(Source: Wired.com)

Ultimate Ears Super.Fi 4vi
My iPhone is the greatest thing in the history of stuff. It makes me smarter, sexier and better-smelling. I use it for everything from making calls, to listening to music, to sending e-mail, to taunting the homeless and other poor people with evidence of my opulent existence. In short, it has enhanced my life in every way, and has made me a better, more superior human being.

But those earbuds suck, yo.

Due to the recessed minijack — not to mention the need for a mic input — my options have been severely limited and for far too long my ear canals have suffered Ive’s indignity in white. But no more, as a slew (well, comparatively speaking, as opposed to none) of fancy new headphones are on the market from V-Moda, Skullcandy and these Super.Fi 4vis from Ultimate Ears.

The 4vi is a superb pair of earphones, and makes an excellent choice for any iPhone user. Everything about the form factor is perfect. Although it doesn’t come with as many tips as the V-Modas, the four pair that are included should fit just about any size ear canal. I was able to get a great seal that effectively blocked ambient sounds, and reasonably isolated loud external noises. The microphone is impossibly small, about the size of two peas, as is the switch that acts as a phone controller and Play/Pause/Skip button for the iPod. And hey, they’re just pretty to look at.

But seriously what’s form without function? Sound quality is stellar, much better than what we found on the (quite good) V-Modas. I tested by listening to classical, pop, rock, hip hop and jazz, and found them solid no matter which genre I chose. Unfortunately, I found country music still sounded like crap. Sound was accurately reproduced — they don’t pump up the bass at the expense of mid tones, as many in-ear phones tend to do — and were the best performers in head-to-head tests with other comparably priced in-ear models from Shure and V-Moda. While I still prefer over-the-ear noise-canceling headphones, for in-ear phones these are first rate, all the more so given the price.
There are a few quibbles, however. When the wind was blowing, the microphone was essentially unusable — on one occasion a caller even hung up on me in frustration. Yet when used in ideal conditions, callers reported that I sounded clear and distinct, and not at all drunk.

Other complaints? While all in-ear phones tend to pick up noises through the cables from body movement, it was especially pronounced with these — I could literally hear my heartbeat when I pressed the cable against my chest. It’s not really that bad though — these magnificent monitors are some of the best I’ve ever plugged into my beloved iPhone. — Mathew Honan

WIRED Super comfy tips. Great choice for exercising: mike and phone/iPod controller tiny and unnoticeable. All-around excellent sound, with solid bass, treble and midtones. Machined aluminum buds look slicker than an oil spill.

TIRED Perform worse than FEMA in windy conditions. Cables conduct noises from movement like a doctor’s stethoscope.

$150, ultimateears.com

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