Name: Klipsch X10i Headphones
What they are: Lightweight, super-comfortable ear buds with an Apple Control remote that operates your iPod or iPhone from one of three buttons. The remote also has a microphone so you can easily switch to a phone call while listening to music.
The good: I tried the most expensive ear buds that Klipsch offers, and the sound was super-crisp, with deep bass that made even my ratty old MP3 player sound good. But the factor that most appealed to me is available on its cheapest pair: the custom-fitting, oval piece that fits perfectly in the ear canal. It forms a seal that not only enhances the sound from your phone or MP3 player (or pretty much anything with a headphone jack) but also blocks outside noise. So if your music shuts down while you doze on a long flight, you're still less likely to be bothered by that little scream machine sitting in front of you. I greatly value travel devices that perform multiple functions. With these, I no longer need carry earplugs, which I otherwise wouldn't dream of traveling without.
The bad: The price. Though the deluxe X10i buds are loaded with extras, such as the aluminum bodies finished in anodized copper, sophisticated remote, carrying case and cleaning tool, I think I'd opt for a less expensive pair of Klipsch buds with the same ear-sealing system. But hey, I'm cheap, and if I'm listening to music, the heck with the phone. Also, because the buds do fit so perfectly in the ear, beware of cranking volume too much. That can damage hearing.
Cost: $264 for the X10i models to as low as $40 for other Klipsch buds
Available from: Amazon.com has the $264 price; klipsch.com carries the suggested retail price of $350.