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Happy Plugs at CES 2015, Las Vegas

Similar in form to Apple’s earbuds pre-September 2012, Sweden-based Happy Plugs offers the in-ear built-in sound control experience in a huge range of colour options.

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The plugs offer both a mic and remote capability, which I tested on an iPhone 5s and a Blackberry 10. Both worked like a charm.

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I also tried them with a third gen iPad, and a couple of older iPods and an iPod shuffle (the latter two will play and pause via the button control on the cable but that’s about it).

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While the remote and mic functionality are supported by 4th and 5th generation iPod Nano, 120GB and 160GB iPod Classic, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4/5/5s/6 and iPad, the remote itself will only work with third generation (or later) iPod shuffle models.

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[What’s in the box]

How the cable mic button works
– One click answers or ends a call by pressing and releasing the center button
– Two clicks of the button skips to the next song
– Three clicks plays the previous track

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Press and hold the button to decline an incoming call; press and release to pause a song or video. The mic also allows switching between music and talking on the phone.

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I took my pretty tangerine-hued Happy Plugs out for a couple of power walks last week. After about 30 paces or so, one or both plugs started to fall out of my ear. I thought to myself, this can’t be a good sign as I’m not even jogging here. No matter what position I tried with the plugs, the left or right plug would inevitably fall out.

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[The earbud party: Apple’s old vs. new earbud designs, compared to the Happy Plugs, with/without foam covers]

I solved this problem much in the same way I’d done in the past with Apple’s now-classic ear buds: the soft, padded foam covers that used to come with their products. Luckily I ordered a few while they were easy to come by and now it looks as though I’ll have to hunt more down if I’m to get more use out of the Happy Plugs. Putting the foam covers on did solve the problem without noticeable audio loss quality.

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As mentioned above, Apple revamped their earbud design in Fall 2012 to great success (I use mine daily on power walks), so I hope that Happy Plugs will either offer the foam pads (perhaps in complementary colours) in future releases, or hopefully users will have better luck than I did in keeping them lodged in their ears. I will continue to use these colourful buds either with the aforementioned foam covers or when watching video on my iPad.

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Happy Plugs’ Earbuds range in price from US $24.99 to $29.99 (gold-toned and printed versions), come in a dust-free plastic storage container, and include a one year warranty on the earphone’s external shell, internal components, cables and connector. If you’re ready to splash out, an 18-carat gold version goes for $14,500.

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There’s also an adapter in the box that supports the following smart phones:

– Nokia (N and E series)
– Sony Ericsson (X1 to X10 series)
– Samsung (S series)

I received a Happy Plugs set for the purpose of test-driving for this review.

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