Most earbuds and headphones have a typical look to them. Earbuds are small, spherical gadgets that pop into your ears. Headphones cup your head from the outside. They're functional for listening to on-the-go audio, but they're also mostly forgettable.
Headphones and earbuds don't have to cling to their old, set-in-their-way looks. You can have fun and groove to your favorite tunes in style with a set of off-the-wall headphones. Come revel in the comical glow of LED-equipped cat ears and the high-tech ways of Apple's new Airpods, or bypass your ear canals all together with bone-conduction headphones.
Apple's much-hyped AirPods are the new standard for cutting-edge, high-priced wireless earphones. They’ve been teased for looking like little hair dryers and Apple fans have fretted about the potential for losing the untethered gadgets, but the AirPods are equipped with some desirable technology.
The new wireless earbuds are an advance over the ubiquitous (and now a bit old-fashioned-looking) white, wired EarPods earbuds that come with new iPhones. There's nothing connecting the two AirPods. They are completely wireless and let you activate the Siri voice assistant, listen to music, and make calls. What set them apart from other Bluetooth earphone offerings are the Apple branding, five hours of battery life (pretty good for a gadget this size), and an auto-pairing feature that hooks them up with your iPhone in no time.
Are AirPods for everyone? They’re mostly for dedicated Apple fans who don’t mind the $159 price tag and can handle the slightly odd look of having a little white tube protruding from each ear. If you’re worried about losing one, you can always buy a single replacement (but it will cost you). Click here to see just how much money Apple is charging for AirPod replacements.
AxentWear Cat Ear Headphones
Do you like cats? Take your love of your furry feline friends to a strange new level with AxentWear's Cat Ear Headphones. These are over-the-human-ear headphones with a goofy twist. The Cat Ear Headphones double as portable speakers so you can share your playlist full of Stray Cats rockabilly, John Cougar Mellencamp, and Cat Stevens songs out loud with your friends. The speakers are built into two prominent cat ears that extend from the top of the headband.
These oddball headphones started out as a crowdfunding project but caught on with major gadget retailer Brookstone. Besides the ears, the headphones also glow with your choice of blue, green, or purple LED lights. These aren't for people who like subtlety. You will definitely stand out in a crowd with your light-up cat ears.
Innohug Fake-fur Headphones
You like fuzzy things, but you're not ready to commit to light-up cat-ear headphones. Instead, consider cuddling your ears with InnoDevice’s wired Innohug back-of-the-neck headphones. These wrap around your neck to spare your hairdo, but the most notable feature is the luxurious fake fur that cradles your ears in warmth and softness. These are the headphones you'll want to break out on those crisp, cold winter days.
Aftershokz Trekz Titanium
Headphones can be a hazard when you're out walking or exercising on public streets. They cover your ears and muffle the sounds of cars, pedestrians, and bicyclists. You can have your music and still keep your ears open to the world around you with bone-conduction headphones. The Aftershokz Trekz Titanium wireless sport headphones touch your cheekbones right in front of your ears, conducting sound to your inner ears through mini vibrations.
You won't mistake these for studio-quality over-the-ear headphones, but they get the job done while leaving your hearing open to sense potential hazards like the jingle of a bike bell or a truck honking its horn. While Aftershokz offers a full line of ear gear, the Trekz Titanium versions are designed to go with an active lifestyle. They’re sweat-proof, lightweight, and include a noise-cancelling microphone for answering calls while on the go.
Some headphones are all about the novelty of the look. DCI's Shark Earbuds are a sight gag for your head. The tail of the shark comes out one ear and the head comes out the other, making it look like the shark's body extends in between your ears. It's part of DCI's line of novelty earbuds that includes sushi, hedgehog, cupcake, and cat-themed gadgets. It's supremely silly, but it brings some whimsical fun to the earbuds game.
Quirky Chinese online retailer Taobao caught the attention of fantasy fans with a set of elven earbuds that will make it look like you just stepped out of a scene from "Lord of the Rings." The Spirit E666 fit into your ears like regular earbuds, but they come with elf-shaped ear extensions. If your hair is long enough to cover your human ears, then your elf costume will be complete and you can listen to the "The Hobbit" soundtrack at the same time.