Published on October 5th, 2012 | by Greg0
Quarkie Earbuds: Odd Looks, Surprising Sound
We test out a lot of audio gear, and we’ve seen earbuds and earphones and headphones and over-ear studio monitors of every shape and size. They can be wireless or offer carbon fiber, use single or multiple drivers, and some even wrap around your ear instead of simply fitting in snugly. There have been bone conduction models, and noise-cancelling ones, and they have ranged in price from $2 to $2000 (yes, really).
The Quarkie Gemstone Earbuds still managed to be unique. The appearance is the most distinctive bit, and you’ll either love it or hate it- most of our staff weren’t fans. But teens will probably enjoy the style, or variety of styles. Ours were perhaps the most “boring” of the bunch, a purple gem, but five others are also available- including one for the person who has always wanted a small snake’s head sticking out of their ears, and another that looks like you’ve inserted a bolt into your ear canal. The other three are eyes: cat, snake, or chameleon. And they’re certainly eye-catching.
Plus, the decorative elements offer quite a bit of room to hide what are pretty large drivers, 13.5mm. While you shouldn’t really buy these for the sound, we’re happy to report that they are much better than stock earbuds. Four eartips are included so they should fit just about anyone, and there is a built-in mic and remote. We weren’t thrilled by call performance or the fairly small control button, but music rated a solid B- no over-done bass, reasonable highs even at decent volumes, no audible noise. The cable is cloth-wrapped, which was nice and pretty quiet even while moving around, and isolation better than many earbuds at this price range.
Quarkie is certainly quirky- but we can respect a company willing to step out of the box a bit and offer something new. Their style certainly is not for everyone- but if you like it in pictures, you’ll almost certainly be satisfied by them in real life. $100, available online now.