The headphones: Skullcandy Smokin' Buds 2 Earbuds With Microphone ($20)
The why: "I wear earbuds for many, many hours each day — on my commute and at work. Earbuds are great because they travel well and I can throw them in my pocket or a bag, and not worry about the space that headphones consume. This inexpensive brand is awesome because it has decent sound, a little microphone, and a play/pause toggle button.
Frequent use also means unplugging and plugging quite a lot, changing from mobile to laptop and back several times a day, and this puts a lot of wear on the earbud connection. So, I decided to embrace the fact that I'll probably need a new set every few months, and the about-$20 price point is perfect for replacement." — Julie Driscoll, front-end software engineer