iPod and MP3 player users want to do their listening on the move – which means they look for light, portable earphones – preferably, the variety that sits snugly inside the ear. But for reasons that defy rational explanation, the free phones that the player-manufacturers throw in, are almost invariably a poor piece of engineering – more often than not, they keep slipping out of one’s ears, with every small jerk of the head.
If you are like me, you throw away these freebies ( or if you are a caring bloke like Bertie Wooster, in the Jeeves books, you give them away to the deserving poor) and invest in a pair of third-party earphones more suited to your mobile lifestyle.
If so the latest additions to the Ultimate Ears series from Logitech merit your attention – if you can bear the asking price ( I say this because in India they may cost more than you have invested in your portable music player). There are two models and four variants: The MetroFi 170 and MetroFi 200 are almost identical. Frankly, except for a bit of chrome in the casing, I could hardly tell the difference. The 200 is supposed to deliver a slightly better audio performance and some reviewers, with sharper ears than yours truly, speak of detecting better treble – can’t say I could tell the difference. There are also to versions MetroFi 170vi and MetroFi 200 vi – where they also include a miniature microphone – it separates at the play/pause/call button on the cable. This is a useful add-on that let’s you switch from listening to making a call. The MetroFi range fits into any iPod , MP3 player , Blackberry-type phone or laptop with a 3.5 mm jack.
All four models come with three different sizes of silicone ear cushions, useful, since we the users come in all sizes. Once you fit them snugly, there is a palpable reduction in ambient sounds – the makers claim 16 dB of noise isolation.
However it is worth remembering the noise reduction is a by product of the physical barrier of the silicone ear cushion – so don’t expect the more dramatic reductions that can be offered by electronically driven noise reduction circuitry that bigger earphones with built-in batteries can achieve
I would personally go for the MetroFi 170 vi which is just Rs 500 more than the Rs 3495 MetroFi 170. The MetroFi 200 costs Rs 2000 more at Rs 5495 and the MetroFi200vi is Rs 6495. If your player is some fancy piece of audio engineering, the 200 will possibly make sense. You get what you pay for, I guess, but the 170vi seems to be a paisa-vasool product for iPod owners unsatisfied with their original earphones.
The Logitech MetroFi earphones are distributed in India by Rashi Peripherals.-- Anand Parthasarathy, Oct 11 2009