Review: Lightning-Compatible Wired Earbuds

Now that Apple has discontinued the last iPhone with a headphone jack, the iPhone SE, it's time to consider third-party Lightning earbuds. The SOUNDOT AF1 FM Headset ($79.89) from Blackloud is a worthy competitor to Apple's cheap EarPods. The SOUNDOT AF1 work with their companion app to deliver two valuable features, namely an audio equalizer and control of a built-in FM receiver. Even when you are away from the internet, you can access music via radio.

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Lightning connection also delivers a purely digital audio signal, which is nice. The SOUNDOT AF1 also has an inline microphone and controls including a Siri multifunction button. It's only sold in one color combination, but it is an attractive metallic crimson and black. Keep in mind that since it uses the Lightning port for audio, you will need to charge your iPhone using a wireless charger, or a dual Lightning splitter, if you need to charge while listening.

Pros

  • Pure digital connection
  • FM radio and audio equalizer with companion app
  • Inline microphone and controls
  • Siri multifunction button

Cons

  • Lightning only
  • One color option

Final Verdict

If you are ready for in-ear Lightning-based headphones, the SOUNDOT AF1 FM Headset from Blackloud delivers FM radio as well.

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Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP, About.com, BestAppEver.com, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.