To say that AirPod-like earbuds have reached commodity status is a massive understatement. I’ve written about more no-brand products than I can remember, many of them decent, a few excellent. Mostly it’s the pricing that amazes me. You can get something like the EarFun Free for just $40, and I’ve tried some perfectly good earbuds in the $25 to $30 range. (Read David Carnoy’s recent roundup of .)
But $14.49? Anything priced that low must sound like AM radio played in a tin can underwater, right? Amazingly, no, though you’ll want to read on to learn what you do sacrifice at that price. First, the deal: For a limited time, and while supplies last, Amazon seller TekTek has the when you clip the on-page $2-off coupon and then apply promo code 45FP35F1 at checkout.
The Tic earbuds employ a “pipe” design similar to AirPods, with noise-isolating ear tips similar to AirPods Pro. I found them surprisingly comfortable right out of the box, but your mileage may vary (meaning you might need to try different ear-tip sizes).
I’ll cut to the chase. These things sound pretty good. Like, curiously good. How! How can $14 earbuds not be terrible?! I don’t know, but I happily reach for these when I want to listen to music while working, play a podcast while walking or whatever.
Now for the bad news: The Tic earbuds are bad for phone calls. Although I could hear the caller just fine, I was told that my voice came through a metallic, echo-filled mess. I guess a crummy microphone is the price you pay for $14 earbuds.
What’s more, the earbuds have touch controls — double-tap to play or pause, press and hold to skip tracks and so on — but with a small target area. Unless your finger lands on just the right spot, you won’t get the desired function. This got frustrating pretty quickly, though with practice I did get better at hitting that spot.
If you don’t care about calls or controls, the Dudios Tic is a pretty amazing buy at this price. Is it worth paying more for features like a wireless charging case or ear detection? That’s for you to decide.
Get a 36-pack of alkaline batteries for $8.49
Voniko? Never heard of them. No matter: You can getwith promo code GQ6B5P7Q. (Make sure to choose “one-time purchase,” unless you think you might like to add these to your Subscribe & Save account.) That’s 50% off the regular price and one of the better battery deals I’ve seen.
Voniko promises a 10-year shelf life for these, same as you’d get from, say, AmazonBasics batteries (currently $11 for a 36-pack) or Duracells ($15 for 24).
Just as important, over 460 customers collectively rated these 4.6 stars out of 5 — and the majority of those ratings are legit, according to both Fakespot and ReviewMeta. So stock up for the apocalypse while the batteries are cheap.
CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter. Find more great buys on the CNET Deals page and check out our CNET Coupons page for the latest promo codes from Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon and more. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our .
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