Ultimate Ears' latest earbuds fit like in-ear monitors
After you mold some tips to your ears, a custom-made set arrives in 2-4 weeks.
Ultimate Ears brought its in-ear monitor (IEMs) expertise to true wireless earbuds in 2020 with the UE Fits, a set of buds with fancy tech that molds the tips to fit your ears. Despite the interesting premise, the earbuds didn't deliver on a lot of the basics you expect from an audio accessory these days, namely subpar audio and limited features. The Logitech-owned brand is back with a new take on custom-fit buds, only this time the company is making the process more like how you would order a set of IEMs with the UE Drops.
Indeed, the main attraction of UE Drops is the custom fit, which is coordinated via the company's FitKit. Once you place your order, Ultimate Ears will ship you a FitKit that the company says includes the "technology and information" to guide you though the process of taking your "earprint." More specifically, the kit shows you how to take impressions of your ears with an app, just like you would if you were ordering a set of the company's CSX IEMs. A set of eartips are molded to your ears with a warming process that looks similar to the light and heat method for UE Fits, only this time they're attached to a contraption you plug in. You then return the impressions and your pair of UE Drops are built to those specifications. You can expect to receive your pair about 2-4 weeks after the FitKit is received back at the factory.
Inside, 9.2mm drivers power the sound the UE describes as "revered by music professionals and music lovers alike." There's no active noise cancellation (ANC), but the custom-fitting tips should provide better passive noise isolation than most off-the-shelf earbuds. However, there is a transparency mode, allowing you to tune into your surroundings as needed. Dual beamforming microphones on the water- and sweat-resistant buds are there for calls, plus handy features like on-board controls, in ear detection and wireless charging are here too.
Ultimate Ears says you can expect up to eight hours of battery life with 14 additional hours in the case. A quick-charge feature offers one hour of use in five minutes. You can check your battery status in the UE Drops app, where you can also choose between sound presets, manage connected devices, configure voice controls and more.
The UE Drops are now available in the US via the Ultimate Ears website for $449, which means you'll pay a premium for that custom-tailored fit. The company says UE FitKit and UE Drops apps are available for both Android and iOS devices.