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ATPM 14.04
April 2008




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Accessory Reviews

by Lee Bennett,

Newer Technology iPhone Accessories Roundup

Bass Response Earbuds


Developer: Newer Technology

Price: $20

Requirements: iPhone

Trial: None

In my experience, most any pair of ear canal headphones produces a somewhat muffled sound. Perhaps it is the shape of my ears that affects the sound, since these particular headphones are still reasonably popular.


Before I continue, allow me to lock down some terminology that relates the physical differences between two different styles of earbuds. Though Newer Technology (and other companies) refers to these headphones as “earbuds,” they’re really best referred to as “ear canal headphones.” Conversely, the term “earbuds” should refer to the type of headphones that rest just outside the ear canal, such as the kind Apple ships with iPods.

Sound quality aside, I generally find ear canal headphones to be more comfortable than traditional earbuds, and Newer Technology’s Bass Response headphones are no exception. Moreover, these ear canal headphones sound better to me than many others I’ve sampled. As the Bass Response name indicates, they have pretty good bass, while not muffling the higher tones to a horrible degree.

There’s a very specific reason I rate these headphones as Okay instead of Good or Very Nice. The Bass Response Earbuds that I received had three rings on the audio plug tip. The third ring is only supposed to be present if a microphone is in-line, but these headphones do not have a microphone. When an iPhone detects this third microphone ring, it automatically deactivates the internal microphone. Consequently, when using the Bass Response Earbuds, the plug must be removed when making or receiving a call, or the other person will not be able to hear.

If Newer Technology updates future production of the Bass Response Earbuds with a two-ring tip, then I might be inclined to recommend the product with a Very Nice rating. However, one other fact bothers me. These earbuds with no microphone are the same price as the version with a microphone (see below). So there’s absolutely no incentive to choose the non-microphone model.

Hands-free Mic and Earbuds


Developer: Newer Technology

Price: $20

Requirements: iPhone

Trial: None

The headphones portion of this product is identical to the Bass Response Earbuds (see above). Thus, my comments regarding sound quality would be repeated for the Hands-free Mic and Earbuds product.


Unlike the Bass Response Earbuds, though, this item does have an in-line microphone for use without unplugging the cord. Strangely, it sells for the exact same price as its microphone-deprived cousin. For this reason, there is absolutely no rationale for choosing the Bass Response Earbuds.

Those who are keen-eyed may notice that the photo on Newer Technology’s Web page for the Hands-free Mic and Earbuds shows only two rings on the tip and no apparent in-line microphone. My product photo (above) clearly shows that there is, in fact, a microphone as well as three rings on the tip. My guess is that Newer Technology’s product photo is mistakenly showing the no-microphone ear canal headphones. Furthermore, since this photo shows only two rings on the tip, I suspect it may simply be a manufacturing error that several, including the set I received, were mistakenly shipped with a three-ring tip.

The improper product photo notwithstanding, I was quite pleased with these headphones and have all but permanently put away my Apple earbuds.

Mic Extender Cable


Developer: Newer Technology

Price: $15

Requirements: iPhone

Trial: None

Any headphones or earbuds—with or without a microphone—can be used with Newer Technology’s Mic Extender Cable. An iPhone will utilize the cable’s microphone for calls regardless of whether a two- or three-ring tip is inserted into the female end.


I found nothing to warrant anything less than a top rating for the Mic Extender Cable. Various people I called reported that this cable’s microphone sounded better than the iPhone’s built-in mic. The toggle button to answer or disconnect calls is easy to find without looking, and the plastic clip for attaching the mic to a shirt hem is very well designed.

Headphone Jack Adapter


Developer: Newer Technology

Price: $8

Requirements: iPhone

Trial: None

I really wanted to give top rating to Newer Technology’s Headphone Jack Adapter. After all, it does the intended job very well. It’s also priced $2 less than Griffin Technology’s adapter and $3 less than Belkin’s.


Unfortunately, the aforementioned three-ring tip problem is also present in this adapter. If not for this issue, I would use my Bose QC2 headphones and this adapter to enjoy music on my iPhone. There’s no reason I shouldn’t be able to listen to a caller through my Bose cans while simply holding the iPhone up to my mouth so the caller can hear me. The Mic Extender Cable (see above) with its in-line microphone solves the problem.

In the likely few cases when someone owns a preferred set of headphones that does have an in-line microphone, Newer Technology’s adapter is the best choice, since it would carry the microphone’s signal through the third ring. Those individuals might feel this product deserves an Excellent rating.

I chose Very Nice because my impression is that most customers shopping for this type of adapter are using headphones without microphones. Thus, a two-ring adapter would be desired, such as any one of the aforementioned competitors’ products.

Auto Charger


Developer: Newer Technology

Price: $13

Requirements: iPhone

Trial: None

Newer Technology utilized a shaft design for the Auto Charger that is shorter than most vehicle power port devices. I like this design since it doesn’t protrude as far from the power port. However, three design aspects would cause me to shop for a different charger.


Most significantly, a considerable amount of force is required to insert and remove the charger’s plug—a lot more than other chargers I’ve used. This overly tight fit is not required for the plug to stay in place. It’s a good thing the end of the plug is flared so as to provide something to grip firmly while yanking it out of a power port. It’s very much needed.

I prefer some sort of visual indicator on any car charger device to show that power is flowing. Newer Technology’s Auto Charger has none. Such an indicator is helpful in determining whether a particular car still provides power while the key is out of the ignition.

Some people may like the all-in-one design, but for iPhones and iPods, a car charger that uses a standard USB cable attached to the charger plug makes a lot more sense. On more than one occasion, I have needed to charge and sync my iPhone at a remote location when I had my laptop with me, but no other cables. I simply absconded with the USB-style cable from another brand of car charger to do the job.

As far as vehicle power port chargers go, Newer Technology’s Auto Charger will do the job. Potential customers should be aware of these design issues, which can have an impact on its convenience and practicality.

Reader Comments (2)

Maggie Yu · May 21, 2009 - 23:12 EST #1
I took a chance and brought this Earbuds to use with my LG Dare. They work great. The only part that doesn't work is clicking twice to skip to the next song. Everything else works perfectly. Great headset with mic.
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · May 22, 2009 - 01:10 EST #2
Maggie - my suspicion is that the multi-click functionality is dependent on the device and not the earbuds. The device has to be programmed to interpret a double click and do something when it's detected. Obviously, iPods and iPhones do recognize a double, and even a triple, click.

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