Pricewatch runs the rule over value for money earphones

From Jabra elite to Apple earphones and Dre Powerbeats – all you need to know

Jabra Elite sport earphones €259.99

These are undoubtedly a serious pair of ear buds – and not just because of the price which is, by any measure, hefty, although they were selling with a €30 discount in Argos last week.

First things first, the buds will give you almost five hours of listening without being returned to their case, and the charging feature gives you a further 10 hours worth of power, which means you could probably get an entire working week out of a single charge, and that is not too shabby.

We had a problem fitting them into our ears and getting them to stay there – although that could be a problem with our ears rather than the buds. When we did wedge them in the sound quality was excellent, not least because of the noise reduction which blocks out at least some of the background noise.

The case is super sleek and we reckon if we take care of these they will last years. Alternatively, we might just leave them on the bus.


Verdict: High end. High Price
Star rating: ★★★

Apple earphones €179

Apple is great at making its products talk to each other, and this is very evident here. The set-up was very simple and a one-time deal, and after it is done the first time the headphones and the phone-phone remember each other and synch automatically.

We like the fact that the phone screen tells us how the headphone battery is doing each time they are used. They fit snugly into the ears, and the sound quality – both when you are listening to music or to other people talking or doing the talking yourself – is excellent.

Apple promises five hours of listening time on one charge, while the charging case will give more than 24 hours of listening time A quick charge which promises three hours of listening time can be done in 15 minutes.

The case also has a natty magnetic element which means the headphones snap into place in a most pleasing fashion. They won’t be of much use to you if you don’t have an iPhone – obviously

Verdict: For Apple users, excellent
Star rating: ★★★★

Beats by Dre Powerbeats 3 earphones €179.99

The best thing about the old school Beats headphones – as far as we were able to establish – was the big B on the ears. That sort of gets lost when the earphones are shrunk to this size but the bright yellow colour might help clued-in people to recognise you’re a fan of this brand, if such things matter to you. They don’t matter to Pricewatch, and we couldn’t escape the feeling that one of the reasons we were being asked to pay so much for this brand was because of the name. The quality of the sound is good – as you might expect for something that costs this much and we liked the hooks that kept the earphones in place. You will get 12 hours of listening pleasure with these, and a fast charge can get you an hour in just five minutes.

Verdict: A bit dear for what you get
Star rating: ★★

JAM Transit earphones €23.99

If you are the kind of person – or consumer focussed page – that can’t be trusted with nice things then these might be for you. They were the cheapest earphone we were able to find, and while the sound quality and the packaging are not amazing and while the battery life – and its capacity to charge on the go – might let you down, they fitted snugly enough in our ears and the sound quality was grand.

Verdict: Pleasingly cheap
Star rating: ★★★★

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor and cohost of the In the News podcast