The Gadget Girl: Ear Buds
Are they earbuds for your MP3 - or earrings for your QT? A little bit of both, maybe! For head-pleasing sound and head-turning style, there's the new Active Crystals collection from Philips and crystal artisans Swarovski (active-crystals.com). Shown above left, the Mirage ($128) is a cushioned, earhook-style 'phone with fully faceted, oval-cut Silver Shade crystals. The hooks are made of flexible, transparent silicon, and the cable is high-quality fabric. Also available are three in-ear designs: the Amazone ($148), the Space ($99), and the Icon ($79).
Meanwhile, the in-ear HA-FX66 from JVC (above center, $30; jvc.com) tackles that annoying problem many of us have - earbuds falling out - by using a soft-silicon-rubber aircushion for the earpiece body. These 'phones come with three different-size earpieces (and one memory foam earpiece) for the best possible fit. That, in turn, provides isolation from background noise, so you can get the most from each earbud's 8.5-mm neodymium driver.
If you prefer a device that does double duty, the Plantronics Voyager 855 Bluetooth headset (above right, $150; plantronics.com) is ideal as a pair of stereo earphones for listening to music and as a hands-free mono headset for cellphone calls. The Voyager has a slide-to-talk boom to control calls. When you slide the boom open, your music pauses and the caller is instantly connected. When you slide it back, the call ends and the music resumes. AudioIQ technology enhances sound quality on both sides of a call. Then, simply plug in the second bud's cable, and you're ready for music.