The first thing you're likely to do upon obtaining a new MP3 player is load it up with all your favourite music. Once that's done, the next best step is to replace the shoddy earbuds that came packaged with it. Of course, not everyone wants to drop a huge wad of cash on a new pair of headphones, which is where sets like the £6 JVC Gumy earphones come in. These standard plastic earbuds aren't as comfortable as their more expensive sibling, the JVC Marshmallows, nor do they offer the same impressive audio quality, but the Gumys do provide a stylish step-up from stock earbuds.
The Gumy earphones are designed in typical earbud fashion. The relatively small, round, plastic earpieces are hard and smooth and meant to rest just inside the outer ear. It's a one-size-fits-all design that won't actually fit everyone. While the Gumy earphones stayed pretty securely in our ears, the material and shape of the earbuds put some uncomfortable pressure on the cartilage of our ears after about an hour of wear.
For those interested in earphones with a hint of style, the Gumys should be suitable. They come in nine colours, ranging from the muted (black or white) to the fruity (green, purple, yellow, pink, blue, red, orange), which means you should be able to find a set to complement your MP3 player, no matter what its shade. The colour coat extends from the earbuds, which have a shiny accent, all the way down the 1m cord, which terminates in a gold-plated straight plug. Although the cable is quite thin at the Y junction, it includes a slider for preventing tangled cables, and the bottom section seems fairly durable.
Variable sound quality
Unlike the Marshmallows, which flat-out shocked us with their impressive sound quality, the Gumys offer audio that's more in line with their price point. Certain songs sound better than others, although we couldn't narrow it down to a specific genre: some pop or rock songs, such as Tears for Fears' Suffer the Children, had a noticeably hollow quality, while others, like Guns N' Roses' Mr Brownstone, sounded pretty clear and passable on the whole. The same goes for hip-hop, although, if you like plenty of bass, you'll be disappointed. These earphones offer no seal with the ear, so the low end is fairly non-existent.
The JVC Gumy earphones offer a slight improvement over stock earbuds in terms of style and audio quality. If you only have a few pounds to spare, they're a decent option.
Additional editing by Charles Kloet