Ultimate Ears 100 - Cheap earphones without the cheap sound!


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Received these today and have the intention of using them mainly with my HTC Desire for watching iPlayer and also streaming music via WinAMP. In the past I have owned the Sennheiser CX300 and I was quite pleased with them but they cost ?35 whereas these cost ?17.99, so does the sound quality on day one meet up to CX300 standards? They're almost equal in spec so over the next few days of usage I will find out :p

Packaging & Build Quality

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Build quality was pretty decent especially considering the price. The cable is not the type that tangles easily and is thicker than normal earphone cables as well, it has a buttery like smoothness and the phones are light too.

They don't come with any additional extras, no 6.3mm adapter, no pouch and no extension cable. A pouch would have been nice considering how cheap they are online anyway and even more so considering the UE100 comes with 4 earpad sizes so keeping them in one place would have been nice....

Sound Quality through PC (NAD C325BEE amp) & Smartphone

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Gaming

I played some Dead Space 2 and while the sound isn't as ambient or as engrossing as full sized headphones (I never expected it to be anywhere close anyway :p) the UE100s were perfectly fine for gaming, the bass lent itself well to this game as there are a lot of jump out shock moments with heavy bass involved.

Music

UE100s definitely are picky with what music they like to output. They certainly do not like lower bitrate mp3 music but they love acoustic and instrumental music and moreso my Cowboy Bebop OST!

Electronic music tended to be mashed too close together although I imagine this is due to the too high treble. The CX300 were similar too though if I recall correctly and I imagine this will smooth out as it did with the CX300 back then.

Bass seems to go down very deep and rumbling is felt but if you're listening to music with treble filled sections then the bass might overpower the foreground instruments and vocals. I imagine this might smooth out over time as well - Will update as time goes on.

Movies

I watched various movies and TV from youtube to iPlayerHD to local movies (BluRay) and found no problems with watching and enjoying these. The bass lent itself well to action scenes and the ambience from stuff like BBC's Human Planet was also very pleasing.

Portable (Phone)

The bundled headphones that come with the Desire are "OK" at best so the UE100s are expectedly much (much much!) better. I would say the above bits still apply here as well and the phone had no problems pumping out the volume needed to enjoy music on the move, heck it's capable of driving my HD595s so I expected nothing less :p. Outside noise was isolated as advertised (around 25dB? of isolation IIRC) and if I closed my eyes I'd notice nothing around me.

I read some other reviews of the UE100 and some complained about muddied highs and some of the stuff I mentioned above but none I saw mentioned how they sounded some weeks after regular usage so I'll report back with that soon :)

For under ?20 they certainly are probably one of the better pairs of earphones to keep on your person at all times and they seem to be build pretty well too from the earphones themselves to the cables.

I'm trying to see if I can source a pair of the higher end Ultimate Ears (400/700/triple fi 10) as I really do want to review those and I think those would be a good comparison in ear as to my HD595 around the ears. Fingers crossed eh :p

I give it 7 Khans out of 10!

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Look cool, go with Android (Look at that green!) and are good value, shame I can't stand in-ear's. Great review!

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I have a pair of TripleFi 10. I liked them so much that when the SuperFi 5vi went on sale at Amazon for around $50, I bought those to keep at work. I was very disappointed with the 5vi, while good compared to others they were about 1/5th the quality of the 10s. A few months ago Amazon had the 10s on sale for around $99, and I bought a second pair. If you can get a pair of those to review, you will love them.

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I have a pair of SuperFi 4's, but they started failing after about 3 months use. I've sent them back to be fixed but I also bought a pair of head-Direct RE0's instead. :p I like my UE's when they're working but they'll just be a backup pair now.

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