Ultimate Ears 700 (Dark Silver)
Logitech purchased the California-based Ultimate Ears back in 2008 and set to work on repackaging its entire line of headphones, including the UE 700 Noise-Isolation Earphones. The updated model features new packaging adorned with Logitech branding, a more protective hardcover box for storage, and a combination of foam and silicone ear tips. What hasn't changed, however, is the 700's dual armature driver design that puts two speakers in each earbud--one to accent high- and midlevel frequencies, and another that delivers thumping, natural bass. The result is a headphone that can reproduce the sparkling high notes and smooth bass tones of your music with a three-dimensional soundstage that practically commands you to relisten to your music library, note by note. If it's not clear already, the $150 Ultimate Ears 700 headphones deserve a listen if you're an attentive music listener who demands brilliant sound at an affordable price.
Design and features
The Ultimate Ears 700 headphones are smaller than most, purposefully slim for comfort and style at only 11.6 grams per earbud. The wire lacks the heavy remote control that normally adds weight to smartphone-friendly headphones, making them comfortable to wear for long periods of time, to the point where they become unnoticeable through a full day of work. The tiny earbud housing also allows you to easily push them farther into your ear canal, which is important for creating a proper noise-isolating seal.
The reflective silver earbud housing is complemented by a smoky red hook with a small circular ridge that secures the ear tips into place, and Ultimate Ears offers both silicone and foam ear cushions by Comply, a company highly regarded by the audiophile community for its softly padded material and universal fits.
The Ultimate Ears 700 headphones come with five sizes of the silicone cushions and only two variations of the foam version for comparison. Choosing between silicone or foam tips is ultimately a personal decision, but it's usually easier to create a seal with the foam by compressing it prior to insertion. We should also note that foam is more susceptible to dirt and grime, so you may find a more hygienic solution in the silicone. Logitech also includes a protective hard shell case that has ample room for the headphones and all the ear tips to go with you.
We feel shortchanged by the lack of a remote control and microphone on the 46-inch long cord, and it's a surprising oversight by Logitech given the number of users who listen to music on Android and iOS smartphones. Since neither of those devices has a tactile button that lets you change tracks manually, the omission of an in-line remote may dissuade potential owners of these earbuds looking for hands-free music navigation.
Performance Music lovers shopping for a headphone to highlight the instrumental nuances of their collection will appreciate the Ultimate Ears 700's balanced dual-armature drivers that combine two separate speakers into each earbud. This design effectively creates a wider frequency of sound, giving your ears access to more aural detail and brings out the natural bass and treble characters of your music.
The passive crossover network built into the design routes each sound to the driver best fitting of its flavor and is essentially the same technology used for premium in-ear monitors. Audiophiles will prefer the natural element of sound they provide over alternative buds that intentionally overpower the low-end to appease the younger, head-bobbing market, but that doesn't mean the Ultimate Ears 700's can't reproduce the same booming bass notes.
You'll still hear the same punchy emphasis, but the 700 headphones allow each instrument and vocal track to shine individually with more distinctive color and clarity, faithful to the original audio mix. You may react critically at first to the smooth sheen of the Ultimate Ears if you're used to the low-end impact of assisted headphones like the Monster Turbine Pro In-ear Speakers, but we're sure you'll grow to appreciate the greater headroom and wider frequency response that this set offers in comparison.
Logitech lowered the price of the Ultimate Ears 700 to $150 when it took over the company a few years back, which makes these headphones some of the most affordable dual-driver earbuds on the market right now. You'll notice a big difference in sound if you're upgrading from the stock headphones that came with your music player, and as long as you don't mind the lack of a remote control on the cord, the Ultimate Ears 700 headphones won't disappoint.