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I've seen reviews saying that this product is all about what you see and not the quality, it's not. These are the best headphones i've had for years and they are REALLY good quality. They also fit in your ears really well and stay there.
My sister is a great present buyer, and sometimes I'm not the easiest person to buy for. My birthday was in August but she knew that, come September, my house would be packed up, my stuff would be in storage, and I would be heading out to Africa for the next 12 months. She really excelled herself this year, though, and every single gift I got was consumable before I left (heck, the edible stuff barely lasted a week) or a great trip accessory. These earbuds fell into the second category and made the journey with me, my faithful companion through hours of flight delays and beyond.
I tend to walk a lot when abroad, a mixture of necessity (no car), chance to exercise (no gym), education (way to see my new home) and vanity (tanning time!) When I walk I like to listen to music or podcasts, and so tend to have an iPod or other MP3/4 player with me, and of course these have headphones.
These DCI earbuds are headphones with a difference. They have a standard 3.5mm jack connector which fits into a normal headphone socket on your computer or music player, so should work with the vast majority devices. The cord then leading up to the ear pieces is white. I remember when I first got an iPod, a friend told me I should swap in different earphones from the default pair as the white cord would give away the fact that I had an Apple gadget and mark me out as a target for muggers (this was when we lived in the reasonably but not wholly civilised M13 postcode). I'm not sure this was much of an issue then, and I'm certain it isn't now given the fact that everyone and their dog has an iPod of some sorts, but it's worth bearing in mind that these don't come with the option of a black, or indeed any other colour, cord.
At the top of the cord, you have two ear pieces, larger than normal ones. They are moulded plastic and include the bit you put in your ears, plus a decorative feature that balances on the outside for the world to see. DCI do all sorts from ducks to pigs to ladybirds, but the ones I have are cupcakes. When I put these in, therefore, it looks like I have sprouted a rather adorable fairy cake from each ear. They are really sweet and the detail is fab: proper fluted cake case, fluffy golden cake, a smudge of pink icing plus a strawberry on top.
I find the sound quality of these to be fine, and no different from other middle of the range earphones. I tend to use the ones that come with an iPod until they die on me, and then replace them with whatever I can find. Over the years this has included everything from the cheapest in Argos to Mexican Woolworth's finest to pound shop babies. Some have been better than others, but these ones are pretty good. They're not top of the range but they're on a par with the ones supplied with most players, and I've never had any problems with volume or clarity.
The one thing that is slightly different about these is the shape of the ear piece. They come with a moulded tube that fits into each ear, with rubbery toppers in both small and large sizes so you can customise to suit you. I found these a bit fiddly to fit the first time, and didn't know which one to go for, but whichever one it was fitted by ears fine so I've had no reason to try the others. While they take a moment to squeeze on properly, once they're on they seem to be on for good, and mine haven't shifted since, belying the fact that they aren't an integral part of the design. The tubes fit snugly into my ears but the additional weight of the decorative toppings takes some getting used to and you need to push them in properly, not just balance them on the edge, otherwise they will fall out a lot. At first it thought these were more about the fashion and less about the function, but then I got the hang of them and have been fine since. Even if you're a whizz at in-ear headphones, you might need a little practice with these.
Because of the rubber pieces I find that these 'seal' my ears more than other earphones, and also block out a lot of background noise (great for when your music has finished and you just want some peace and quiet). They are comfortable to wear and putting them in and out doesn't scratch or irritate my ears the way some cheap designs can, perhaps because your skin never comes into direct contact with metal, just plastic or the rubbery tips.
These earphones might stick out of your ears slightly, but they're still going to be hidden if you have masses of hair and don't have it tied back somehow. Not a major disadvantage, just something to think about if you main reason for buying them is to show them off to other people.
You don't get a carry pouch with these the way you do with some headphones, but I tend to leave mine plugged into my player anyway, so I don't miss this. The cord is nice and long, so I can stick my iPod in my bag or my jeans pocket, and have no trouble with these reaching my ears with enough 'give' that they don't get caught and tug. The flip side of this is that the cord can get tangled quite easily if you're not careful, but the same goes for any earphones.
The price of these varies considerably, but shop around and you'll find them for between £5 and £12. At the upper end, they're not cheap, and you're paying for the design gimmick rather than enhanced sound quality, but they're awfully cute and I'm in love with mine. For the girl who has EVERYTHING (or the girl who is moving to Africa and has room for NOTHING) these make a great gift, and would be an ideal stocking filler.
Buy these online from: http://cubicuk.com/ or have a look on eBay.
Or check out the whole DCI range at:
http://www.dcigift.com/category.cfm?catID=14&view=all for all your Kitsch gift needs. It's fab!