Wired earbuds have an impressive look, but leave something to be desired when it comes to listening experience.
When I try out a set of new headphones, I want them to have the magical ability to take me away to some far off place. I want the world around me to fade away. I typically use headphones and music as a method of concentration when I’m writing or doing some heavy computer project. I don’t like distractions and a good set of headphones can help me tune out the unnecessary sounds in the world around me so that my brain can focus on what is in front of me. I’ve been a fan of Veho products for a few years now and I love the sense of class they bring to my accessories. When I was invited to try out their new Z-3 Stereo Earbuds, I was thrilled to have another set of trustworthy headphones in my arsenal.
The Z-3 headphones are designed to offer the user a deep, powerful bass sound. It features high-quality 13mm drivers, which is quite a bit larger than the estimated 9mm drivers in Apple AirPods. By including a larger driver, Veho product designers were trying to ensure that users would have powerful output sound. The earbuds were created with performance and comfort in mind. To wear them, you slide them into the ear canal and gently twist them until the body of the earbud rests in your outer ear. The Z-3 earbuds are not noise-canceling, but they do provide some noise isolation when worn properly. The headphones are ‘wired’ headphones with a 3.5mm stereo plug installed on the end of its cable. There are also a set of in-line controls resting on the right ear piece’s cable. The earbuds are designed to be compatible with Apple iPhone, iPod, and iPad as well as Android smartphones, tablets, and PCs.
The Z-3 headphones arrived in a simple, but elegant Veho branded box. It’s primarily black with some white and gray writing on it. There is a nice window cutout where you can visually see the earbuds and the controller. The back of the box has quite a bit of product details included in multiple languages. When you open the box, you will find a bag of replacement ear gels, the earbuds, and a quick start guide. Like the box, the quick start guide is multilingual and it shows a few additional products that are available by Veho. The instructions do show the user how to use the in-line controls and multipurpose button. In addition to the included materials, I really would have liked to see a storage bag or small case for the earbuds. Since they are wired, tossing them into a bag or pocket isn’t really conducive to a good user experience since the cable is easy tangled. I was very impressed with the look of these earbuds. They sort of have a futuristic vibe to them and they match the iPhone’s Space Gray nicely.
I typically do not seek out earbud-style headphones. I much prefer over-the-ear or on-ear headphones. The one exception I have to this rule is the Apple AirPods/EarPods. The reason for this is because my ears seem to be a bit on the smaller side and therefore earbuds aren’t typically very comfortable for me to wear. Apple’s AirPods are a smaller form earbud and because of that, they fit me better than most earbuds. So, when I took the Z-3 earbuds out of their packaging, I was a little hesitant to try them out. Earbuds are a real hit and miss experience for me. I looked over the ear gels that were provided and quickly switched out the medium ones that were already installed for the smaller ones. Then, I slipped the earbuds into my ears. Even with the small ear gels, they formed an immediate vacuum (that’s what earbuds should do) inside my ear canal. For me, they were tight. One of the main things that catches my attention quickly with in-ear headphones or earbuds is the comfort level. For me, the Z-3 Earbuds were just not a good fit.
Despite the uncomfortable nature of these earbuds, I pressed on with the testing of them. I have an iPhone 7 and because of this, I had to use a Lightning adapter in order to plug the Z-3 earbuds into my phone. The first thing I did after connecting the earbuds was pull up Pandora and listen to some music on my movie soundtrack station. At first, music sounded a bit hollow to me. I could hear all the instrumentation well I just wasn’t getting a good bass sound. I thought it might have to do with the ‘fit’ of the earbuds so I moved them around in my ears a bit and found the sound to be a little deeper, but still not like what is provided with my AirPods. I did find that listening to videos with dialogue was a bit better sounding than music simply because there isn’t as wide of a range of sounds.
So, the next things I did was to run my frequency test and balance check on the headphones. With the frequency check, I was able to hear as low as 50Hz and as high as 16500 kHz. This is a far cry from what I am typically able to hear without earbuds. I can typically hear between 30Hz and 17kHz, but with some earbuds/headphones, I can hear as low as 20 Hz and as high as 18870 kHz. This may be why some music didn’t sound a rich as it could have. The balance checked out fine. I could hear through both earpieces equally.
Even though I tend to sway towards wireless headphones, I was excited about the prospect of having in-line controls to use again. I do find that they are a little more precise than touch controls can be. I was sorely disappointed though with the Veho Z-3 earbuds because they didn’t work as the should have. When I was listening to music through my iPhone 7 (connected through the Lightning adapter), the multipurpose button did play/pause tracks and complete all its other scheduled tasks, but the volume up/down buttons did not function at all. This was true no matter what app I was using. I tried the headphones on my MacBook Pro because it has a headphone jack. This time all the buttons worked, but the volume up/down would take the volume all the way up to 100% or all the way down to 0% with a single tap. Finally, I plugged the headphones into my 12-inch iPad Pro through the headphone jack. The controls function flawlessly. I’m not sure what was causing this bug, but it didn’t make for a pleasant listening experience.
Unfortunately for me, the Z-3 earbuds didn’t exactly live up to my expectations. I have a feeling that one of the main reasons I was having the sound issues I was having was because they didn’t fit my ears just right. Everyone’s ears are different so you need to be sure and pick earbuds that are a good fit for you. The headphones are currently being offered for around $38 (USD), but are expected to be $10-15 in the near future. Even though this wasn’t my favorite Veho experience, I plan on giving them another try with their next big release.
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