Etymotic Research hf2 iPhone Stereo Headset - Etymotic Research hf2

By Riyad Emeran



  • Recommended by TR
Etymotic Research hf2 iPhone Stereo Headset


Our Score:


One thing that's very apparent with the hf2s is that a good seal is vital to achieving the best sound quality. Because these earphones favour high end clarity, if you don't have a good seal, you'll end up with pretty much no bass whatsoever, and a very harsh sound overall. Once again, I'd recommend using foam tips, and even though I doubt Etymotic will like me saying it, some Shure foams to really get the best out of these earphones.

Considering that the ER.4 microPros cost £190 when I reviewed them back in 2006, I fully expected the hf2s to come in at a similar price. Surprisingly though, the MSRP for the hf2s is £100, which probably means that you'll be able to pick them up a little cheaper than that online, once they hit the channel. You can pick up Shure's SE310s for around this price, and I'd say that they have the edge over the hf2s when it comes to sound quality. However the Shure's don't let you talk on your iPhone while it's in your pocket - unless you buy the MPA, and that's adding another £40 to the price.

The earphone upgrade market is becoming ever more crowded with quality products, but if you've just bought yourself a shiny new iPhone and don't already have a decent set, the Etymotic Reseach hf2s make a very good case for themselves.


If you're an iPhone user you won't need much convincing that the hf2s represent the perfect replacement for the awful set that comes in the box. The sound quality is a little light on bass, but impressive nonetheless, while the microphone makes taking calls a breeze, even in noisy environments. The ability to pause your music and skip tracks without taking your iPhone out of your pocket is also a bonus.

If you're major concern is sound quality, then you're probably better off looking at a set of Shure SE420s and a Shure Mobile Phone Adapter to go with it, but that's going to cost you far more. For most users though, Etymotic has produced the perfect companion for your iPhone.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Value 9
  • Sound Quality 8


August 2, 2008, 1:50 pm

I have the Shure MPA and a pair of Etymotic ER.4s and the resulting cable situation is a real pain. So I was wondering whether the sound quality of the hf2s was really the same as the ER.4s?

It would also be nice to have an image of what these earphones look like while being worn. Not really for vanity reasons as I get odd looks already wearing my ER.4s, but it would be useful to see where the microphone placement is and how the clip works that was mentioned in the review. I know I could probably check Etymotic's site but hey, I'm lazy.


August 3, 2008, 8:15 pm

I also own a pair of hf2's Andy and obviously the ER4s are more expensive but I do believe (especially if using the foam inserts)the sound is close enough when playing high bitrate encoded music to make the extra convenience worth it.

Put it this way, I have both and I use the ER4s with my Sansa Clip at the gym and the hf2s are my default earphones with my iPhone. (The hf2s don't stick out as much as the ER4s!)


August 5, 2008, 2:35 am

Having just lost my crap iPhone stock headset, where can I get my hands on a pair in the UK?!

I am loathed to pay another 㾿 for a replacement standard set!


August 5, 2008, 5:32 am

@Toberman - hf2 stock seems surprisingly limited at the moment but I did find a link here:

If cash is tight I'd hold on for a week or so, there are usually 100s of retailers stocking the full range of Etymotic earphones.


August 5, 2008, 1:56 pm

Thanks Gordon. Any suggestions as to which retailers to keep an eye on?

Looking at them on eBay to import from the US... tempted!

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