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Nowadays, the best earbuds are a dime a dozen. Pretty much every single major consumer technology brand offers a set of earbuds. The list of truly comfortable earbuds? Well, that list is a little more narrow. Owned by Logitech, Ulitmate Ears is setting out to change that with their UE Fits earbuds, which mold to your ears for a customizable fit. Is the tech a bunch of overblown marketing? Or does it work? UE sent us a pair to test for ourselves.
- Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
- Accessories: USB-C charging case
- Battery Life: 8 hours of listening, 20 hours with case recharge
Typically, setting up a pair of earbuds involves taking the case out of the packaging (and maybe charging it), pairing it with your device, and then you’re good to go. That’s not quite the case with the UE Fits, as the whole differentiator about these earbuds is that they’re meant to form to the custom shape of your ears. Upon opening the box from UE, you’ll be treated to an insert with the UE Fits case and the earbuds wrapped in plastic. See, the way the UE Fits actually mold to your ears is through, well, light. There’s a warning on the box that you won’t want to expose them to light, but as long as they’re not sitting uncovered for an extended period (like an hour), you’ll be fine. A few minutes, while you get settled, is totally okay, but you should really wait to do the molding process when you can give it your undivided attention.
After firing up the UE App, you’ll be prompted to begin the molding process, which involves putting each earbud into your ear until they feel cozy and comfy. From there, the app will ask you if the sound it’s playing is suitable and then will ask you to firmly hold each earbud in place. I put my phone down as I held in each, and the molding process began.
As mentioned, the molding starts with some light, specifically a purple LED (a nice touch to the overall UE branding), which causes the gel ear tips to react and warm up. The app will notify you about the warming, which you’ll definitely feel, but it’s not like your ear canals are burning or anything. The entire process takes about a minute, upon which you’ll need to relax your face (and your jaw specifically) and keep the UE Fits firmly in place. Once that’s over, you’re good to go; it’s that easy.
You’ll notice an immediate difference in how the Ultimate Ears fit, as the already comfortable (but slightly oversized) gel tips are now perfectly attuned to your ears. It was super easy to slip the UE into my ears where they remained, firmly locked in, with an overwhelming sense of ease.
The overall design of the UE Fits is pretty straightforward. The case and earbuds themselves are pretty standard for anyone familiar with using earbuds in 2022. The case has a sleek shine to it, one that makes it easy to slide out of your pockets and get kind of dirty with fingerprints. The case also seems a little flatter than other cases, evoking a pebble-like appearance. The buds themselves are stem-like, although not in the way Apple AirPods are. Instead, the design is closer to like a stick of Orbit gum than anything else. I’m a fan of the longer shape, as it makes it easy to pull them out of my ears when I’m done. The touchpads themselves offer the typical toggling of songs.
Performance and Features
When it comes to overall performance, the Ultimate Ears are pretty impressive. The sound quality itself is excellent; my typical testing involves listening to all of Tame Impala’s Currents since it offers such a rich sonic tapestry. The bass guitar on “The Less I Know the Better” felt appropriately crunchy, while the synths on “Let it Happen” roared to life in stunning clarity. I was also surprised by how grand Michael Giacchino’s score for The Batman sounded, as I felt the epic scope of each arrangement. It can definitely be tough sometimes to have that scope translate to a pair of earbuds, but that wasn’t the case here.
While the UE Fits don’t have active noise cancelation, its passive noise cancelation is super impressive. To wit: I was recently traveling back from NYC on Amtrak and brought the Fits with me to test. While listening to a quieter track on the aforementioned Batman score, I noticed train sounds filtering in for the first time. When I took the earbud out, I was surprised to notice how much louder it was. The custom fitting does an excellent job of reducing passive noise. The logic tracks; if you’ve got a better seal between your ear canal and the outside world, noise is going to go down, but this is even without any active noise cancelation. If the passive noise reduction is already this good, I’d be really interested to know how much better it could get if and when Ulitmate Ears decides to roll out a version of the UE Fits with ANC.
When it comes to working out, the IPX3 rating worked well enough for me to not get overly concerned about sweating through them. However, I don’t tend to get super sweaty during my workouts unless I’m outside, and it’s 90+ out, so your mileage may vary. Heavy sweaters may want to avoid using them as their dedicated workout earbuds.
Battery life on the UE Fits is strong as well, with about eight hours per earbuds and 20 extra hours in the case. UE states that a 10-minute charge provides an hour of playback time, which is pretty impressive, all things considered.
Where the UE Fits stumbles a bit is in what it’s lacking. Notably, on the noise cancelation front, there’s no massive mode of any kind. While that’s typically reserved for earbuds with ANC, it could have been helpful to include them here so that I didn’t have to remove the earbud each time. Additionally, the UE Fits chime and beep as you put them into your ears. I’ve gotten so used to my Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds actively telling me what mode I’m in or when I’m connected to Bluetooth that the noises don’t really do much for me. Also, figuring out when the earbuds are in the case and charging can be tricky; a few times, I thought I’d stowed the earbuds away properly, only for my iPhone to still tell me they were actively paired. I’ve had to spend more time making sure the earbuds actively pulse in the case to indicate they’re charging before closing the lid. These are minor details and not dealbreakers, but given the $250 standard retail price tag, you’d hope UE would have ironed out some of these minor issues.
While the Ultimate Ears Fit leave out a few premium features we’d anticipate seeing in such a high-end set of earbuds, they’re undeniably worth the truly customized fit you get. Without a shadow of a doubt, these are the most comfortable set of earbuds I’ve ever used, bolstered by a really strong sound clarity that sets an incredible standard for how earbuds should fit and feel. I anticipate Ultimate Ears building and refining on the strong standard established here, with future models taking full advantage of higher-end features. But, until then, you’ll have to settle (if you can even call it settling) for the most comfortable earbuds on the market. That sounds like a fair trade to me.
So Should You Buy It?
Straight up: Yes.
- Battery life
- Strong passive noise cancelation
- Missing some features like active noise cancelation
- Getting the earbuds to disconnect can be tricky
Ultimate Ears Fits Earbuds
What Are Some Alternatives?
If you’re looking for some other options instead of the UE Fits, we have some additional selections.
Sony WF-1000XM4 Earbuds
You can read our full review here, but the ANC on the XM4 is incredible and I found the foam-like ear tips on the earbuds to be super comfortable.
Jabra Elite 85T Earbuds
Jabra claims to have researched and scanned “thousands” of ears to determine the best shape for their earbuds, resulting in a pair of earbuds that’s tough (and comfortable!) for all kinds of different use cases.
Spade & Co Air Buds Pro
From a design perspective, the Spade & Co Air Buds Pro are a hybrid between AirPods and the UE Fits, but for a significantly reduced price.