Our case-making friends over at id America are at it again with their newly released the newMetropolitan in-ear headphones, and we are very excited to give them a thorough review. What’s great about these headphones is they won’t burn a hole in your pocket. Coming in at under $30, they are just as affordable as the iPhone cases we all spend money on. We had our hands on some of id America's other offering, namely the company's Spark in-ear headphones which we found to be good enough to recommend. So naturally were hoping the low price point of the Metropolitan won’t come with lower build and sound quality. Let’s jump right into the review and give you all a break down of the features, build quality, and sound to see if id America has another winner on their hands.
You always have to appreciate it when a company makes the packaging just as appealing as the product itself. Well id America does it again with fancy packaging that would attract people of all ages. In short, you're getting a set of light-weight aluminum headphones that supposedly offer comfort with quality audio performance. We are sure to find out if all these features hold true. Opening the box showcases the aluminum headphones and I must say the red color really pops. I knew right away they would look lovely with a white iPhone.
What made the Metropolitan stand out from other headphones I’ve reviewed, for example the NuForce NE-700M in-ears, was id America including a set of memory foam ear tips as one of their selling features. Also included with the headphones are your average S,M,L rubber ear tips and a simple but functional carrying pouch.
For headphones that come in under $30, the Metropolitans sure do pack a nice punch in the features department. For starters, they are the first headphones to my knowledge to come with a set of memory foam ear tips and they sure to make a difference. I’ve been a huge supporter of Comply ear tips because they really do hold sound in that much better. You're not hearing all your music until you use a set of these tips. One feature I enjoy on all headphones and nice to see id America incorporate is the L-shaped 3.5mm plug. Ever since I witnessed a disaster with straight in-line plugs all my headphone purchases have been L-shaped for safety first.
The built-in remote/mic is a common feature these days with all phones compatible with the iPhone. One press for play/pause or answer/end a phone call, two press to skip to the next song, and a 3 press for returning to the previous song. All functioned just perfectly fine with every press and actually better than the more expensive Nu-Force earphones we recently reviewed. It was disappointing to see no volume buttons featured on the remote/mic, but for the reasonable price of the Metropolitans, we were willing to look past that fact.
For a set of aluminum headphones these sure do feel very lightweight, but doesn’t have a cheap feel to them. I’m sure it’s the thinnest of thin aluminum used to make these in-ears, but the build quality felt outstanding and after a full two weeks of usage I saw no sign of wear. The Metropolitans doesn’t use your typical rubber length cord but instead opt for thick string material. Coming in at just under 4ft in length, the string/rope material got tangled way too easily and was very irritating to use in a gym environment. The gold-plated plug and the actual drivers seems very well built and overall way above average.
When it comes to comfort for in-ear style headphones, it truly comes down to personal preference in my opinion. Most people who are use to this style of headphones will find the Metropolitans to be extremely comfortable to wear. I’m pretty sure the memory form tips played a major part because I was able to wear the headphones for about two consecutive hours in the gym without my ears getting soar. The roped cord material did not weight down the earbuds while running or biking and would say the overall comfort was very satisfying throughout the review.
So far my initial impression, build quality, and the comfort of the Metropolitans would make these a no brainer purchase. But what about the sound quality? You can market these headphones with all the features in the world but if they sound awful, why would you want them?
Initial tests of the 10mm drivers were surprisingly sounding just right. Again, this was the initial test drive of the headphones and would have to listen for a few days to give an honest opinion. I wasn’t expecting much for a set of headphones that cost just under $30. We found the Spark headphones from id America to have an overall rich sounding experience so we were hoping the Metropolitans weren’t just a waste of everyone's time. I was hoping that it wasn’t just the memory form tips that made the Metropolitans to experience some quality sound.
After about a full week of testing and burning in the drivers a little, my original opinion didn’t change much. Even with the alternate rubber tips the drivers delivered crisp highs, full mids, and easily heard lows throughout multiple genre groups tested. From 2 Chainz to 3 Doors Down (yes I went there) the headphones handled everything I threw at it like a charm. The only downside to the headphones was some heavy bass every now and then. Also sometimes tracks sounded too distorted and also uneven against the treble. At the same price, we have found that Apple's EarPods perform better overall - albeit they don't block out external noise nor will they fit as well as the Metropolitan do. In all fairness however and not to sound negative, the headphones were definitely quality enough to use for everyday iPod music or podcasts.
For headphones that include a set of memory foam tips, has suitable build quality and has long lasting comfort, we were quite satisfied with the overall quality of these headphones. The included remote/mic is effortless to press but also lacks basic features like volume controls; fortunately the metallic aluminum design is favorable. The Metropolitans come in a vast variety of colors such as funky Lime Green or a classic Jet Black. Let’s not be mistaken here however, the Metropolitans won’t be replacing your Sennheiser and Shure headphones, but if I was on a strict budget I wouldn't hesitate on purchasing them. If you're in the market for a “throw in a bag” pair of in-ear headphones or possibly a spare travel set, you should definitely take a look at the new Metropolitan. The best part? They cost less than most iPhone cases we have reviewed. But we also think you shouldn't be quick to rule out Apple's $30 EarPods if you can live without thumping bass and sound isolation.