Ultrasone Zino review: Ultrasone Zino

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CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
  • Overall: 8.0
  • Design: 8.0
  • Features: 8.0
  • Performance: 8.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good The Ultrasone Zino headphones deliver a spacious, detailed sound in a lightweight, collapsible design.

The Bad Spongy ear pads are a poor match for sweaty workouts; not as convenient as earbuds.

The Bottom Line Ultrasone's Zino headphones strike the perfect middle ground of performance, style, and convenience for earbud-eschewing connoisseurs of portable audio.

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Wearing a pair of headphones with your MP3 player seems retro in today's age of iPod earbuds and triple-driver sound-isolating earphones, but German manufacturer Ultrasone is setting out to change that perception. Known in the hi-fi market for creating big, beautiful headphones with spacious sound, Ultrasone now turns its attention to the portable audio market with the $99 Zino headphones.

In truth, Ultrasone tried its hand at making the ultimate iPod headphone once before in 2005 with the iCans, a collapsible headphone with a gorgeous sound but a rather gaudy mirrored-finish design. The Zinos borrow heavily from the iCans' design, but do well to steer clear of the cheeky name and conspicuous looks. Their sound, however, is still unmistakably Ultrasone--which is a very good thing.

Like any device that clamps on your skull, comfort is a big consideration when it comes to headphones. In spite of their relatively large size, the Zino are far and away one of the most lightweight and comfortable headphone designs we've tested. Part of that comfort can be attributed to the headphone band's slightly squared-off shape (a change from the original iCans design), but what seals the deal are the quarter-inch thick soft foam pads on each earpiece, covered in a silky-smooth nylon mesh. The end result is one of the most invisible-feeling pair of headphones money can buy--perfectly suited for extended listening. That said, the Zino's feather-light headband pressure and spongy ear cushions are probably not a great match for any fitness types looking for stay-put, sweat-proof headphones.

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Where to Buy

Ultrasone Zino

Part Number: ZINO Released: Jul. 20, 2009

Pricing is currently unavailable.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Jul. 20, 2009
  • Color gunmetal black
  • Weight 3 oz
  • Sound Output Mode stereo
  • Additional Features S-Logic Natural Surround Sound
  • Type headphones
  • Headphones Form Factor on-ear
  • Connector Type mini-phone stereo 3.5 mm
About The Author

Donald Bell has spent more than five years as a CNET senior editor, reviewing everything from MP3 players to the first three generations of the Apple iPad. He currently devotes his time to producing How To content for CNET, as well as weekly episodes of CNET's Top 5 video series.