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Do you remember the good old days when you purchased a phone, opened the box, and found a pair of headphones inside? That used to be a common commodity, but the argument could be made that they weren’t really worth the purchase. Out of all the phones that I used to buy that had headphones inside the box, way back when, I don’t think I ever used any of them. They just weren’t good enough, basically. Whether they were uncomfortable or offered poor sound quality, I generally kept with the headphones I was using, and bought separately from the phone proper.

But while finding headphones in a phone box isn’t as common as it used to be, there are still high-profile devices out there that do ship with headphones in the box. We all know by now that Apple includes a pair of their $30 (at most retailers, anyway) earbuds with their iPhone 5, and that’s something they’ve done from the very beginning. (Hopefully it’s something they don’t stop doing, either.)

Other than Apple, though, finding headphones in a smartphone box is pretty hard these days. Not counting the iPhone, the last time I bought a phone and found a pair of headphones in the box was the HTC Rezound. Considering the marketing behind the Rezound, and its major focus on Beats Audio, it would make sense that the phone come bundled with a pair of in-ear Beats headphones.

I used those headphones while I had the Rezound, but other than the functionality of the headphones themselves, I didn’t get to really enjoy the Beats Audio technology inside the phone, thanks to its gimmicky nature right at its launch. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t end up going back to my Apple earbuds, just as I usually always do.

The thing is, I have a pair of Beats Studio headphones, which I use often enough. I know that Beats aren’t all they are cracked up to be in the sound quality department, but it’s the fact that they do a good job of canceling out the ambient sound when I’m in a crowded place. When I’m using those over-the-ear headphones, I don’t have to blast music like I do when I’m using Apple’s earbuds to make sure I’m not distracted by the sounds around me. Or people trying to talk to me.

This is something that I’ve noticed has changed over the years. A few years ago I remember when I could be anywhere with in-ear headphones equipped, and no one would bother me. Not even people I knew. Or they’d get my attention first, so I removed one of the buds from my ear and they knew I could hear them. But now that over-the-ear headphones are becoming more popular again (just go into a Best Buy and look at their selection now, it’s getting pretty big), I have so many instances of people just talking to me expecting me to be able to hear them.

Folks, I can’t hear you. Sorry.

I use my headphones in a situational fashion. Depending on where I’m going, I bring the right pair of headphones. If I’m just going out real quick, or to a store or something, the earbuds go with me. They’re comfortable enough, and they are easy to put in and take out, just in case. But if I’m heading out to find a table and write, then it’s my Beats over-the-ear headphones, that way everyone knows, without a doubt, that I don’t even kind of want to get interrupted by random conversation.

Unfortunately, the Beats headphones are starting to get a little uncomfortable if I wear them for an extended period of time. And when I’m writing, it’s usually an extended period of time, so I am looking for something new. I go into electronics retailers looking for new headphones, and when I get a new phone I check to see if there are a pair in the box, but so far nothing has stuck with me.

So I’m reaching out to you, Dear Reader. What headphones do you use with your phone? Did you recently purchase a phone that came with a pair? Do you use them? If so, which phone was it, and how do you like them? Or do you use a pair of headphones you bought independently of a phone purchase, which you use with your phone right now? Let me know what they are and how you like them.

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