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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Maxell's HB202 Headphones--Inexpesive But Worth Spending More For Sonys

May 7, 2006 (Updated Jun 21, 2006)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:very inexpensive, very sturdy and portable

Cons:just wasn't there in the sound department, uncomfortable & poor fit

The Bottom Line: The Maxell HB202 headphones, while are cheap in price, are also cheap in quality. Probably for replacement only.

UPDATE 5-13-06: The rating has now degraded from 3 to 2 due to comfort and fit issues.

Right now I already own about four sets of headphones. The HS520 -- a fantasic set, and the HAX570 but their durability is terrible. I also own a set of RP240's from RCA. But I literally need this many. There's the computer (no I don't have computer speakers), a CD Player, a stereo, and an MP3 player. I also own a pair of MDREX51LP's which starts the review of the headphones. I lost the pads that go to each side of the earbud. So, I now have to pay about $13 (geez Sony) for another set of pads. With those headphones not able to be used, this means I had to go out and fish for another pair, this time, a cheaper set, maybe in the $5 range. I looked at Big Lots (thousands of knockoff electronics...gadget heaven...), and well, they were a little low in the headphones department only having brands you've never heard of. But, I did see Maxell's HB202 in-ear headphones. But these weren't earbuds, no, they had a band across the earbuds similar to Sony's MDRW08L headphones. They were only $3.99 so they probably would suck but I was only using them for 5 to 7 days (shipping...gah...) so if they did suck I could always just ditch them when the pads came. Maxell's HB202's didn't suck but they definitely aren't the best set around especially in the sound department.

Maxell HB202 Headphones

Like I said, these are very similar to Sony's MDRW08L headphones. They're like the old school style only they are earbuds and go into your ear. The package doesn't say anything about cord length but it's about 5 feet long which is great. You don't feel like your on a leash at the computer nor does it make it difficult to put your CD/MP3 player in your backpack and travel along. The mini plug is a standard L so it won't get torn up or anything. The band is adjustable and the top is made of some sort of plastic-rubber material because it bends.


Usually earbuds or in-ear models are always scattered in comfort. Some feel like they aren't even in and others feel like a skyscraper somehow got logged in. These headphones overall aren't comfortable. They set right on your earlobe with a lot of pressure. One good thing though is that they're very lightweight. It's also hard to "fit" the headphones to get the full sound and equal balance, usually I spend more time fiddling with the headphones than listening to music. They don't block out a whole lot of noise but then again don't be blasting these till the point where you can't hear anything.


Well, sound is one of the most important things of headphones. The thing about sound is that it all depends on what your listening to, on what, does it have an EQ, more and more. So, instead, I'll do a test on the most common genres on a flat EQ, 50% volume, and basic stuff.

Speech - Well, speech sounds very good on these headphones. The have a really sharp sound and a lot of treble power. They give out clear sound and would work perfect for audiobooks or talk shows.

Classical - These sounded really good with classical music with a lot of clarity and treble power. Nothing was overpowered or anything and sounded above average.

Rock - These sounded ok with alternative but the bass guitars sounded pretty flat and lifeless. The drums and vocals, however, sounded pretty good and clear.

Classic Rock - These sound pretty bad with classic rock. The bass was very flat and made the song as a whole lifeless.

Rap/Pop - Treble sound very good of course, but bass was only so-so. None of the production seemed lost but the beats sounded tinny.

Soft Pop - Some of it sounded pretty good but a lot of the more ballad stuff sounded pretty bad since a lot of the bass was lost.

After testing these headphones, I came to a conclusion that sound is just not a strong point of the headphones. While it says "Dynamic Performance" on the box, it should say dynamic fit, not performance as in sound. The clarity is there which makes it excellent for speech or rock, but a lot of the stuff that needed bass like rap, pop, soft pop, and mosst classic rock sounded terrible on these headphones. For $4 the sound is ok but if your planning on buying the HB202 headphones for sound, I'd much rather go to Sony's more expensive model, which is more designed towards sound quality. Also, if you're used to more expensive headphones, these will probably flat out suck since they really do lack bass.


The whole reason I put these together is for two reasons. One, after owning portable equipment for over five years now I realized that ifyou're planning on getting portability out of headphones, they have to be beat up. They have to get shoved into bags, beaten up, and really, headphones have a pretty hard life (tear). But, anyhow, you get my point how durability and portability are pretty similar aside from the spelling. These headphones seem very durable and could put up a beating. The cord is really covered and strong, the earbuds probably won't even be thrown around, and the headband is bendable so there is more life to the headphones. And since they bend and are pretty small to begin with, they sure are portable.


Well, here is the best thing about these headphones. They are extremely cheap and sell really no where above $8 in any market. I found them at Big Lots (or the 50% off everything store) for $3.99 which is probably the cheapest price around for these.


Warranties are usually terrible with inexpensive headphoes and you usually pay more for the warranty than a new pair of headphones. Luckily, Maxell's 90-day warranty is free of charge for replacement and shipping costs. Flat out, if it's broken and you did nothing to cause it, within 90 days, they'll give you a new pair free of charge. Just keep the reciept handy and keep the warranty information (that ocmes in the package) in a safe place so you know how to mail it to them, and all of that good stuff.

The Bottom Line

Well, for $4 I'm not going to complain again and again they don't sound as good as $10 headphones because they shouldn't. But, they DO lack bass, but they'll do for a replacement until I get my pads back. They're very comfortable, cheap, and very strudy. As long as you don't really care for sound, these should be a pretty good pick.

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