They sound great, but didn't last as long as I'd hoped,
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This review is from: Etymotic HF3 Black Earphones with Mic - iPod, iPhone and iPad control functionality (Electronics)
The main purpose of this review is to give people an idea of the long term robustness of these headphones. Mine have just gone past the two year mark (purchased 5th Jan 2011 through Amazon) and have reached the end of their life.
The headphones have failed on two counts: firstly, the wire has split in three places, and secondly, the right earbud now makes a rattling sound pretty much permanently. The two things may be related, but it's obviously the rattling sound that has lead to the 'phones now being unusable.
If I had abused these headphones, I wouldn't be posting a three-star review, but I have been *extremely* careful with them at all times (>£100 is a lot of money for headphones). I have always kept them in their pouch when not in use, and have never tugged or twisted the wires; never wound them round my phone and chucked it in a bag, etc. In fact, it's because I've been so extra careful with these things that I felt compelled to write a review. For the wire to split even with such careful use I think is an indication that it's too fragile. Whether or not this 'splitting' has anything to do with the degradation in the sound quality, I'm not 100% sure, but it's likely.
I don't know, maybe I'm being overly harsh. Is two years a reasonable life expectancy for a product of this type at this price point? I wouldn't have thought so, and as such I'm slightly disappointed.
When they worked, I found the sound quality to be absolutely superb. 5 stars there, no doubt. In ear headphones are a very personal thing, but I found that these fitted very comfortable also.
But I do think that a life of just two years with careful use means they're not well built enough.
(To be fair to Etymotic, they offer a two year warranty, which is reasonable. I'm just outside it, and I have not investigated whether Etymotic would honour it. They may well do. I know other companies that have in cases where things have failed so close to the end of the warranty period.)