Let me get this out of the way up front- I hate Apple EarPods., I don’t like the way they look. I don’t like the way they feel in my ears and, too often, they don’t even stay there. I’m not a fan. Thankfully, for under $60 the Scosche HPL1 earbuds can happily take the place of the EarPods.
The Scosche HPL1 iPhone 7 Noise Isolation Earbuds with Remote and Mic look like any other mid-level wired earbuds. A single cable coming from the audio source (in this case my iPhone) splits into two cables.
At the point where the cable splits into two, there is a large, easy to use, in-line microphone and remote. And both of the new cables end in small, round earbuds that have replaceable single flanged silicone inserts so you can get the right feel for your ears. (This latter part is important not only for comfort but also for sound since a good seal lets the earbuds reproduce music the way it was intended to sound while also blocking out the ambient noise that would otherwise distort the music.)
What makes the Scosche HPL1 iPhone 7 Noise Isolation Earbuds different is that they are among the first earbuds that connect to an audio source via a Lighting connector rather than the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack. Yes, these earbuds were specifically designed for, and a response to, the iPhone 7 removing the 3.5mm headphone jack.
As Scosche explains:
These iPhone 7 earbuds provide a direct connection with your Lightning port, delivering outstanding sound quality. Not only limited to iPhone 7, these earbuds are compatible with all Lightning iOS devices.
Now one might argue that there’s no need for these earbuds. After all, they aren’t audiophile-grade earbuds and Apple includes a pair of Lightning EarPods in the box with the iPhone 7. Heck, they also include an adapter so tradition headphones can also be used. So why would someone want to spend just under $60 on a different pair of Lightning earbuds? Simple, EarPods, as I mentioned at the beginning, simply don’t work for me and dongles are a pain in the neck. With the Scosche HPL1 iPhone 7 Noise Isolation Earbuds, you get the advantage of not needing to use a dongle and the comfort of having earbuds with a more traditional design.
And since Scosche is good enough to include a few different sizes of flanged silicone inserts, you can always get the right fit and comfort for your ears and taste.
HPL1 Earbuds Features Include:
- Full-Range Acoustic Reproduction: Brought to you by way of high-efficiency dynamic drivers to help active users stay motivated during workout, trail rides, runs & more.
- Enhanced Audio Quality: A direct connection with your Lightning port will deliver outstanding sound quality. These earbuds minimize any manipulation of the audio signal. Although Bluetooth is not far behind in quality, it does still sacrifice some of that quality as it is manipulating the signal while it wirelessly transfers your music.
- Controls at your Fingertips: Be in full control of your device with the built-in remote and mic. Whether it’s taking a phone call or controlling your music, the integrated remote and mic offer seamless user experience.
In addition, Scosche also offers a downloadable app that can be used to play music, easily control the EQ setting and, when available, a firmware update. Honestly, I’ve tried the app and, other than using it if a firmware update becomes available, I don’t see actual using it. Still, I give Scosche an A for effort in that they found a way to make the HPL1 Earbud “app enabled.”
The big question is, of course, how to they sound. The answer here is… the answer depends on your expectations. If you are looking for these to be high-end, audiophile-grade earbuds you are going to be sorely disappointed. (Then again, if you are looking for audiophile-grade earbuds you probably aren’t using your iPhone as your music source.) If, however, you are looking at these as a replacement for the Apple EarPods you will be more than pleased because…
- Thanks to the inclusion of three different sizes of silicone inserts, the earbuds are comfortable and do a great job of passively blocking ambient noise.
- Thanks to the large, easy to use microphone and remote you will always be able to control your music without having to reach for your phone. (I love the fact that the remote sits at the juncture where the single cable splits into two. It not only serves to reinforce this otherwise vulnerable point but it also means one earbud is weighed down more than the other. Honestly, I wish all earbuds placed the remote at this point since it keeps the earbuds balanced.)
- Thanks to the Lightning connector you won’t need to use a dongle and you don’t need to worry about wireless headphones being charged.
And thanks to the $59.99 price you won’t break the bank.
I’m impressed enough that the Apple Lighting EarPods that came with my iPhone are back in the box and will be there until I go to sell my iPhone next fall. In the meantime, when I want to use a pair of wired headphones I’ll be turning to the HPL1 Earbuds.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample
What I Like: Include various silicone tips so you get the right fit; Inline microphone and remote makes it easy to control music, activate Siri and make/take calls; Lighting connector means there no need for an adapter
What Needs Improvement: Sound is pretty much what you would expect at this price point