A pair of exercise earbuds has to do more than just muffle the sound of your labored breathing. They need to be durable and sweatproof, they need to stay in place when jostled, and they need to sound great. Of all the pairs we've taken out running, the Polk Audio Ultrafit 3000 might be the best buds yet.
What Is It?
Rough n' tumble earbuds from Polk.
Who's it For?
Runners, aerobicisers, gym rats.
They're in-ear earbuds that wrap behind the ears, and are mouldable to stay secure.
Put the top of the phones over the tops of your ears, press the buds into your earholes, and then pull the cord and pinch the tops of the buds to mould the shape to fit the backs of your ears.
The Best Part
Once you get the three flanges of the StayFit tips dialled in, the buds will not budge. Stayed put while running, doing pushups, sit-ups and burpees. If you ran headfirst into a wall, you'd probably knock out teeth before you dislodged these headphones.
Not quite enough bass. For workout gear, you want that thump, especially if you're trying to time your steps.
This Is Weird...
If you chew something, the buds instantly work their way out of your ear canal.
- Really, really clean audio. There's a nice overall balance, with good separation, so individual instruments don't get crushed together. Vocals and highs are especially clear. That said, the highs outweigh the lows. A steady snare or hand-clap is disproportionately loud.
- Everyone's ear holes are different, but I found that the SecureFit tips worked the best. They easily stayed in better than the others, and because the seal was tighter there was better bass performance than with the others. They look like construction earplugs, though.
- The memory foam produced the worst sound of the three. They were super comfy, but vocals got tinny.
- Comes with two cords of different lengths, three different types of tips in various sizes, and a nice carrying case. A choice in cord lengths is fantastic. If you run with your your music strapped to your arm, you don't want the super long cord — but you do want length if you need it to reach your hip pocket.
- Built in to the long cord, there's a mic, a volume up/down, and play/pause, which doubles as phone call receive/end. The mic is farrrrr from your mouth, though, so you'll have to bring it closer with your hand if you want anyone to hear you.
Should You Buy It?
We wish we'd had them in our Running Earbud Battlemodo, because they would have given the winning Sennheisers a good run for their money. The Ultrafits don't pack as much punch, but they don't let wind rush in like the Sennheisers did, and they're more versatile and comfortable. For clean, balanced audio, and durable, high-quality workout earbuds, the Polk Ultrafit 3000 can be yours for $130 or so. You will be happy. Unless the secret to happiness is thumpin' bass.
Polk Ultrafit 3000
• Weight: 14g • Sweat/water resistant: yes • Cord length: 14 inches and 41 inches included • Hands-free: Yes • Price: $129 RRP in Australia