Ultimate Ears UE Drops: New in-ear headphones with 3D hearing measurement
Manufacturer Ultimate Ears, known in this country primarily for excellent Bluetooth speakers, is launching an idiosyncratic new in-ear headphone with the Ultimate Ears UE Drops. What makes them special is that, thanks to FitKit, the Earbuds are perfectly fitted to your own ear shape using a 3D measurement of your ear canal.
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Ultimate Ears UE Drops with FitKit
With the Ultimate Ears UE Drops, the premium manufacturer is launching, at least in the US, a chic new in-ear headphone in a classy flop finish. The most exciting technical innovation is a three-dimensional measurement of the ear canal, which is completed with the help of a FitKit.
After ordering, the manufacturer sends said FitKit, with which you can independently measure your ear canal at home using 3D technology. The measurement is done with the help of a dedicated UE FitKit app for iOS and Android.
After that, the FitKit needs to be sent back to the manufacturer, whereupon the manufacturing of the Earbuds will take place based on your specifications. The manufacturing process is said to take around 3-4 weeks and goes faster if the manufacturer already knows the dimensions of your ear – for example, through the UE CSX or UE Pro headphones. Ultimate Ears provides concrete details on the measurement in the corresponding FitKit Guide.
In addition, the sound can then be adjusted to your own hearing ability via the UE Drops app. Furthermore, you can adjust the controls here or activate voice control. Standard fare in the in-ear segment.
The features of the Ultimate Ears UE Drops
Otherwise, the comparatively expensive Ultimate Ears UE Drops are pretty well set up for true-wireless earbuds. They offer a transparency mode that lets additional ambient noise and voices through despite the headphones being in place. However, there is no active noise cancellation (ANC).
Instead, the passive seal is supposed to filter out ambient noise particularly effectively, precisely because of the individualized fit. The UE Drops are also dust- and water-resistant and can be operated via voice control with Siri or Google Assistant.
Also promised is a battery life of 8 hours for the Earbuds, as well as another 14 hours in combination with the charging case, which can be charged wirelessly in the Qi standard in addition to USB-C. Thanks to Quick Charge, a charge of 5 minutes is enough for one hour of music playback.
Old Bluetooth standard
However, the Ultimate Ears UE Drops offer one crucial drawback: they communicate in the aged Bluetooth 4.2 standard, which means there is not even the AAC codec for Apple devices, but only SBC. High-resolution Bluetooth audio codecs like Qualcomm aptX or LDAC or the brand-new Bluetooth LE Audio are also missing. The drivers are quite large with a size of 9.2 mm, but that alone doesn’t mean anything.
Whether the promised ultimate wearing comfort is worth more than twice the price of the Sony Linkbuds S or beyerdynamic Free Byrd to you, you’ll have to decide for yourself. Sound-wise, the UE Drops should have a hard time competing with them.
Price and Availability
Ultimate Ears pays handsomely for the 3D hearing measurement. The Ultimate Ears UE Drops launch immediately in the US at a recommended retail price of $449 in Sapphire, Rose Quartz and Onyx (black). It is unknown if and when the Earbuds will also come to Germany. More details can be found on the product website of Ultimate Ears.
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