Price: $149 for earphones and case
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Bottom Line: When safe earphone use is a concern, and it probably should be in more instances than we normally make it, earHero is a great option as it allows users to monitor surrounding sounds as well as output from an iPhone. The downside is that they are not really great for music due to their tinny sound.
Recommended when safety is a concern.
earHero has created the most unique set of earphones I've ever tested. Touted as the world's safest earphones, they are absolutely tiny and nearly impossible to see when in-ear. Their main feature is that they allow monitoring of audio from the device and from surroundings at the same time. For instances like walking on city streets or through areas where the sounds around the listener are important, these are a great option.
Installation is pretty easy. Insert the proper earphone in to the entrance of the ear canal. Then a soft plastic pin bends against the surface of the ear to press the earphone into position and holds it steady. The wire wraps over the top of the ear and back down the back. When wearing these headphones, they are almost invisible - another plus. The headphones are also some of the lightest I have ever used.
The downside is that the sound quality is really only good for voice. The output is way too tinny to be used for anything with high fidelity. But then again, that's not really what these are meant for. Without sealing the ear canal and blocking out other sounds, headphones are never going to be great for music listening. For listening to podcasts, meeting recordings, etc while walking (or biking) through city streets to work, however, these are perfect.
The other issue for iPhone users is the lack of inline controls or a microphone. That unfortunately means these cannot be easily used for phone calls. I also question their durability; while I've had no issues in my few hours of use, the wires seem a bit fragile for normal wear and tear.
While there are certainly times when earHero is a perfect option, it's not for music listening. The best uses are for safety when monitoring the environment around the listener is needed, and when needed for clandestine use as they are nearly invisible. But with no inline controls for iPhone, tinny sound, and durability questions, we can't recommend these for general use.
Recommended only in certain instances, when safety is a concern.