5 of the best budget earphones

These buds may be low on cost but they're high on quality

SoundMagic E10 £35

The SoundMagic E10s have blasted in out of nowhere (well, China). Their stylish metal casing makes them look and feel valuable, and they sound rich too, with awesome punch, excellent balance from treble to bass, and loads of detail. They’d be good at twice the price.

Philips SHE3575 £20

The SHE3575s are the earphone equivalent of a packet of Skittles, partly because they’re so darn colourful, and partly because while you might think you’re too old for them, you’re bound to enjoy them. Sure, vocals can sound a little harsh, but for £20 these are more capable than they have any right to be.

Sennheiser CX 281 £40

The much-loved CX 300 II earphones are no more, but Sennheiser has a bunch of new, affordable in-ears, such as these lovely-looking CX 281s. Sound is very clear and smooth, although they lack some detail and drive – and you’ll need to run the cable over your ears to avoid hearing lots of rustling.

JVC HA-FXC51 £30

These JVCs look proper classy considering that they cost just £30. They’re fabulously comfortable and secure in your ears, too, and produce lovely, clear vocals and decent bass thunks. They’re a little excitable in the treble, which can be a tad irritating at times, but at this price they’re an absolute bargain.

Skullcandy 50/50 £50

Colourful and covered in skull logos, the styling of these Skullcandys is far from subtle, and neither is the sound: these buds batter you with heavy bass and hard treble, even when you’re trying to listen to something relaxing. It might sound like great fun at first, but no-one wants to be shouted at all the time.

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