Have you made the leap to Apple's AirPods yet? If not, you're probably still using that standard pair of Lightning EarPods that comes with the latest iPhones. Or if you don't like EarPods because they fall out of your ears or are just plain uncomfortable, maybe you're using Apple's In-Ear Headphones with Remote and Mic with the 3.5mm to Lightning adapter. Today we're looking at a pair of third-party Lightning Earbuds that are less expensive than Apple's In-Ear Headphones -- the $69.99 dodocool Lightning Earbuds (Amazon affiliate link). Sadly, that's about all they have going for them.
There's only so much you can do with a wired pair of earphones; they all have a connector (MFi-certified Lightning in this case), some sort of earbuds (with three silicone earplugs for proper fit), and in the case of earphones like this that can be used for phone calls, a remote.
The dodocool earbuds come in a choice of colors -- silver, gold, space gray and rose gold -- with both the buds and the remote matching your iPhone. The remote is larger and easier to control than Apple's tiny "bump", and has four buttons -- volume up/next track, volume down/previous track, start/pause play, and bass boost.
There's also a smaller bump on the right earbud wire -- that's the microphone for your phone calls or Siri commands. A single button gives the command to pause/restart music, answer or hang up a call, or (with a push and hold) summon Siri.
The dodocool earbuds come with a Hi-Res Audio certification; that basically says that they're capable of handling a 44.1 kHz or higher sample rate and/or a 16-bit or more bit depth. As the Wikipedia article about Hi-Res Audio notes, there's no proof that there's any noticeable difference to the sound quality.
So what about the sound quality? I frankly found the audio from these headphones to be mediocre and quite muddy sounding; I tried a number of recordings from different genres and none of them sounded that great to my ears. The only case where music sounded "good" was when I cranked up the volume to a high level, and since I suffer from tinnitus I didn't really want to do that.
Regardless of the specs showing a 48 kHz sampling rate (a dismal 8.8% over the minimum to get the Hi-Res Audio logo) and the 24-bit bit rate, the sound was just lousy...and I've tried a lot of earbuds, earphones, headphones and wireless headsets.
When I plugged in the dodocool earbuds for the first time, it said that I needed to install an app and offered a button to take me to the App Store. Sure enough, the small owner's manual that came with the earbuds tells users to "Ignore" that warning, so obviously it's not for an app that magically makes the sound quality better.
About the only thing good I can say about the dodocool earbuds is that they felt good in my ears for the duration of my sound testing. That's not something that's a given with earbuds, and it's obvious that the manufacturer put some thought into making the earbuds comfortable.
Don't be taken in by the "Hi-Res Audio" claim; these earbuds aren't that great. You'll get much better sound quality out of those stock Apple EarPods that cost $40 less.