Review: A day with Griffin's TuneBuds Mobile

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Griffin's $40 TuneBuds Mobile is a decent set with a useful value-add: a tiny microphone close to where the cord splits. The mic works only with the iPhone, iPod classic, second-generation iPod Touch, and 4th-gen iPod Nano, but owners of Apple gear have the choice of Griffin's own iTalk software, or that from other companies. The buds themselves (which work with anything) feel solid, though the rubber plugs make an odd squelching noise on insertion and isolate very well: it sounds almost as if your ears are wet. The cord is wrapped in a fabric sheath that gives them a pleasant feel and helps prevent them knotting. Three sets of plugs and a small carrying case are included. Audio quality was good. Tough bass-heavy and lacking the overall quality of top models, it's still much better than what you get for free with your iPod. If you'd prefer to keep your current set, the little microphone unit is also sold separately, as the $20 SmartTalk, Tunebuds Mobile [Griffin]

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10 Responses to Review: A day with Griffin's TuneBuds Mobile

  1. george57l says:

    Rob – your link still points to the $40 no-mic page. Hence the confusion above from 4649.

  2. george57l says:

    PS – and nowhere on the tunebudsmobile page is there any mention of noise-cancelling. At $40 I am not at all surprised!

  3. usonia says:

    I could be wrong (I’m usually wrong), but I think these are simply noise-isolating (ear plugging) buds. The microphone is just for talking (or whatever) rather than active noise canceling. That, at least, is what I gather from Griffin’s description. Still looks like a good product.

  4. Rob Beschizza says:

    Griffin described the microphone as noise-canceling in its press release. I’ve removed the reference from the article due to that likely being misleading.

  5. kerry says:

    @ Usonia –
    I think he means that the mic is noise-canceling, in that it won’t let background noise onto your conversation.
    I had these headphones for about 2 weeks before a wire at the plug went bad. Griffin offered a replacement, but I knew by the way they always bent at a hard right angle that the same thing would happen to the second set. Those vertical plugs are evil.
    I bought some $100 V-Modas to replace then, they lasted 2.5 months before a wire at the Y junction went bad, now I need to ship those back for a repair/replacement.

  6. caipirina says:

    Yep, I am also a tad confused .. under ‘noise canceling’ i understand that the mic is used to create counter wave to actual ambient sound, thus canceling it out (great for plane travel) .. I had some of those . the first back in 1999 for about 150$ and just 2 years ago for 50$ (broke quickly) … now if this 40$ unit delivers what I think Rob is telling us .. great .. but as someone said before .. teh actual griffin site does not promote this feature …

    any1 knows more ? I am about to check if apple store ginza has those

    (I also recall that these noise cancelers need their own set of batteries to create extra sound)

  7. 4649 says:

    They work only with the iPhone, iPod classic, second-generation iPod Touch, and 4th-gen iPod Nano, but…

    I read that in post above and asked my laptop, “WTF? How can a set of earphones work only with particular devices? Why would I enable such anti-consumer design by consuming it?” In disbelief, I followed the link above and found this:

    TuneBuds is a Universal product and has no special compatibility limitations.

    And now I’m just confused. I guess I must be misunderstanding the first of these two quotations, but can’t at all understand what its actual meaning might be.
    A little help?

  8. aharbert says:

    Following the link to Griffin’s website, I see the standard TuneBuds (without mic), which costs $30. TuneBuds Mobile (with mic) costs $40, but has a different link. Both look like good products.

  9. Rob Beschizza says:

    I’ve revised it to be clear on these points. It’s just the fancy recording features that are iPod-only.

  10. Rob Beschizza says:

    Oops. Fixed! Thank you.

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