If you have kept up with TechnologyBlogged.com, you have probably noticed that as of late, the vast majority of my reviews have featured headphones. It’s not that by any means, I consider myself an Audiophile (I swear I just review hardware!) it’s more the fact that this particular line of products has overwhelmingly come my way in the last few months (and that’s not a bad thing because I love music). Nonetheless, the goal of this review is to test the Polk Audio UltraFit 3000 to the limit and then some. Luckily, I am in a situation where “testing” and “limit” are in fact pushed further each and every day (hint: Army). As many sports enthusiast can attest, a towel, or in my case a bandanna, are just as important as the equipment we use while we work out. Headphones, as other electronic devices such as cell phones have a way of “sizzling out” when they make contact with excess moisture. Polk Audio, a venerable name in Speakers, realized this issue and has provided the sports enthusiast Audiophiles’ solution: The UltraFit 3000 – which promises a) to offer superior audio quality over the competition in the same price range ($100) and b) to survive the most demanding workouts.
Did the headphones live up to the promise? Short answer – Flawlessly! Read on for the lowdown.
Design, Look, and Feel
The headphones and included cabling come in a soft white and orange color scheme, and are designed to lock around the back of the ears; using strong, yet “moldable” rubber to create a “custom” fit over the wearer’s ears. The cable uses a strong flatwire design and sealing, consistent with the sealing utilized elsewhere on the phones to ensure that moisture does not enter into the cabling and the headphone components. Overall, the headphones feel incredibly solid.
Attachments / Accessories
Polk includes a 3.5mm to 2.5mm cable converter attachment, which seems quite unnecessary in 2012! Still, it’s a nice plus to have around. Also included is a 14-inch cable featuring a 3.5mm connector that is straight in shape as apposed to the main cable which relies on an “L” shaped 3.5mm connector. This allows users to use the headphones while running with a device on an armband. The main wire is 41 -inches long an features an in-line control module that features play /pause, answer /end call, and volume up /down functionality and a built in mic. Unfortunately as with many audio products that feature that functionality only the end / answer call and play /pause function and mic worked. However the in-line module is not the strongest I have come across as it is plastic, and does need improvement. Additionally, the headphones come with many different types of interchangeable eartips – three pairs of StayFit silicon tips, two pairs of StayFit 3-flange silicone tips, and memory foam tips which resembling in-ear earplugs. A carrying pouch is also included which is quite solid in design, with a breathable mesh material that allows the headphones to dry off to after an intense workout. Furthermore, special clips are included so the headphone cable can be attached to clothing. One gets the sense that a great deal of thought went into these ‘phones, which is consistent with Polk’s reputation for solid quality.
Ever hear that saying about getting what you pay for? These give you more then what you pay for. Solid base. Solid Audio clarity. It gets better – choose the right ear tips from the included assortment and, these basically become noise isolating. Whereas most in-ear headphones suffer some form of sound distortion while users are running or even just walking around, because of the wrap-around design coupled with well designed ear tips, these suffered no noise distortion. Which is incredible. The music felt alive, and the headphones did not bother my ears even after wearing them for several hours. Rock, Rap, Trance, Classical – it was all a wonderful experience to listen to while running. The mic functioned flawlessly, with the caller able to hear me even while I was on the move.
Ever fired an assault rifle, let’s say an IWI Tar-21 or an M-16, while wearing in-ear earplugs? The sound created by firing off shots is muffled quite a bit. Sure, you still hear the shot, but it’s not quite as loud as without. During a training session at the range, I decided to up the ante. Now for safety purposes I did not listen to music while firing. I used the memory foam ear tips, and lo and behold, the headphones actually worked as a decent alternative to earplugs. Not quite as good, but just decent enough to mute out a few quick bursts without hurting my ears.
PSA: There is no replacement for good ear protection, so please use proper ear protection while at firing ranges, or on the job…Also, please be aware that music noise level with good noise reduction headphones can be very deceiving. Watch that audio level if you want to keep your hearing! Just ask my hearing-impaired Dad, who has been to too many rock concerts!
These headphones are a must-have for athletes who need quality and reliability while not slowing down their athletic prowess during training sessions. The price is also in that “sweet spot” for a Holiday gift that is both high quality and enduring. The headphones are available in several color schemes including black / red, grey / pink, and like the unit I received, orange / white.
About Benny Sabghir: Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. Benny enjoys all aspects of consumer electronics - especially writing about it. He also enjoys hitting the gym, running and discussing the history of his three favorite wars - The American Revolution, The Six-Day War, and the Star Wars Trilogy. Currently in Jerusalem, Israel. Follow him on twitter @Sabghir_Benny Find him on Google+ View author profile.