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Music is what keeps most of us pumped up during our morning runs and firing on all cylinders during our gym workouts. From jazz to rock, hip hop, R and B’s, you probably have all your tunes sorted out on your Android phone or portable music player.
However, to truly enjoy whatever you’re listening to, you need good earphones, preferably in-ear earpieces that completely surround you with the music you like. Unfortunately not all of us have big budgets for these accessories, so in this article, we’ve put together a list of in-ear earpieces that you can get below $20 and still rock your tunes in style.
Xiaomi Piston 3
Xiaomi’s series of Piston earpieces started with the very first Piston 1 with the latest being the Piston 3. The Piston series is particularly known for offering a good sound quality while still featuring great builds. The latest iteration comes with the Piston 3 moniker and while it might have been overtaken by the new Hybrid in-earpiece, it remains good value for money, especially if you’re on a budget.
The Piston 3 has been subjected to over 800 reliability tests including drop tests and load bearing tests. It holds varying safety certification from the respective bodies which are: SGS, RoHS, REACH, and FCC. The Xiaomi Piston 3 also won the Reddot Design Award 2015 in Germany.
The earpiece has a great design like we said earlier and it’s angled at 70 degrees downwards, with a corresponding 120 degree upward form (Ergonomic form) that can fit comfortably in your ears without slipping off much.
The Piston 3 has a premium feel to it with its aluminium-plastic clad exterior and the earbuds are made of silicon. The coating used for the Piston 3 is corrosion resistant and does not peel easily.
The diaphragm of the Piston 3 is made of an aerospace-grade metal which helps to improve the voice quality and to preserve treble and bass so that you can easily alternate between these two sound ranges.
This accessory also boasts of USA Knowles’ microphone which means you can receive calls in clear quality with the Piston 3 without much distortion along with noise cancelation.
The controller contains the built-in microphone along with the volume rockers and another button used to answer and hang up calls. The earpiece cable is made of a durable break-resistant fiber material which protects the inner wires and it is also braided to prevent tangling.
The Piston 3 has a connecting interface of 3.5mm and a 20-20 KHz frequency response. It also has a power output of 5mW and it weighs in at 0.014kg with a package dimension of 3.14 x 3.14 x 1.38 inches with a cable length of 1.25m.
You get a nifty package containing three ear buds of different sizes (XS/S/L), the Piston 3 itself and a cable winder. This accessory supports most Android and iOS devices and its currently on GearBest for a fair price of $12.49. With a great build and an amazing sound quality, the Piston 3 is nothing short of excellent.
Xiaomi Piston 2
Second on our list is another Xiaomi product, the Piston 2 which is the predecessor of the Piston 3 above, and is a great quality earpiece with an amazing design and still holds its end well even though it’s over a year old now.
It has a frequency range of 20-20000Hz with a 5mW Max Practical Power and a max affordable Power of 20mW. It weighs in at 12g and it’s about 100cm long. We have a mic for handsfree voice calls and volume rockers nicely placed on the opposite side of the call and receive button.
Just like the Piston 3, the Piston 2 has an ergonomic form. The headphone is made of aluminum while the ear buds are made of a silicon material. The aluminum body helps suppress vibration when playing music and gives the earpiece an aesthetically pleasing look.
The controller also has the aluminum design alongside two black metal buttons which can be used for music control and call handling. The cable of the Piston 2 is covered in a Kevlar fiber material which helps with better resistance to pulls and folds.
The aluminum coating comes in two different colors, gold and silver. The rest of the earpiece (the cable and the buds) comes in black. The package contains the earpiece, a gift box and three pairs of replaceable ear buds.
The Piston 2 is compatible with most Android and iOS device and is available on Amazon for $18.88.
Xiaomi Piston 3 Youth Edition
Although not as great as the original Piston 3, the youth version of the aforementioned earpiece is especially meant for those looking for a cheaper alternative that doesn’t sacrifice on performance. The Piston 3 youth edition has the same metal Composite technology for the diaphragm used in the Xiaomi Piston 3.
It has a 3.5mm connecting interface and a 5mW power output along with a 20-20KHz frequency response. The earphone weighs in at 0.015kg and the cable length is 1.25m.
The package which contains the earphone and 6 Earbuds covers weighs in at0.150kg. It’s available on GearBest for $9.84.
Xiaomi Piston 3 Colorful Starter Edition
This earpiece basically has the same design as the Piston 3 but comes in different color options of white, blue and pink. It has the “Mi” logo imprinted at the back and it is made of aluminum and plastic as seen on the Xiaomi Piston 3.
It also has a Built-in microphone and a black capacitive button which can be used to play/pause media and can also be used to answer or hang up calls.
Included is a noise cancelation feature which helps reduce distortions and background noise when receiving calls and playing media.
The earpiece weighs in at 0.014kg with a length of 1.25m and a frequency response of 20-20Kz and a power output of 5mw.
The Xiaomi Piston 3 Colorful starter edition is available on GearBest for a cheaper price of $5.89.
If your preference is a Bluetooth earpiece, then you should check out the Roman S530. The Roman S530 comes with a CSR8635 Bluetooth version 4.0 chip which can sync with devices at a distance of up to 10m. The headphone also comes with a microphone which allows you to accept or reject calls directly from the earphones.
The sound quality of the Roman S530 is also great, with this Bluetooth earphone you can enjoy high-fidelity stereo music, clear conversations, and active noise cancelation.
This earphone has a double-earplug design which means it has two sides (left and right). On the right earphone, there is a control button which can be used for Bluetooth pairing and can also be used to receive calls.
On top of the right earphone, there is a volume button which can also be used to skip songs or to go to the previous track. It also has a hook which fits comfortable on your ears so that the earphone does not slip.
The device also comes with a Dual Micro USB cord to connect the two sides of the earphones together. It also has a Dual micro USB cable for charging the earphones.
The Bluetooth earpiece comes with a built-in rechargeable 120mAh battery which allows for 240 hours standby time 6.5 hours of talk time and 6 hours of media playback. It also takes about 3 hours to attain a full charge since both sides of the earphones have their respective battery cells.
Also, you can turn the double earphones to a single earphone anytime by simply pulling out the head from the hook and joining both sides of the earphone.
This Bluetooth device weighs in at 0.018kg and with the package a total of 0.080kg and dimensions of 20.0 x 13.0 x 6.0cm. The package contains the earphones, 2 ear hooks, a USB Cable, a micro USB cord, a warranty card and a user manual.
The Roman S530 comes in three color options which are Black, White, and Red. It is compatible with all Android and iOS devices alongside your PC too.
Buy the Roman S530 from GearBest now for only $13.99.
Cannice E1 Sports Wireless Earphone
If you work out often, you’d mostly require an in-ear earpiece that sit nicely in your ears and does not slip out easily. Although the aforementioned earpieces will do just fine, you want something built specifically for working out. The Cannice E1 is your goto headphone as it was specifically designed for such use case.
You get an exterior with a lot of similarities to the structure of a leaf and it fits comfortably in your ear.
The earphone is extremely lightweight– at just 0.025kg. It has a microphone which can be used to answer calls and it also supports Bluetooth v4.1 which means you can sync with other devices up to 10m away.
There are three buttons on top of the earphone which serve the respective purpose of play/pause, volume controls and call handling. The cable is all flat and designed to be tangle free to give you an optimal workout experience whenever you’re ready to hit the road.
This in-ear headphone also features 6th Generation CVC technology which makes it great for noise reduction and echo cancelation. You get great bass as well as good vocals.
The Cannice E1 has a rechargeable battery which allows for up to 9 hours of work time and 300 hours of standby time. It also has a Micro-USB port for charging and a CSR core audio chip onboard for an above average audio experience.
It comes in two color options of Black and white and in its package, you will find a pair of earphones, a USB Cable, 4 earbuds and 6 ear hooks.
The Cannice E1 is available on GearBest for $17.38.
Skull Style In-Ear Earphones
If you are looking for a design that is radically different from offerings of other earpieces then you might want to check out this Skull style Earphone.
The head of this earphone (the skull) comes in a Golden and black color combination while the ear buds and the cable are black in color.
The Skull Style earphone is quite heavy at 29g with a dimension of 47.24 x 0.59 x 0.87-inch which is not entirely surprising, considering the fact that it has a giant skull attached to it. Its cord length is 120cm with a 3.5mm connector.
The earpiece offers a great audio experience with a frequency response of 20-20000Hz and a sensitivity rate of up to 104dB alongside a 10mm driver (essentially a better sound – the bigger the driver unit, the better).
Unfortunately, this earphone does not have a microphone, which means you cannot use it for call handling. The design is great though and quite scary if I may add because I do not really fancy a giant skull design, but if you are into that sort of thing, head on to dx.com to get it with a price tag of $6.57.
Panasonic RP-TCM 125
Do you prefer something with a familiar name? Here we have Panasonic’s RP-TCM 125 with features that include a 9mm driver with a frequency range of 10Hz-24KHz. As you may know, a familiar name does not necessarily mean the best product; RP-TCM 125 excels at playing back a variety of music genres including pop, rock, classical and more but has a poor bass reproduction which can be a big let down for some.
This earphone did not make the first five on our list because its build quality is not nearly as good as the Piston 3 but, the sound quality fairly matches up to that of the youth piston 3.
The earphone is made of a plain plastic material which makes it look too cheap. The cable is also very thin and there is no slider to adjust how far the headphone split (left to right) goes.
However, it’s still a good value for money and on the plus side, it has an ergonomic form which makes it stay longer in your ears without slipping. It also has a 2.5mm L-shaped plug which means it can fit on a variety of phone or tablet jack.
The Panasonic RP-TCM 125 comes in a box along with 3 different ear bud sizes. It is compatible with most Android and iOS devices and it’s available on Amazon at a price of $10.90.
This is another great Bluetooth earphone with an affordable price tag. Among the features, the Bluedio Q5 has to offer is Bluetooth v4.1, a microphone to allow hands-free calls, and a built-in rechargeable battery which allows up to 7 hours of talk time and 220 hours of standby time.
The Bluedio Q5 weighs in 0.017kg with a dimension of 0.7 x 0.2 x 2.2 inches. The earphone comes in three different color options of Green, Blue, and Red.
The earphone is available on GearBest for only $12.26.
Cwxuan Mini Bluetooth v4.1
Though we’ve made mention of in-ear earpieces that you can use wirelessly, but if you that is completely wireless and you intend to use it for just calls (i.e without any wire hanging around), then you might like the Cwxuan Mini earpiece. Its features include Bluetooth v4.1, a microphone for answering and rejecting calls, and it can also redial your last called number and report when you have an incoming call.
The device comes with a 90mAh Built-in Li-Polymer battery which can be used for media playback of up to 3 hours and standby time of 100 hours.
The Cwxuan Bluetooth earphone weighs in at 5g with dimensions of 1.02 x 0.91 x 0.75 inches. The earphone comes in a brown box which also contains a Micro-USB charging cable and a user manual.
The outer covering is entirely made of plastic it’s available three color options which are White, Black and White and Red. The Cwxuan Mini Bluetooth earpiece supports all Android and iOS smartphones and tablets and it’s available on dx.com for $12.20.
However, it is mostly good for you if you simply need an earphone for calls and not for media consumption as there’s only one wireless earpiece unit.
Well, there you have it. All these earphones are pretty cool and have great sound quality if you’re on a budget you can’t go wrong with whatever earpiece you decide to go with here. Will you be getting anyone of these? Let us know in the comments section below.