Cheap iPhone Earphones From eBay – The Real Deal?

by Alvin Poh | Thu, Jul 10, 2008

Gadgets & Technology


One of the problems with my previous phone – the Samsung i780 – was that it was incredibly hard to find accessories for it. I couldn’t find a headphone jack converter for it – and I really needed it because I couldn’t use the stock earphones as they kept falling out. So I couldn’t use my normal earphones with it, which was a bummer.

With the iPhone, it came with an in-built 3.5mm headphone jack, so things were great – or so I thought. Turns out that the iPhone’s headphone jack was 3.5mm, but it was recessed so that only mini 3.5mm plugs could fit it. That meant that I couldn’t use my Panasonic earphones with it (the earphones had a L-shaped jack).

Since it was about time that I changed earphones, I went to look around for a good pair, and I found that the Creative EP-630′s came well recommended for their value for money. The first place that I tried to get a pair at was eBay, and imagine my surprise when I found that the earphones were sold at nearly half-price! Thinking that it was extremely lucky of me to have found this super-bargain, I nearly purchased them on the spot, but for some reason, I didn’t — good thing though! I poked around, and found some places discussing the earphones that were listed on eBay and other places that were a fraction of the original retail prices. It turns out that almost all of these earphones were imitations and sounded nowhere close to their originals.

They look almost identical though – and they had imitations for almost any models in the market. For the plain Apple earphones to the complex Shures — everything was online and for sale. And just by the pictures on the listings, it was almost impossible to tell the real from the fake. The fakes even came with packaging so real you’d be amazed! After looking through several listings, I realised that there are some cases that have obvious mistakes though – just take a look at the listing photo below of these Panasonic RP-HJE500 earphones that supposedly came with aluminium housings, or in this case, “alminium housing”.

Panasonic RP-HJE500 Earphone Alminium Housing

After receiving the earphones, you’ll realise that they’re manufactured at a lower quality too. For example, if you were to get a pair of Shures, you might realise that the imitations have plastic grey capsules, unlike the more metallic texture of the originals. The top halves might also be made of glossy plastic instead of the matte finish in the originals. The letters in the Shure logo are placed further apart from each other and in some cases, the “R” and “E” characters don’t connect like in the case of the authentic Shure logo.

So if you’re buying from eBay and the seller/price looks too good to be true – then it probably is! The earphones are probably still fine if you’re not too discerning about sound quality though – they aren’t the originals, but at those prices, they can be your pair of backup earphones or earphones for more rough use, like when you go exercising.

Creative EP-630 Earphones

In the end, I decided to go to Amazon instead, and purchased my pair of Creative EP-630′s (link to Creative EP-630). It comes with a straight plug, and the sound quality is awesome for its price!

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This post was written by:

- Alvin Poh lives in Singapore, and is interested in marketing, techy stuff, and likes to just figure out how the two can work with each other. He can also be found on Google+.

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2 Comments For This Post

  1. hansning Says:

    any links to the forum discussions you’ve found? i’m very tempted to get a pair of cheapo’s for $10 (http://cgi.ebay.ca/Metal-Sound-Isolation-Handsfree-Earphone-for-iPhone_W0QQitemZ250269711275QQihZ015QQcategoryZ20336QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem)

    btw, the creative’s don’t have the microphone and button that i rely on constantly.

  2. Alvin Says:

    ahhh…i don’t have the links anymore, but just google for ‘ebay earphones real deal’ or something like that, and you should get some references :)

    u could try it out actually, and if they turn out to be fakes, then ask for a refund. there’s an rule that serious ebay sellers follow by……satisfy all customers (if it means giving out refunds or exchanges fast), because ultimately they don’t want negative ratings (which also explains why they *only* have a huge mass of positive ratings when you think about it)

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