At the bottom end of the Ultimate Ears headphone lineup, you have the MetroFi, which has recently enjoyed a refresh in the form of the 220 and 170 earphones, the latter being the subject of this review. These 'phones are a great starting point for picky listeners who don't have a lot of cash to spend on replacement headphones for their MP3 players, but buyers should be aware of potential fit and durability issues.
The earpieces of the MetroFi earphones are the first cause for concern, though they do have a hint of style with their opaque, blood red enclosures (it looks cool when the light shines through). Although the 'buds are quite small on the whole, we found the squat, completely round design did not allow us to get a secure or comfortable fit.
Descending from each earpiece is a thin, black cable that joins into a slightly thicker cord about a foot down; a slider here can help prevent some tangles when the earphones are not in use, though we still had some issues with that.
From the Y-junction, you get an additional 33 inches of cable that terminates in a gold-plated straight plug, which is thin enough to fit into recessed headphone jacks (such as that found on iPhone number one). However, both the straight plug and thin, plastic-covered cable raise some concerns for durability.
It's a good idea to store the MetroFi 170 in the hard case provided in the package. Also, the three sizes of silicone fittings may work for you, though we found the earbuds always had a tendency to push out of our ears.
The great thing about the MetroFi 170 earphones is that, if you can get a good fit, they provide very good sound quality as well as solid noise isolation (always good when you're trying to save your ears by listening to your music at lower volumes).