I felt I had to write this as a product review, of sorts, but only because I am a bit frustrated by companies that have a great product but that fail to test under user-controlled conditions.
In other words, it’s the typical engineering design, designed by engineers on “paper”, (or with CAD-CAM software), who are done a disservice by those who are next in line in the product design and product marketing chain. You may recall the consumer-level automobile of decades ago that looked and performed like a half-million-dollar racing car. The point is, it was for the likes of you and me: affordable and gorgeous. But a simple change of spark plugs required the entire engine to be removed. How dumb is that? A precision-engineered machine lacking practicality. Go figure. This example stuck in my mind and is my measuring stick, of sorts, when handling other products.
The point is, a company that doesn’t go far enough in studying the real-world usage of its product by real-world consumers will not only disappoint consumers, but will also really, really piss off consumers…and lose market share, profitability, brand recognition, etc. What’s the solution?
WAKE UP and test a product with typical consumers under real-world conditions. Then send your product back to the drawing board, or add a step or two in the manufacturing process to tweak a passable product into the greatness it deserves.
Recently, I had another experience that made me realize a great product was made an irritation, and annoyance, and even made me angry enough to write this NUGGET. This time, it was a set of EARBUDS.
Over the years, I have worn through a number of different brands of ear buds, each with one defective quality after another. If the armature fits comfortably, the buds don’t stay in. If the buds stay in the armature is uncomfortable or too flimsy. The list is crazy when you consider there are supposed to be engineers/designers at the originator’s end…all of whom deserve to be fired.
Well, I recently bought a set of earbuds from AMAZON and, at first, I loved them. They were a “wow” on my scale. They are comfortable, light, the armature fits well, the buds soft and fit snugly and STAY IN the ear channel like you’d expect, sound quality is amazing. BUT, yes, there is a “but”!!
If you snag the wire or pull the earbuds off your ear too quickly and too roughly, the earbud housing will pop apart. That’s exactly what happened to me, or should I say, by me.
During one of my runs, I happened to accidentally snag the cord with my left thumb and as my arm made the back stroke I yanked the ear bud from my ear. It all happened as quickly as a trained boxer throwing a left jab! My left earbud had half a housing and the wire was dangling. No armature. I stopped my run and walked back hoping to find the pieces. I found the armature laying beside the running path, but could not locate the housing cover. When I got home, because I did like the comfort of these earbuds, I tried to effect my own repair, as you can see in photo #2 below. I succeeded. Though it does look like an obvious do-it-yourself patch job. In repair the one unit, I realized that in due course, I will likely snag the wire again in the future, but that it might be the other earbud that may get destroyed when that happens.
While repairing the damaged earbud housing I decided to put a spot of adhesive (glue) in the other, the good earbud housing as a prophylactic, (preventative).
The spot of adhesive in both earbud housings is something the manufacturer should have done during the assembly process.
In the photos below, I filled the housing with a 2-part epoxy adhesive that hardens, since I could not locate the housing cover. For the remaining healthy earbud housing, I simply pried open the good housing and squirted in some 2-part epoxy. Likely any PLASTIC compatible adhesive will also work well.
PREVENTABLE POOR QUALITY:
Adding a spot of adhesive could have been done by this manufacturer, and should have been done, during the assembly process. Not all purchasers will be so inclined to do what I did to compensate for the manufacturer rushing the manufacturing process.
WOULD I RE-ORDER THIS PRODUCT?
Yes. And I did.
I ordered a couple more pairs for my travel kit and for one of my other devices. As I said, other than this one irritation of the lack of adhesive within the housing, these earbuds are the best I’ve experienced to date. However, THIS TIME, as soon as I receive my order, I plan to pry open the housings and stuff some adhesive in each housing to prevent the housings from popping apart in the event that I snag my thumb on the wire again causing the earbud to be yanked from my ear.