Review: Logitech Ultimate Ears UE 900 In-Ear Earphones
December 5, 2012 by Bill Palmer
by Bill Palmer
Ultimate Ears has long been best known for its custom molded professional earphones, and perhaps even more so since its acquisition by Logitech. But the company still keeps a few consumer oriented earphone products around, and the UE 900 is the new top of the line consumer model. Like most retail earbuds, the UE 900 requires no custom molds and instead includes several sets of various sized earbud tips. But it differs in that, as its $399 price tag would exist, it aims to be the best sounding consumer earbud product on the market.
The UE 900 replaces its similarly priced predecessor, the UE 700, and immediately shows off some new tricks. Whereas the 700 buds were borderline huge, the 900 scales down to what you might call a medium size – and are far more comfortable, accordingly. The buds are a translucent blue around their oblong sides, and black on the outside with chrome lining, making for a stylish look. And the buds easily detach from the cables, which is important both because it means you can switch back and forth between the blue and black included cables, and because you can replace the cables with new ones if they wear out down the road, saving you from having to buy entirely new earbuds (in this price range, the buds themselves represent most of the cost). And mindful of the fact that most consumers have a smartphone or iPod with music on it these days, a mic and three-button playback and volume control are built in.
But that’s all secondary of course to the audio quality. My tests revealed that the UE 900 offers among the crispest audio I’ve ever heard coming out of earbuds, in the high and low ranges. The detail is impressive and, as you’d expect at this price range, you’ll hear subtle audio emanations in your favorite albums that you never picked up on while using $100 or even $200 earbuds.
I put the UE 900 in head to head tests against two similarly priced earbuds. I found that the UE 900 and the Westone 4 were essentially in a tie. In some instances one sounded more crystal clear than the other, and vice versa. I couldn’t pin it down to a specific genre or type of audio where one outshone the other, but rather simply individual moments. The UE 900 gets the edge over the Westone 4 for mobile users thanks to its built in mic and buttons. In separate tests against the Monster Turbine Pro Copper, I found that the UE 900 was ever so slightly more crisp and expansive.
That puts the Logitech Ultimate Ears UE 900 in a tie for the best sounding earbuds I’ve ever tested. The price tag alone will shut out many potential users who simply can’t afford it. But for those who can, it’s an opportunity to get a headphone-like audiophile listening experience out of mere earbuds.
Rating: 5 stars out of 5 • Price: $399 • ue.logitech.com