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  • Editors' Choice

Panasonic ErgoFit RP-TCM125 Review

White hot deal

$19.99 MSRP
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Say hello to the Panasonic RP-TCM125 (MSRP $19.99). They're the best bargain in-ears we've tested in months, and you can trade them for the price of a frayed green Jackson.

Are there more stylish in-ears on the market? You bet. Are there booming, bassier options? Certainly. For general, everyday use, though, the Panasonic RP-TCM125 are an absolute steal.

The Looks

Plain, simple, and cheap

The RP-TCM125 come in a variety of colors—blue, purple, white, black, and pink. Our test sample is the white version; they haunt your ears with ectoplasmic buds and a solid white cable. The product is sort of understated, as in-ears go: With enough hair, you could probably obscure the fact that you were even wearing them for the better part of an afternoon. You'll also probably forget they're there, as they're certainly comfortable enough.

There aren't a lot of complex parts to break or damage.

One pro of the simple design is that there aren't a lot of components to bang up or scratch. The neck split doesn't move at all, the in-line controller is shielded by hard plastic, and all three flex points have basic reinforcement. Plus, if these Panasonic buds ever do break, you'd only be out $20.

One disadvantage of the simple, cheap design is that it's... well, cheap. The cable feels flimsy, and tends to kink up and tangle. The white version of the RP-TCM125 also tends to show residual dirt and grime, for obvious reasons, but it's easy enough to clean. If you're looking for crazy special features, I must immediately remind you that these are $20, and you're lucky to be getting a single-button mic/remote for answering calls and pausing music.

Don't expect much in the package, either. You get small, medium, and large interchangeable speaker sleeves—and that's all, folks.

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The Sound

Surprisingly solid for the price

At this price, I was expecting shoddy design and awful sound—I'll be the first to admit I was straight-up wrong. For what you're paying, the RP-TCM125 provide an awesome listening experience.

For what you're paying, this is an awesome listening experience.

Fans of bass will be pleased. Despite their relatively tiny speakers, these little Panasonics provide healthy bass support—just shy of "overdoing it."

Mid- and high-range sounds, from the murmuring baritone of that Creed guy to Mariah Carey's piercing whistle tone, will be easy to hear—for better or worse. While these Panasonics' in-ear nature means overtone notes have less room to resonate, the meat of most instrumentation is all there. For $20, that's as good as it gets.

Actually, my bad, it gets better! You can expect a number of other advantages from the RP-TCM125, too. Whether you're riding the bus home or jockeying your desk at work, the folks around you will have no idea you're blasting some Slayer (at a reasonable volume!). These headphones do a good job keeping your music in your ears instead of in your neighbor's, and at safe listening volumes, they don't distort anything either.

If you have particularly sensitive ears, you might notice that the right channel is a touch louder than the left—but most people would only notice this if they were listening for it. As far as budget headphones go, these simple plugs from Panasonic do a lot of good for very little money.

Comparable Products

Before you buy the Panasonic ErgoFit RP-TCM125, take a look at these other headphones.

The Double Bar

Buy a pair or three

It's almost impossible not to recommend the Panasonic RP-TCM125 to listeners of every kind.

At such insanely low prices (MSRP $19.99, less online), these in-ears are as much of an investment as late night pizza with breadsticks. In fact, they're cheaper: I spotted them online for 12 bucks. For that price, you get great sound and performance—the only tradeoff is that the design is a little cheap.

Are you tired of snarky reviewers telling you to invest in costly, high-grade audiophile headphones? Well take heart, deal hunter. You really found a prize bargain beast this time: The Panasonic RP-TCM125 in-ears sound as good as headphones twice or even four times the price.

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