Sometimes in life, you want a set of headphones that just work - you know the ones I mean. The kind of headphones that are very reasonably priced - maybe even downright cheap - but which produce really good sound quality for the money, while also not conking out a mere few weeks after you bought them.

But what kind of headphones could possibly do the job? Surely, in the headphone world - as in every other 'real world' - you can only realistically hope to get what you pay for?

You might want to ask Sony that, as they've come up with a set of no-nonsense outdoor headband headphones that really 'do the job' with aplomb - the MDR-ZX100 headphones. These have a lovely low Recommended Retail Price of £20, and I'm sure that you could shave a lot off even that price if you just shop around - perhaps using voucher codes for online stores such Amazon & Argos.

But surely, in the headphone world, 'cheap' means nasty?

Ha! Are you suggesting that there's no 'value in the market' for outdoor headphones? Well, in that case, I'm here to let you into a little secret: there are definitely some genuinely worthwhile bargains out there, and these Sony headphones are among them, truly living up to the reputation that Japanese manufacturers have of providing quality even at a low price point.

That impression of quality starts with your first sight of these headphones. Sure, the black ones don't seem to be the last word in prestige style. They're actually a little non-descript, although that's hardly a bad thing if you're just scooting down the street and would rather not attract the attention of any thieves who might mistake them for much more premium-priced headphones.

Mind you, the white versions of these headphones are a very different beast. Gawd, they're amazingly chic-looking for something at this price point. For that reason, and from a perspective of pure selfishness, those would probably be my own preferred shade.

So many other amazing features!

Alright, let's move on from the colour already... onto all of those other fantastic touches, like the fantastically cushioned earpads that really are as comfortable as they look, as well as the self-adjusting headband, in-line remote and microphone and the neat ability of the earcups to swivel flat so that you can easily stow them into your bag or suitcase.

Everything else about the specification of these headphones points to a product that offers a lot of functionality for their modest asking price, including a wideband frequency range of 12Hz to 22kHz, lightweight 30mm neodymium dynamic driver units and an enfolding, closed-back design.

The latter really does wrap around your ear to shut out all conceivable distractions in the outside world, the reflection of the acoustics within your ears, delivering the subtle, sophisticated sound that you just wouldn't normally expect from such good value headphones.

So are these headphones genuinely that good?

They definitely are to my ears. These aren't headphones that impress on paper, but not in practice. With all of my experience of testing out headphones from major and obscure brands alike, these sound much more like £50 headphones than £20 ones, delivering a powerful bass, a gentle treble and a full midrange.

Admittedly, these MDR-ZX100 headphones won't give you quite as much audio feedback as higher-end headphones, but again, it is difficult to have many quibbles at this meagre outlay. There's definitely none of the ear-piercingly thin and tinny sound that is more typical of these headphones' more immediate rivals in this price bracket.

Even if you aren't quite as impressed as I am by the Sony MDR-ZX100 headphones when you try them out for yourself, they're still plenty good enough to have as cost-effective spares for that pricier pair of headphones that you may use for most of your listening.

My conclusion? These 'budget' headphones are darned good, so don't let anyone tell you differently! Take a look at some of the most popular voucher sites in the UK to see what discounts you might be able to get on your own next set, or discover where else the Sony MDR-ZX100 outdoor headband headphones can be bought.