Ultimate Ears wants to make sure you never itch wearing these earbuds.
It’s probably safe to say every company that makes and sells the best wireless earbuds wants to give you as comfortable a fit as possible. It also goes without saying that the further earbuds push toward the inner ear, the harder it is to ensure they’ll feel comfortable for every size or shape of ear.
Ultimate Ears, or UE, as the Logitech-owned brand is better known, takes a dynamic approach to solve that problem: a molding process that reshapes its UE Fits earbuds as you’re first wearing them. While this idea turned out to be a viable concept here, you may not get every other feature you’re looking for.
At a glance
Ultimate Ears Fits Earbuds
Bottom line: The UE Fits are as close as you can get right now to wearing a pair of earbuds with the ultimate comfort in mind, considering how personalized they are in that regard. It’s just that to get that kind of tailoring, you lose out on other features that have become staples for wireless earbuds in the same price range.
- Outstanding comfort
- Good sound quality
- Lightweight design
- Good call quality
- Solid app support
- Finicky touch controls
- No ANC or Ambient mode
- No wireless charging
Ultimate Ears Fits Earbuds What I like
Sound quality is naturally a huge factor in how good earbuds can be, except assessing their fidelity has a lot to do with how well they fit. That’s why you’ll rarely see a consensus on which earbuds sound or fit the best, with different reviewers or customers praising or panning earbuds that may or may not fit your ears in particular. It’s a big reason why some manufacturers experiment with different ear tips of varying sizes and shapes to truly find the perfect balance. Even foam tips were made with that in mind.
UE prioritized fit above all else with its appropriately-named earbuds. For starters, the UE Fits use an alternative take on the AirPods-style stem; instead of a shaft falling down from the top, it extends from either side of the bud. It’s an odd shape compared to the industry standard or the cheap AirPods clones you usually see, but there’s a legitimate reason for the design.
To be comfortable, the Fits need to be stable, and balancing the stem this way distributes the weight more evenly. It’s also necessary because the ear tips are actually larger than you typically see in other earbuds, which often come with three or four tip sizes. The Fits instead use a one-size-fits-all design that relies on the UE Fits app to actually make them fit everyone. Using the app, you’ll initiate a 60-second molding period whereby the ear tips light up and reshape themselves to match your inner ears.
There are no other ear tips or replacements here. It’s one set out of the box, and that’s it. UE even puts a disclaimer on the box noting that the tips are light sensitive. I set them up pretty quickly after unboxing them, as I wasn’t clear on how much exposure qualifies as „too much.“
Either way, the setup process itself is definitely unique for any pair of headphones. The 60-second app session activates the ear tips‘ LEDs and heats up the buds, making them more malleable for the final fit. In the midst of this, the app told me to relax my jaw and listen for the bass tones playing, in order to customize the sound profile to my ears. Before I started, I couldn’t find the right seal in my ears; but after the molding finished, I could immediately feel the difference in comfort and sound.
I also appreciated that the app didn’t just finish with the setup and offer little else. Using the custom equalizer, you can switch between six preset settings or easily set and save your own presets based on your preferences. I always like when a dedicated app offers some freedom to do more, and in this case, it compensates for the fact that the earbuds themselves don’t have any active tools for blocking out background noise.
Getting the Fits to fit matters for a number of reasons, not least of which is the sound quality itself. Without active noise cancelation (ANC), the UE Fits need to do passive isolation really well to compensate. Thankfully, after the molding session, I found that not much sound leaks in or out, leaving more wiggle room for the actual audio. For comparison, I’ve found that achieving that same tight seal with most other earbuds takes a lot more trial and error.
I noticed this with all genres of music I listened to, including those that may not be mainstream. A Spanish guitar track like Jesse Cook’s Viva sounded resonant with the right EQ settings, and I felt the same way while listening to a hip-hop track like 2Pac’s California Love. If you want extra bass, you can ramp that up. If it’s a brighter or balanced tonality that suits you better, that’s easy to manage. And with phone calls, callers sounded nice and clear, with those on the other end never really complaining about how I sounded.
To accommodate the variable size of these earbuds, the case, which is a moderate size, has a cavernous gorge inside to fit them in neatly. That does affect overall battery life since the case only adds 12 hours to the eight hours the earbuds have for themselves. Normally, this would be a pretty significant drawback compared to what others in the same price range offer, but it’s understandable under the circumstances. Between a moderately-sized or extra-large case, I’d rather go with the former.
The good news is that thanks to the tight seal, I didn’t have to raise the volume too much from the default level. So I routinely got about seven hours or more per charge. It more or less lives up to UE’s estimates.
Ultimate Ears Fits Earbuds What needs work
Despite the merits the UE Fits offers, it’s missing some features that most premium earbuds offer in 2021 — and even some cheaper buds. Some buyers will find the lack of ANC hard to accept, given that it’s increasingly common to find it in earbuds under $100. On the reverse side of things, its passive noise cancellation is so effective that you can barely hear anything around you without taking one off. More and more earbuds now offer an ambient sound mode to let you hear your surroundings, but not the UE Fits, and you may not be able to go without hearing the world around you for hours at a time.
When I first started using the Fits, they had an annoying habit of cutting out on the right side, but it lasted one day before going away for some inexplicable reason. I never encountered the issue again, save for the very odd quick hiccup, but that was it.
What did stick around were the irritatingly limited onboard touch controls. They’re simple enough on paper. Each earbud can act independently, and by default, double-tapping either one plays/pauses. I could reprogram one to skip a track, repeat it, set volume up or down, or trigger Google Assistant. But that was it. I had only two choices for controls, one per bud. There is no holding the touch panel, or triple-tapping to do something else. If there is a technical limitation, I’m not aware of it, and I’m surprised a firmware update hasn’t addressed this yet.
The IPX3 rating is okay for breaking a little sweat, but these earbuds are hardly rugged.
The IPX3 rating is okay for breaking a little sweat, but these earbuds are hardly rugged. That they’re comfortable and stay nestled in place is a huge bonus for using them while active, but I would caution over just how sweaty or wet they get.
You might not also like that the case doesn’t do wireless charging. Personally, I also wasn’t thrilled with the glossy finish, which was riddled with fingerprints after just a couple of days, but I know that’s subjective. In any case, USB-C is the only option to fill them back up, and it’s good that it only takes about an hour to fully recharge again.
Ultimate Ears Fits Earbuds The competition
True wireless earbuds need continued innovation to reach new heights, and I have to credit UE with trying — and mostly succeeding — in developing a different way to deal with fit and comfort. First attempts often stumble in some respects, so I would expect more if or when UE tries it again, but as is, the Fits cater to those who care about how buds feel more than anything else.
That’s why it’s hard to compare them to others. The Jabra Elite 75t do come to mind for their excellent combination of fit, comfort, sound quality, and app support. Not to mention they’re much cheaper now, too. The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live also tried to do something about discomfort with a bean-like shape that doesn’t enter the ear canal, and those are also a cheaper alternative.
Ultimate Ears Fits Earbuds Should you buy them?
You should buy this if…
- You want truly wireless earbuds
- You need something more comfortable
- You want good sound with a custom EQ
- You like the idea of a custom fit
You should not buy this if…
- You want ANC or Ambient modes
- You like something more rugged
- You need longer battery life from the case
- You prefer to spend less
It’s easy to dismiss the UE Fits as a gimmick when you first hear the concept behind them, but I’m here to tell you it’s real and it does work. Well, at least for me it did, but I suspect it would for you, too, if only because their very purpose is to adapt to anyone’s ears. None of that would matter if they didn’t sound good, and that’s certainly not the case. While they naturally won’t be in the running for best noise canceling earbuds without true ANC, they do form a tight enough seal that you’ll at least block out the world a bit.
Everything about the UE Fits is ultimately a compromise. What you get, you also give. And that transcends the feature set and performance throughout, so buying these requires a negotiation with yourself over what takes precedence. Once you’ve figured that part out, the rest will speak for itself.
Fitting right in
Ultimate Ears Fits Earbuds
New level of comfort
If you’ve ever wanted wireless earbuds that conform to your ears, and to do it right out of the box, then the UE Fits may be exactly what you’re looking for.
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