Here's the best compliment we have for the Sol Republic Shadow earbuds: Fifteen minutes into removing the wrap-around Bluetooth headphones, we thought we lost them. It took thirty seconds of frantic pocket-rifling for us to realize they were around our necks. Such is the novelty of the Shadow. Rather than creating another boring pair of buds, Sol reimagined the wireless headphone format, fusing two earbuds into a neoprene collar that rests on your neck without pinching, poking, or tangling. The buds are wired to the collar and easily fit into your ears; when not in use, they hang as inconspicuously as the tassel of a hoodie, making it simple to go about your business with the buds around your neck. Standard controls (volume, track-skipping, pairing, etc.) are built into the collar, as is the USB-input when it comes time to charge (they'll play for roughly eight hours). And the Shadow sound fantastic. I had a few listeners blind test them against two other wireless buds, one that cost $150 and another that cost $225. The testers thought the buds' rich, detailed sound, solid Bluetooth connection, and all-day comfort was either equal to or greater than the more expensive models. The Shadow might just be the best $100 headphones around. $99; solrepublic.com
Their around-the-neck design and detailed sound makes them a serious competitor.