Not everyone likes sticking things in their ears, and this can produce a portable headphone quandary. How do you listen to tunes on the move without having to compromise your luggage space or fashion sense with a pair of massive, over-the-ear cans? The answer: get a pair of Grado iGrados.

Yes, they do go over your ear, but they’re very compact compared to standard hi-fi designs, and the black or white finish means they’ll stylishly match your sparkly new iPhone. They also have a flexible band that runs over the top of the ear and around the back of your neck for decent support and stability.

Sound as a pound

The main advantage of going for the iGrados over a pair of in-ears at this price, though, is that they sound miles better. For a start you’ve got spaciousness that ear buds just can’t match, and the clarity and detail the iGrados offer is downright exceptional for the cash.

They’re also tonally well-balanced, so neither the high-pitched treble or pumping bass detracts from the vocals in, say, Radiohead’s Reckoner. Simply put; no other headphones get close to the iGrados’ performance at less than £50.

Springing a leak

Naturally, there are a couple of things to bear in mind if you like the sound of this glowing tribute. Firstly, they leak noise like the Titanic leaks water, and we’re not going to take the blame when your next-door neighbour on the tube takes exception to your taste in music.

They’re also less than flattering towards poor-quality tunes, so that 128kbps copy of the Ting Tings album (shame on you) is going to sound just a bit harsh.

Show some respect to your tunes and fellow commuters though, and you’ll have yourself a truly brilliant audio performance for about the price of a round of drinks at a gig. That earns the iGrados a place in our top ten best headphones list – whether the guy next to you on the bus agrees is a whole other matter. 

Stuff says... 

Grado iGrado review

You don’t have to spend the earth for impressive portable sounds; you just have to get some iGrados

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