Review: JVC Gumy Eco-Friendly Earbuds

3 weeks ago Jack 0

JVC Gumy earbuds sell cheap. They’re so cheap and so common that it seemed like a good idea to give you all a detailed review of them and a comparison against other cheap headphones.

Specifications

I’ll just let you look at the pictures to see what’s up. They’re your pretty basic earbuds. For the sake of this review, “earbuds” means headphones that rest on the ridges of your ear to stay in place. That’s as opposed to “earphones” which usually have a silicone or foam tip and actually insert into your ear canal.

The model number is HA-F14-A.

Packaging

The packaging, for being an “eco-friendly” product is a little bit of a pain to open. It also doesn’t have a recycle-ability stamp on it. Thankfully it’s not a giant box with extra bags, parts, pieces, accessories, and manuals. It’s just a basic thin plastic half pill shape.

Build Quality

These feel early 2000’s cheap. The cord is extremely thin. So thin that I think I could easily tear these apart if I got them caught on something while walking around with moderate momentum. The earbuds themselves are rubberized and solid enough feeling. The cord’s tip is very thin, which means it should be compatible with headphone jacks in tight places or phone cases that can obstruct larger tips.  Early 2000’s cheap isn’t necessarily that bad; especially if you only paid $3.50 USD like I did.

Sound Quality

16-20K Hz? Yeah right. Look, all these audio products can tell you what the frequency response is, but not all of them can deliver that audio in a pleasing way to your ear drums. Bass on these doesn’t have the impact of earphones or larger headphones. That said, it’s not completely lacking either. I tried out a ton of music on these. Led Zeppelin, John Williams, Midichronica, Stan Kenton, and more. None of the music sounded satisfying or full. They earbuds got loud, sure, but the bass always sounded stifled. Mids and highs were there, and sounded pretty crisp. There just wasn’t a full enough sound to wow me.

It’s not a total loss. It’s not as if the sound coming from the Gumys sounds like a turn of the (last) century phonograph. It’s just that they will not satisfy audiophile type listeners; I’m certain of that. They are not the legendary headphones that give you $200 quality for a tiny fraction of the price. They’re cheap.

Conclusion

I don’t know that I would pass on these entirely. You might have a use for them if you normally listen to radio or need discrete earbuds that don’t kill outside sound. Maybe you just like the feel of earbuds over the in-ear earphones. Great, these might be worth a shot. Even at $3.50 though, the headphones disappointed me. That’s probably because I have several different types of headphones already and every single one of them has advantages over these *except* form factor. Maybe I’ll clean them off and give them away if a person doesn’t mind that they’ve been in my ear already. If you have even a little more to spend and are not tied to this style of listening device, go for something like the Koss KSC75‘s that I reviewed earlier. They don’t feel like they’re made with any more care or consideration for quality, but definitely pump out a more pleasing sound.

Unfortunately, Amazon doesn’t even sell the version I picked up anymore. I’ll link the slightly updated model. It looks like they replaced the speaker grill, but it’s roughly the same system otherwise. I’ll thinking about getting a review of that one up as well, but I really don’t expect it to perform much differently.