The stock earbuds that come packaged with shiny new MP3 players don't do anyone any favours. After loading up your device with music, the next thing to do is replace the headphones. Of course, if you're not absurdly picky about audio quality, we can understand not wanting to spend much on a new pair. That's where options such as the sound-isolating Creative EP-630 earphones come in. For just £15, the EP-630s offer a more comfortable fit than stock earbuds and improved audio.
Touch of style
Unlike stock earbuds, the EP-630s also offer a modicum of style. You can select from five earpiece colours -- black, blue, green, pink or white -- all of which offer a slightly metallic sheen. They're constructed out of plastic rather than metal, which could be good or bad, depending on your preference. The plus side is that they're exceptionally light and thus tend to stay in place during activity. On the other hand, plastic earbuds feel cheaper and may not be as durable.
The EP-630s' cable, which is white, except in the case of the black model, raises some durability concerns as well. It's quite thin and there's no slider at the Y junction to help prevent tangles. The cord measures 1.2m and terminates in a gold-plated straight plug.
Creative includes three sizes of silicone eartips to help with the fit. The sleeves are quite soft, and we had no issues achieving a seal with our ears. Thanks to this and the small size of the earpieces, we found the EP-630s to be quite comfortable after more than an hour of wear, although this will no doubt vary from user to user.
As might be expected of earphones in this price range, the EP-630s are light on features. They offer a good amount of passive sound isolation, which is a welcome touch, but be forewarned that noise from the cable rubbing across the body is audible during quieter songs.
Solid sound quality
In general, though, audio doesn't suffer from any noticeable problems. Music comes through very clearly, with a reasonable, although not amazing, amount of high-end detail. Mids are quite forward and have a good warmth and richness, but aren't as buttery as those you can expect from high-end earbuds. Low-end response is the one thing lacking to our ears, but only somewhat -- certain tracks are better than others, with dance pop being an example of a genre that performs well. What bass you do get is pleasantly tight.
The Creative EP-630 earphones are a solid choice in their price range, but be wary of durability issues.
Additional editing by Charles Kloet