Maxell HB-202 In-Ear only Headphones - Silver Reviews
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Maxell HB-202 In-Ear only Headphones - Silver

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$2.99
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Take Your Music To The Max With Maxell’s HB-202 Vertical Headphones

Apr 15, 2004
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Sturdy little suckers, inexpensive, above average sound quality.

Cons:Not waterproof, band does not collapse, cord will eventually wear out.

The Bottom Line: Want to rock without having to roll out a ton of cash? Maxell’s HB-202 headphones are priced right for runners, gym rats and those who insist on listening to Yanni.





I will be the first to admit that I am hard on headphones; I go through a pair every few months and flat out refuse to spend a ton of money on them because I know that they are going to see a lot of use and will get destroyed when I am at the gym. The most I am willing to pay for a pair of headphones for working out is $12.99, spending any more than that is moronic since they come in contact with sweat, the music is played at loud levels and they are often times shoved into my knapsack when I am done. The overall sound quality is fairly important to me but I don’t expect to get dynamic sound from the cheaper headphones – as long as I can crank up my tunes and they last a few months, I’m pretty much satisfied with them. As luck would have it, I was in the right place at the right time and came across these on sale – it was a good thing too, the headphones I had at the time started to cut out on me and the sound was going down hill fast. For $4.99 I figured I’d give them a try since they looked identical to several Sony headsets I’d owned in the past and the price was pretty hard to ignore.

Maxell HB-202 Vertical Headphones

I wasn’t expecting to get a tremendous amount of sound from these since they were only five dollars. At best I had hoped that I’d get something that would last a week or so until I could find a suitable waterproof pair – do you have any idea what sweat does to headphones? It’s not pretty and after a while if there are any foam covers on the buds they start to smell … and trust me, it’s not a pleasant scent. The nice thing about this pair is the slanted sides, this means that you don’t have to fight to position them when you are sliding them into your ear, great for when you are wearing a baseball cap or have your hair in a scrunchie. Like almost all headband headphones, the top section is adjustable so unless you have a head like Barney or Charlie Brown, this will fit you comfortably and won’t slid out of place once you’ve placed them on your head. I can wear these for about two hours without any type of discomfort and since I am moving around it’s pretty important that the headband doesn’t slide around – something that this pair gets high marks for. The cord length is standard and the plug will accommodate most portable audio units. You won’t have to worry about these looking odd when you are wearing them, the all black color [with Braille side indicators] is pretty sharp but if you wear them outdoors the band can get a little hot from the sun.

If you’ve never worn vertical headphones or are used to ear buds, these are pretty comfortable compared to similar models from other companies. You can shove the ear piece into your ear canal without any discomfort but most people will tell you that the farther you shove it in your ear, the more damage you are doing to the drum if you play your music at a high volume. The rounded shape of the ear piece allows a small amount of outside sound to creep in but for the most part it blocks out sounds that are at normal listening levels [talking, typing, singing etc]. I know I am going to sound like a complete hypocrite here but you should use good judgment when wearing these – don’t play the music so loud that you can’t hear a car horn or someone shouting at you and with these it is pretty easy to do.

Overall Sound Quality

I listen to a wide variety of music but when I am at the gym I tend to listen to techno and hard core house when doing cardio workouts and when I am weight training – Type O Negative, Clutch, Nailbomb … you get the picture. These worked great with the metal and rock but strained slightly with the heavy bass of the house and techno. Crackling and hissing weren’t a problem but when I played anything above an 8, it started to sound a little tinny. My CD player has dynamic bass and when I cranked this up through the three levels, it handled the first two well but the third and highest level really shook these so I elected to stick with the lower levels than run the risk of blowing them out and being without a set at the gym. The headphone do block out a good bit of outside noise so using these while riding a bike or walking will require that you turn down the volume when you come to intersections or when in traffic. If I need to tell you that you shouldn’t wear these when driving then chances are you shouldn’t have a drivers license in the first place.

Things To Know

These come with a lifetime guarantee! Well, there are a few small catches. First off you need to have your proof of purchase [a dated store receipt] and the warranty leaflet. If the headphones are defective due to craftsmanship or parts while you own them Maxell will replace them at no charge. Since it will cost you at least three dollars to send them back, plus insurance and signature confirmation if you are so inclined, it really makes no sense to send them back since you will be paying more in postage than they are ultimately worth. In most cases defects will be apparent the first few times you use them and if they are indeed defective, you can return them to the store you purchased them from for an even exchange. If you are dealing with a store that charges a restocking fee and they try to zap you with it – tell them to sod off and give you a pair in exchange. Maxell is usually pretty good with handling customer complaints so if you are getting treated poorly when you make an exchange, call them and let them know what is going on.

The Bottom Line

For five bucks these are a great replacement set of headphones for personal use. There aren’t many frills or perks with them but what do you expect for that price? The suggested retail price of these runs anywhere from $4.99 to $7.99, paying any more than that for these is a rip off and if you are in a store that’s charging more than that, you may as well fork out a few more dollars for a better pair with a few perks to go alone with the price tag. These are also great for listening to audio books; in fact, they are better than the high priced fancy ones that I got for my birthday. Providing that you aren’t pumping a tremendous amount of bass through these, you do get a nice solid sound from them … and the price … don’t forget the price!


As always, thanks for the read!

~^V^~ Freak ~^V^~

© 2004 Freak369


Related reviews ….

Maxell Light Beats Headphones
Philips HS800 Lightweight Headphones
Memorex MPH4495 Phone
Sony MDR Vertical Headphones
Sony MDR Ear-bud Headphones
Sony MDR W20G Headphones





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