbuds. The audio is far and away better than what you get from Apple’s bundled earbuds, and the rubber routing system also created a more intimate and noise-isolated listening experience. The catch is that the WangBuds do not offer as intimate a listening experience as the best similarly priced in-ear earbuds do. That then begs the question of whom this product is for.
There are a good number of users who complain that they don’t like in-ear earbuds, because none of the various sized rubber tips will stay in place for long, or because having something inside their ear canals throws off their balance. So for that crowd, who are otherwise stuck with the earbuds which came with their device, the WangBuds offer an appealing alternative. They’re likely a niche product, but a useful one whose niche has been up to this point underserved.
The choice of white, red, or black also provides some stylistic flexibility. And the inclusion of a built in mic and three buttons makes the WangBuds a true replacement for the iPhone and iPod bundled earbuds.
Price: $79 • fannywang.com