Fitbit has gone full audio with the $129.95 Fitbit Flyer wireless earphones. A long way from their wrist-based fitness trackers, these chic, simple, sweatproof earbuds offer good sound quality for a first attempt at making headphones. Fitbit has stiff competition over the board, but they also have a few benefits that make them worth trying. These include superior comfort and powerful bass-boosted audio.
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A Fitbit for Your Ears
Flyer earphones come in two colors: Lunar Gray and Nightfall Blue. Both are attractive, with metallic accents on the earbuds and control box (rose gold for the Lunar Gray and gunmetal for the Nightfall Blue). Flattened cables extend from each earpiece, with adjustable clips for length to minimize bounce and slack when active.
The Flyer comes with a control box for adjusting volume, answering calls, and cycling through your playlist. It also has the power button to initiate pairing of the earbuds It can be a strange location, and it’s difficult to switch off when you wish to quickly change the energy; most wireless earphones with an inline remote integrate the power and pairing functions into among the buttons on the remote, instead of putting those controls on an earpiece.
Fitbit comes with a protective pouch, a USB charging cable and eartips for customizing your fit. You can also swap out the default fins with an increase of secure wings for tight fitting earbuds. We tried on a variety of fitbits, and settled on one that was the most secure, comfortable option.
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Focused on Fitness
Fitbit Flyer can’t do anything that other Fitbits and a vast array of third-party devices (i.e., Jabra Elite Sport earphones) can, so it’s hard to shake the feeling that they’re just an elaborate iPod Shuffle. This design is particularly good for fitness enthusiasts, not just runners.
The IP67 rating ensures that these earbuds will stand up to water splashes or dust and dirt, but they are not submerged-specific or fit the Apple Earpods.
You can pair the Flyer with two Bluetooth devices at once-a feature that emphasizes potential use as an Ionic accessory. Essentially, this gives you the choice of a phone-free workout because you can directly play music from the smartwatch. Fitbit Flyer earphones are designed to seamlessly sync with the Ionic, but any Bluetooth-enabled earphones will work.
The Fitbit Flyer’s battery life, however, is shorter at six hours. The Johnbird X3 offers an even longer battery life of eight hours. It can last through plenty of workout routines without a lull and has more than enough bandwidth for playlists.
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Although the Flyer lacks fitness features like heart-rate monitoring, its sound quality is surprisingly strong for a Fitbit first foray into audio. Power Boost provides the best sound quality for your workouts, even if it sacrifices some of the balance in other parts of the spectrum.
The earphones we tested were sound low-end with Power Boost on. They played our bass test track without distortion even when the volume was at maximum capacity. The drum hits had a satisfying thump to them, but they didn’t make head-rattling vibrations in Signature mode (though they provide solid rumbling when using that feature).
The tracks opening notes are clear and balanced, but lacked the low end frequency to provide any color. The sound of the electric bass is punchier in Signature mode, with a round feel that doesn’t carry very deep resonance. The vocals come through prominently in the mix, but they don’t overpower the percussion. In Power Boost mode, bass provides more slappy energy and funky presence; however it pushes louder frequencies such as the high
KMFDM’s new album “Ultra” sounds noticeably less intense when played through Power Boost mode. Though the driving guitar riffs are still powerful, the bass drums lack their usual punch and the album overall sounds less frantic than normal.. Start Power Boost, and it becomes a wonderful sludgy mess that properly antagonizes your ears with thumpy thrashing. The vocals lose some of their volume in this mode, but they’re still fairly easy to discern in the mix.
Comparisons and Conclusions
Fitbit Flyer doesn’t offer anything innovative, but provides a comfortable and sweat resistant fit which may be advantageous for the gym-going and workout enthusiasts. The fitbit flyer is surprisingly bassy and rich, perfect for keeping you motivated whether your at the gym or on the track.
The Jaybird X3 is an excellent alternative with the same $130 price. All three alternatives are good options for gym-goers, as they are sweatproof and have accompanying tracking features. Fitbit Flyer earphones may be worth your consideration even without their pedigree of being a fitness tracker company’s headphones.