Let me first say that I refuse to pay more than $40 or so for earbuds so I've never tried the ***** buds like the Dr. Dre or the Bose offerings, but I have
tried just about every other earbud under 40 bucks.
With that being said, I have two words to describe the AQ's...
My biggest thing with an earbud is the fit. If they sound great but are uncomfortable and/or won't stay in my ear; what's the point? And these AQ's are crazy comfy. They're super lightweight and after I put them in, I couldn't even tell they were in my ears.
But do they stay in? That is a resounding "yes." I put them through an entire workout yesterday and didn't have to readjust them once. And yesterday's workout is the toughest one on my earbuds.
Now, the sound. I had high expectations from AQ because I have used their products in the past and they delivered with these. I'm no audiphile, but I know what sounds like ass and what sounds good. The bass is pronounced without muddling the vocals and the highs are crisp and clean. Easily the best sounding earbuds I have ever had. There is no way you could convince me that the Dre's or Bose's sound $150-200 better. Also, the noise reduction on them is fantastic. Keeps the BS out and the tunes in.
Other features... the cord is pretty long. May be good for those of you who need to run it to a backpack or something, but it got a little cumbersome just running into my pocket. They do have a wire clip though so you can clip it to your collar or wherever so the slack doesn't rip them out of your ears. That's a nice touch. They also come with a 2nd set of silicon ear pieces. Not sure if they're a different size or just spares, but that's nice to have. And shipping was fast. I paid on Monday morning and got them yesterday.
My one gripe (and I don't know if it's a gripe yet) is that the button on the mic wasn't operating my iPod shuffle. I just got the little shuffle and I don't know if it's even operated from the headphones and I haven't tried them on my iPhone yet, but if it doesn't work on my iPhone, I see no point in even having the button on there. [Edit: I tried them on my iPhone 4 and they operate the phone and iPod on the phone perfectly. So, apparently it's just my little shuffle that's gay]
In conclusion... I didn't think I would ever find a better earbud for the price than my JVC Marshmallows, but the AQ's have supplanted them. For $25 shipped. It's a no brainer.
Here's a in-ear pic to show how small they are and how well they fit.