SoundMagic’s E80D wired USB-C earphones are the EarPods of your dreams

When wireless earphones just won’t do, SoundMagic’s USB-C alternatives offer great sound at great value.

SoundMagic E80D wired USB-C hedaphones on grass and mosaic
(Image: © Gerald Lynch / Future)

iMore Verdict

With hi-res playback and the reassurance only a battery-less design can offer, SoundMagic’s budget-friendly wired E80D USB-C earphones pack a sonic punch far greater than their price tag.


  • +

    Great price

  • +

    Sound great with solid passive noise cancellation

  • +

    No charging required!


  • -

    Remote a little finicky

  • -

    One-size-to-fit-all dual flange tips

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Ah, the EarPods — they sounded rubbish, but there was something reassuring knowing that you’d get a pair of serviceable EarPods earphones with your iPhone or iPod purchases in days gone by. The death of the headphone jack in most mobile devices seemed to sign the death warrant for affordable, wired in-ear earphones, but the emergence of USB-C as a dominant, more-or-less device-agnostic connector has meant they’ve been able to make a niche comeback at the budget and high-end, high-res ends of the spectrum.

The SoundMagic E80D in-ear earphones are definitely priced at the budget end of the earphone spectrum, but have a pleasing sound and lightweight design that will make these a great backup pair — maybe even primary pair — or earphones for anyone tired of charging even the best AirPods out there.

SoundMagic E80D wired USB-C hedaphones on grass and mosaic

(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future)

Price and availability

Available now, the SoundMagic E80D are a steal at $45 / £40. You’d be hard-pressed to find a decent set of true wireless earbuds at that price, what with their added connectivity and battery costs. But all of the price here goes on comfort and sound quality, and as such, they represent great value.

What I Love

There are some obvious, simple things to love about going back to a pair of wired headphones. First, they obviously don’t need charging — plug-and-play simplicity is the order of the day here. They don’t need pairing either — provided your device has a USB-C port, you can be more or less certain it’ll be able to channel its audio through to the SoundMagic E80D earphones without faffing with settings menus. And with no batteries to house, they’re lightweight and comfortable to use over long periods of time, too — the SoundMagic E80D weighs just 16g, including its 1.2m cable.

SoundMagic E80D wired USB-C hedaphones on grass and mosaic

(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future)

SoundMagic made some smart design decisions with the E80D too. The cable and buds look very nice — there’s a transparent look to the cabling that lets you see the copper innards of the earphones, while the aluminum buds have a refined brushed-silver finish. The USB-C end is smartly stopped at a right angle too, making it a little less likely to catch or stick out of your pocket. A simple, slimline three-button remote (volume up, volume down, and a central play/pause button that can skip tracks with a double press), sits a few inches down the left bud’s cable.

You’ve got a selection of silicone ear tips to choose from across three sizes, and a single pair of double flanged tips too. The latter do a great job of passively blocking environmental noise (if not quite a match for active noise cancelation on, say, the AirPods Pro 2). A small, hard-shell carry case is provided too, good for stopping that cable tangling up in a rucksack.

Audio quality is of course the most important factor with any earphones though, and the E80D punch well above their weight in this respect. The E80D are making use of 10mm dynamic drivers, with a DAC cable of 24-bit/96Hz playback, good enough for hi-resolution tracks and better than you’re usually likely to get from Bluetooth buds in this price range. Bass has a presence, but these are relatively close to neutral in sound — there’s bottom-end when needed, but not such as to overwhelm the presentation. It’s a detailed and pleasant sound overall, well-balanced against any genre I threw at it. 

SoundMagic E80D wired USB-C hedaphones on grass and mosaic

(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future)

The distorted symphony of The Flaming Lips ‘Race for the Prize’, with its synth and harp layers doing battle against over-driven drums sounded sublime, picking out details and keeping a busy track’s instrumentation well separated.

But the low-end kick of Billie Eilish’s ‘bad guy’ landed with force, the walking bassline keeping its shape while Eilish’s whispered vocals sat comfortably and clearly at the fore.

For something a little more raucous, it’s over to Minneapolis’s The Replacements and ‘Favorite Thing’, charging through with trebly guitars and two-many-cigarettes vocals. There’s great presence to the drums, and the scattergun ending, with its blistering guitar runs, is given surprising room to breathe with the more-neutral tuning offered up by the E80D.

Rounding things off with Marika Hackman’s plaintive ‘Claude’s Girl’, the E80D keep vocals from becoming too sibilant, while displaying good dynamic clarity between quieter moments and those where harmonies fill the soundstage.  

What I Don’t Love

There are a few things I’d tweak, should the SoundMagic E80D ever get another revision.

There’s a fixed cable at play here — you can’t pop the buds off the end should you need to clean or replace them. It’s not a hugely common feature, but appreciated when present, if a little beyond the realm of budget earphones like these. More annoying is the placement of the remote — at just a few inches from the left bud they’re not placed in a natural spot for flicking through tracks or tweaking audio, causing you to raise your hand higher than you may be used to for remotes.

SoundMagic E80D wired USB-C hedaphones on grass and mosaic

(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future)

That remote itself is a bit fiddly. It’s very thin and small, and there isn’t a great deal of differentiation between its flush buttons, which can lead to unintended button presses.

You’ll only find one set of dual flange tips in the box too — the ones that offer the best passive noise cancelation. If they’re not a great size for your ears, you’re left with standard ear tips, which aren’t quite as good at blocking out external sound.

Finally, they’re a little quiet for my liking, no matter what device is driving them. That’s probably a good thing really in terms of hearing health. But sometimes you just want to crank up your angry playlist and rage at the world, right?

Should you buy the SoundMagic E80D?

Buy them if…

  • You long for the simplicity of wired headphones
  • You’re on a budget
  • You have a USB-C compatible iPhone, iPad, Mac or games console

Don’t buy them if…

  • Wires annoy you
  • You’re on an older non-USB-C device
  • You need active noise cancelling headphones for a noisy environment

SoundMagic E80D wired USB-C hedaphones on grass and mosaic

(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future)


Even if you’ve got a pair of AirPods handy, the SoundMagic E80D should have a place in your rucksack. They sound great, despite not breaking the bank, and should be compatible with many generations of devices to come, such is the popularity of USB-C. I’ll be recommending them to any pals after an affordable pair of wired headphones, happily joining the ranks of the best wired earphones.

Gerald Lynch
Editor in Chief

Gerald Lynch is the Editor-in-Chief of iMore, keeping careful watch over the site's editorial output and commercial campaigns, ensuring iMore delivers the in-depth, accurate and timely Apple content its readership deservedly expects. You'll never see him without his iPad Pro, and he loves gaming sessions with his buddies via Apple Arcade on his iPhone 15 Pro, but don't expect him to play with you at home unless your Apple TV is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system. 

Living in London in the UK, Gerald was previously Editor of Gizmodo UK, and Executive Editor of TechRadar, and has covered international trade shows including Apple's WWDC, MWC, CES and IFA. If it has an acronym and an app, he's probably been there, on the front lines reporting on the latest tech innovations. Gerald is also a contributing tech pundit for BBC Radio and has written for various other publications, including T3 magazine, GamesRadar,, Real Homes, MacFormat, music bible DIY, Tech Digest, TopTenReviews,, Brandish, Kotaku, Shiny Shiny and Lifehacker. Gerald is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press, and also holds a Guinness world record on Tetris. For real.