It's not unusual for a product manager to exaggerate certain aspects of the gadgets he or she is representing, which is why reviewers quickly learn to take everything with a grain of salt. When the hyperbole extends to the actual name of the product, expectations tend to increase at least incrementally. Such is the case with Phonak's Audeo Perfect Fit Earphones PFE 022 + Mic, a uniquely designed set of earbuds with an integrated mic and a fair price ($99). We can't be certain they'll actually fit everyone perfectly, but we can say with confidence that our reviewers found them to be exceptionally secure and quite comfortable. They also managed to impress us in terms of sound quality.
The design of the Audeo Perfect Fit Earphones earpieces is a bit difficult to describe in words. They are somewhat of a modified L shape, with a step-down into the ear. Needless to say, the 'buds are exceptionally compact, and the funky shape seems to mesh well with most ear shapes. To further help users achieve a secure and comfortable fit, Phonak includes three sets of soft silicone tips in small, medium, and large sizes. (The 'phones are also compatible with.) We're a bit disappointed that this model doesn't come with a pair of earloops to be attached during rigorous activity; with their compact, lightweight design, the PFE 022s lend themselves well to fitness pursuits, and that extra would take the earphones up a notch.
The Perfect Fit Earphones seem fairly durable. They feature a thick, 30-inch cord originating from a gold straight plug. This then splits into a thinner, 15-inch Y-cable that terminates in the two earpieces. The Y features a slider that helps prevent tangles when the headphones are not in use; a tiny module with a mic and call-answer button is integrated into the right cable. Although Phonak does not advertise the feature, the aforementioned button also serves as a playback remote for the iPhone and iPod Touch, playing and pausing tracks as well as skipping backward and forward. Beyond that, the PFE 022 earphones don't include any extra features.
What immediately strikes us with the Audeo Perfect Fit Earphones is how clear and balanced the audio comes through. No instrument or frequency overpowers another. Bass is tight and thumpy, but it's not the superboomy low end that you tend to get from moderately priced earphones that are trying to overcompensate for what stock earbuds lack in that area. That being said, the PFE also doesn't come as close to mimicking the enveloping bass you get from a full-size set. However, the high-end clarity and detail are quite exceptional given the price range of the earphones, with cymbals and hi-hats sounding sparkly. Similarly, mids are warm and buttery without being too forward. Male vocals, in particular, sound great.
In the final analysis, we were highly impressed with this offering from Phonak. The Perfect Fit Earphones PFE 002 + Mic offer a secure, comfortable fit and very balanced sound quality, and the integrated mic and playback controls make them a compelling choice for iPhone owners. These are a solid $100 option, certainly. The earphones are currently only available for purchase through the Audeo Web site.