If you read the site you might recall that I’m married to a woman who doesn’t like headphones and earbuds. Yes, Elana finds earbuds to be quite uncomfortable and, if used for too long, downright painful. There is one exception – well until now just one exception – that is YurBuds. I learned about YurBuds at CES 2011 and while the headphones look kind of funny they are incredibly comfortable – even for Elana. In fact, she tried them on when I got home and then just kept using them. You see, not only are they comfortable but they stay in your ears while working out. That’s important for Elana since she is a trainer. They now have a permanent place in her gym bag. If you see Elana on the elliptical you will likely see a pair of YurBuds in her ears. Yes, since I gave her that first pair of YurBuds over a year and half ago she has sung their praises and recommended them to anyone she can. Nothing came close – until now.
iLuv recently sent a number of headphone samples for review. One of them is a small box containing their FitActive headphones with SpeakEZ Remote. The headset is a “secure, hands-free sports earphone”. Compatible with most smartphones, the headphones come with three different size tips to help you get the best, most comfortable and secure fit possible.
Created for use on most smartphones, the FitActive (iEP416) is ideal for your active lifestyle. These high-fidelity sports earphones boast impressive sound quality while giving you one-touch playback control and letting you answer incoming calls from your smartphone. The unique in-ear brace design fits snugly and securely within the contours of your ear, avoiding interference with helmets, glasses or goggles and making them perfectly suited for any number of sport activities like jogging, running or riding a bicycle.
Unique in-ear brace provides secure, comfortable fit
Secure design enhances rich, high-fidelity stereo music
One touch controls music playback and answers calls with built in remote
Built-in mic. for voice control and recording
Designed not to interfere with helmets, glasses or goggles
Great for use while jogging, running or riding a bicycle
Uses a 3.5mm plug found in iPad / iPhone / iPod and MP3 players
Available in attractive colors
When I opened the box I was surprised to see just how small these headphones are. To a large extent they look like a colored version of Apple’s white earbuds. Unlike Apple’s offering however, these not only don’t sound like crap but they actually stay in your ears.
And while YurBuds use a large rubber piece that fills your ears and extends into your your ear canal, the FitActive buds have just a small wing attached to the earpiece to accomplish the same “stay put” functionality. The wing fits comfortably behind the cartilage within your ears and hold the earbuds in the place. As the company explains, “the acoustic chamber is designed to focus dynamic audio directly into the ear canal.” It works.
I tried the headphones out before handing them to Elana. I didn’t expect them to stay in place but… they did. In fact, jumping around didn’t cause them to shift in the slightest. In addition, I couldn’t actually feel them once they were in place and they certainly didn’t put any pressure on my ears as they stayed put. Quite frankly I was surprised. In addition, because the FitActive buds are so small and the mechanism for holding them in place is as minimalistic as it is, they are incredibly comfortable when you rest your head on a pillow- something that is rare with earbuds.
The in-line microphone is both a remote control for your audio – it will play or pause your music – and a hands-free microphone. No, it’s not the best hands-free microphone I’ve used and, unlike the full-featured YurBud remote, it is a two-way remote so it can’t control tracks but it certainly gets the job done. It is a nice addition and means you can adjust the volume without pausing your workout.
A really nice aspect of the earbuds is… the price. If you get them without the microphone the MSRP is under $20! And, in fact, you can get the version we reviewed for under $20 as well! (Details follow at the end of this review.)
Of course none of this matters if the earbuds sound horrible. Fortunately, they actually sound quite good. Elana tried them out and found that the sound was more than acceptable – it was, in fact, enjoyable. Yes, when she swap them out for the YurBuds she did find that there was more depth to the YurBuds – but the FitActives were not only acceptable but quite pleasant to use. She would certainly be happy using them when working out and, thanks to the light weight, will likely use them instead going forward.
So despite my initial skepticism I came away from my review of iLuv’s FitActive headphones impressed. And I came away empty-handed since Elana snatched these from me.
Without the microphone our Amazon Affiliate Store has them for just $17.68. Buy them!
And with the microphone you can grab them for just $20.40. Buy them!
That’s a huge savings considering the MSRP of $49.99
UPDATE: Elana has used them to work out a few times and while she really does like them she has returned to the Yurbuds. She likes both but the Yurbuds just work better for her. You can order them here.
What I Like: Light; Stay put; Microphone and controller; Comfortable; Available at some steep discounts
What Needs Improvement: Sound is good but not GREAT!