Gadling gear review: Ultimate Ears 600vi earphones

Modern technology has obviously had a dramatic impact on how we travel. Thanks to small, lightweight portable devices, we now have the ability to carry our entire music library or a collection of our favorite movies and television shows, with us where ever we go. But one of the key elements for enjoying our music and videos is a good pair of headphones, preferably headphones that are comfortable to wear, isolate outside noise, and offer great sound. I recently found all of those qualities in a new pair of Ultimate Ears 600vi earphones from Logitech.

Before testing the UE 600vi’s I was a bit skeptical as to whether or not I would find them comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. After all, on a long international flight, they could potentially be used for hours on end. For years I’ve traveled with a pair of Bose Triport headphones, which are traditional, over the ear headphones that are super comfortable and provide great sound. The Ultimate Ears on the other hand, are in-ear models that are a bit of a departure for those accostumed to the larger, bulkier models that cover the entire ear.

To get the best performance, and comfort, out of the Ultimate Ears it is important that you get the right fit. Fortunately, Logitech packs in six sets of ear cushions, varying in size from extra-extra-small to large, which are designed to help us find that fit. Those cushions can be mixed and matched as needed, and it took several days of experimenting to find the right combination for my needs. Once I did however, not only did the UE’s fit very well, they also offered a high level of isolated from outside noise as well. That isolation is important when you’re stuck on a plane for 15 hours and you want a little relief from the sound of jet engines.While finding that perfect fit is important for the long term use of the Ultimate Ears, one thing that will strike you right away is the sound quality. Upon taking these earphones out of their package, I immediately hooked them up to my iPod and started listening to a few of my favorite tracks. The sound quality was astounding, and as I worked my way through various genres of music, I discovered that I was picking up elements to the songs that I hadn’t ever heard before. Background vocals and instruments came through clear as a bell and volume levels didn’t need to be cranked high to get the full effect of the music. I also used these headphones to watch videos and play games on my iPad, and came away impressed with their versatility and sound quality with those types of media as well.

This particular model of Ultimate Ears also includes a built in remote control right on the cable. That remote allows you to adjust volume, as well as pause and skip tracks on an iPod and other supported mp3 players. On the iPhone, the remote allows you to answer calls, and a tiny mic lets you chat directly through the earphones themselves. They also work with Siri on the new iPhone 4S, giving you the option to ask her questions and give commands without ever taking the UE’s out of your ears.

Despite their comfort and fantastic sound, the Ultimate Ears aren’t necessarily the best option for everyone. if you’re not already of fan of the in-ear model of headphones, it can take some time to get use to the feel of the cushions resting inside your ear canal. They also aren’t as good at filtering outside noise as over-the-ear headphones either, even when you have found the best fit possible. However, they don’t nearly weigh as much as their bulkier counterparts and they take up almost no room in your bag either. Those are two factors that are very important for travelers looking to travel light.

Logitech includes a nice, hard case with the Ultimate Ears, which protects them nicely when not being used. The case also help to keep the delicate cord from getting tangled, which can cause problems with any headphone. I found the case to be a nice touch in protecting my headphones while on the go.

With an MSRP of $120, the UE 600vi’s are a bit on the pricy side. But Logitech offers several models at a variety of price points, and while I’ve only had the opportunity to test this particular model, I was suitably impressed enough to recommend the rest of the line as well. If you’re looking for a new way to enjoy your music, movies, and other digital media while on the go, then you’ll definitely want to give the Ultimate Ears a listen. I think you’ll find they offer amazing sound and comfort in an incredibly small package.