Noise-isolating earphones - the type that sit inside your ear canal - aren't everybody's cup of tea.

On the one hand you have the massively superior sound quality when listening to music; on the other, the odd amplification of distracting sounds like the noise your teeth make when they touch.

Some people find the sensation too weird; for others, it's not an issue. We found the more we wore them, the more we got used to it.

Buddies with the iPhone

While these noise-isolating Vibe Duo earphones also work as a replacement set for your iPod, they're really aimed at iPhone users because they have the overlong 3.5mm connector you need if you're going to connect them to the iPhone's recessed earphone jack, and a built-in microphone for making phone calls.

Like Apple's offering, there's also a button to press on the cable to pause/play the current track, or press twice to skip to the next track, although this button is annoyingly small on the Vibe Duo, which means you can have trouble locating it by touch alone.

This pair came in black, which is handy since they don't advertise the fact that you've got an iPhone stashed in your pocket to all and sundry, which the white Apple ones do.

Some design niggles

The Vibe Duo's cable is made of a light canvas material, which is ideal because it pretty much eliminates the problem of cable tangle that afflicts Apple's earphones. A few shakes and the Vibe Duos usually untangle themselves.

Our only criticisms are the annoyingly small play/pause button, and that the volume feels too loud for comfort when somebody calls you on the iPhone while you're listening to music. When this happened, the Vibe Duo often had us reaching for the volume button.

Otherwise, the Vibe Duo is a valuable upgrade, offering superior sound and tangle-free cables compared to Apple's standard earphones.