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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Logitech Ultimate Ears 350 VS Zagg Smartbuds: FIGHT!

Well, about 8 months ago I picked up a pair of Zagg Smartbuds for use with my tablet, an Archos 101. Now these earbuds were "Apple Certified" which means it uses Apple's plug configuration for headsets. As a result, I had to buy an adapter to use them on my Archos, which is no longer the case since I now use an Acer Iconia A500

Now, fast-forward to this past December and I was given a set of Logitech Ultimate Ears 350vi's and just got around to trying them out. Now granted, I do not own an iPhone, so my tests will be on my AT&T HTC TITAN, a Windows Phone 7 device. Because of this, not all features on the inline remotes will work.

Music tests will be using For Love Not Lisa's Slip Slide Melting, Nine Inch Nails' Dead Souls, Rage Against the Machine's Darkness, and Stone temple Pilots' Big Empty; all from The Crow Motion Picture Soundtrack. Microphone tests will be via calls on AT&T's network. Games used will be Shadowgun and Riptide on my Acer tablet and Hydro Thunder Go and Sonic 4 Episode 1 on my TITAN.

More after the break!

Lets start with a general overview of both headsets and go from there:

Ultimate Ears Specs
Earphone Type: In-ear
Driver type: Diaphragm
Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz
Impedance: 16 ohms, 1 kHz
Sensitivity: 105 dB SPL/mW, 1 kHz
Noise isolation: -22 dB
Microphone frequency response: 200 Hz – 10 kHz
Microphone sensitivity: -58 dBV/Pa
Warranty: 2 years
Cable length: 45 inches

Zagg Smartbuds Specs
Speaker diameter: 10mm
Frequency response: 20hz to 20khz
Impedance: 16 Ohms
Max input power: 10mW
Plug type: 3.5mm
Sensitivity: 94dB +/-3dB SPL/mW
Microphone with Noise canceling condenser
Speaker diameter: 10mm
Frequency response: 30hz to 16khz
Impedance: 10 Ohms
Microphone Sensitivity: 42dB +/-3dB
Cable length: 54 inches

So, lets start off with the ones I have had the longest, the Zagg Smartbuds.
Zagg has a nice look to them
I bought these since I was moved to a different position in the County I worked for and had to use the train to save on gas and parking. With that in mind, I was in heaven. Once I chose the right sized ear pieces I could hear nothing but the music. No people, train noise or anything. Volume was handled by a slider, something most headsets don't have, so it worked with both my phone at the time as well as my tablet. Music was clear, and the bass level were higher than normal, which didn't bother me.

Now onto the Logitech Ultimate Ears 350vi
Not as stylish as the Zagg, but not bad either!
These I received for Christmas and was eager to see how they sounded versus my Zaggs. Once place, I had a "vacuum" feel, like a seal was put in place. These use digital volume control, that did not work with my phone or tablet. Like the Zagg's, once in place the outside world no longer bothered me. Music was clear as it gets, but unless your device has an EQ, then that's what you are stuck with. It's not a bad thing, I just prefer my music a bit more bass-y...

Pros and Cons:
Logitech Pros:
Crystal clear sound for most music.
"Vacuum" feel when inserted in ears.
Angled Headphone connecter works well when in your pocket .

Logitech Cons:
Shorter cable length.
Ear pieces, while interchangeable, don't feel like they'd last as long, but we'll see.
Had to use my phone's/tablet's volume control.

Zagg Pros:
Heavy bass sound for games and some music.
Heavier foam ear pieces, feels like they'd last longer.
Volume Slider on the microphone, so it works with every device.

Zagg Cons:
The cable's coating feels strange when directly touching my flesh.
90 degree angle on the headphone connector  kinda bothers me.
Wished the foam inserts were a bit softer.

Who are these for?
Well, if you are gaming on your device a lot, or like more bass in your audio, then the Zaggs are what you want. If you are into music and want crystal clear music production without enhancing the bass levels, then Logitech has your back.

Personally, I'm torn. the Zaggs seem to be what I want to use for my mobile gaming, but the Ultimate Ears make some music sound amazing.

The winner? It's a tie! My wife will be using the Ultimate Ears though, since I use most of my devices for gaming and the Zagg's bass levels make explosions sound better.

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