I am a big fan of SoundMagic. They produce good sounding headphones and earphones that easily fit my budget. The ES18s in-ear earphones, is definitely not an exception.
The headphone comes with bonus items out of the box. You’ll get extra ear buds, faux-leather pouch and a splitter that you can use to make the earphones useful even on laptops/desktop computers with mic + headphone jack combo. Check out our unboxing video below.
The ES18s’ buds fit perfectly well in my ear. While I see the value of in-ear headphones, I always find it too unhygienic . It isn’t actually the type of peripheral, which I can easily share with my friends. But since its design is vital to its function – for sound isolation – it’s definitely forgivable. Also having the buds inserted to the ear for too long might bring be a bit uncomfortable for some people.
The earphone’s housing looks plastic, but its semi-dark chrome accent found just at the middle break the monotony of its design. Its strain relief, found just below the housing, is satisfactorily built. Such is essential especially if you’re after earphones that you want to use for a very long time. Break the strain relief then you’ll be off to shop for a new one.
Its cable, on the other hand, isn’t tangle free, but it’s made of almost the same material to that of the Apple Earpod – it’s more rubber than plastic, which is actually a good thing. Its microphone, with “plasticky” housing can be found 3 inches below the left earpiece, thus those who are used on Apple’s Earpod will need to adjust accordingly.
Perhaps, the best feature of this earphone is the inclusion of a compatibility switch found just above its gold-plated 3.5mm plug. This switch basically renders the headphone compatible to all smartphones. (This is a common concern to O+ users.) This is genius, and I believe that all earphone manufacturers should take cue from this best practice.
Sound and Microphone
Sound quality, reproduction, balance and precision are SoundMagic ES18s’ best attributes. For PhP795, the level of quality you get from the ES18s is far higher than its price. It produces excellent sound balance – bass sounds are thumpy but doesn’t overpower the treble ones. Whether you’re into listening Echosmith’s emo songs or Mike Stud’s bassy rap grooves, the ES18s is up to do its job to be your budget sound buddy.
Microphone sensitivity is outstanding too despite being 3-inches away from the earpiece, or about an inch away from my mouth. I didn’t have any issues when using the mic, and all my call recipients heard and understood everything I said.
What’s our verdict, then? It’s a resounding YES. There may be plenty of alternative mic + earphone combo out there like the Xiaomi Piston, but the experience I had with the ES18s is genuinely good and irreplaceable.
Giancarlo Viterbo is a Filipino Technology Journalist, blogger and Editor of gadgetpilipinas.net, He is also a Geek, Dad and a Husband. He knows a lot about washing the dishes, doing some errands and following instructions from his boss on his day job. Follow him on twitter: @gianviterbo and @gadgetpilipinas.