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Ultimate Ears 4

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At a Glance
  • Ultimate Ears 4

We previously reviewed Ultimate Ears' 4vi, a headset for Apple's iPhone. The 4 is the non-headset version, missing the inline microphone and phone/iPod controller but otherwise identical. Using a canalbud design, the attractive, gunmetal-gray aluminum earpieces are small and comfortable, and the thin, black cables produce only moderate cable noise.

Ultimate Ears includes five pairs of silicone eartips: four pairs of traditional canalbud tips in different sizes and one pair of dual-flange tips. I found the dual-flange tips to provide the best seal, which also meant the best noise isolation and bass response. The 4's sound quality is very good, including excellent detail and midrange. On the other hand, the 4vi's bass response is tight (non-boomy) but weak, even with a good seal; if you're a fan of prominent bass, or listen to a lot of bass-heavy music, the 4 definitely isn't for you.

The 4's headphone plug fits the recessed headphone jack of the first-generation iPhone. Ultimate Ears also includes several useful accessories: a tool for keeping the driver opening clear of earwax and other gunk, an attenuator cable for using the 4 with those far-too-loud headphone jacks on airplanes, and a hard-plastic carrying case. It's worth noting that when reviewing the 4vi, the cap on our review unit's case broke off within a few days of taking the 4vi out of the box.--Dan Frakes

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At a Glance
  • Ultimate Ears 4

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