The test sample we received came without a box. The bundle is, however, complete. You get three sets of tips, spare filters and a small shirt clip.
Like the majority of in-ears on the market today the RE-242s are terminated to normal TRS 1/8" mini-jack. The jack has a huge strain relief and is very bulky. The jack design annoys both eyes and brain, since it looks odd and does not work particularly well for its given application. For a set of in-ears that are going to be used with an ultra-transportable system it is just way too big! The durability benefit does not seem to be worth the bulk here.
The Head-Direct RE-242s look really good. A neat little design feature is the red and blue back-plates. This was first seen some 20 years ago when Etymotic launched their ER-4 in-ears. The tube portion of the earphones is made from metal.
Design wise Head-Direct have kept it simple with the RE-242s. This new design philosophy also means that the RE-242s are the most ergonomic design to ever leave the Head-Direct labs. Everything seems surprisingly durable, considering the $25 price tag. The cable is definitely a huge step forward coming from the now obsolete RE-0s and RE-ZERO in-ears. The cable is quite microphonic, but on the flip side it seems very durable.
These in-ears are so small that they practically disappear in your ears. Notice the "tip" to body ratio on the picture above. Of course this new design is triggered by the development of what is one of the world’s smallest dynamic drivers. Measuring just 6 mm across, the Head-Direct dynamic driver has a foot print that is 56% smaller than an industry standard 9 mm driver.
Even though they are color coded the earphones also carry a small left/right indicator. Since the earphones use a dynamic driver there is a small vent on the backplate. This means that noise attenuation is somewhat lower than that of a similar design based around a balanced armature. The earphones should be good for around 25 dB noise attenuation.
The tube and tip holder is a one piece metal part. This is a brilliant solution because it adds to the rigidity and durability of the final construction.