As a runner, I workout fairly regularly and always look for ways to complement my outdoor mileage with accessories for my iPhone. How did Musemini's Uberbuds perform? Read to find out.
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Review: UberBuds Bluetooth earbuds

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I’m a big fan of all things wireless. If we could get electricity to be wireless, I’d be in heaven.  Bluetooth is the current standard for connecting wireless accessories and I’ve reviewed many BT speakers and headphones, but never earbuds.

Uberbuds by Musemini were one of the first to be offered for review, and I quickly grabbed it. Over the past few weeks, I’ve given Uberbuds their due diligence and have a lot to report.

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Style

The Uberbuds come with a short rubberized, flat, tangle-free cord between the earbuds. The cord is perfect: it’s the right length, weight, and does indeed remain free of tangles (a reason to hate wires!).

As pictured above, the colors are pink, yellow, or black, and the flashy yellow makes the pair I received stand out and easy to locate. Personally, I’m not for the flash around the back of my neck, but it’s easy to misplace a back cord around my house, so I appreciate the splash of color.

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Features

The Uberbuds cord embeds a standard multi-purpose button and volume control below the right earbud (sorry lefties), and my experience with controlling volume on a MacBook Pro or iPhone was flawless. Pressing the multipurpose button to forward a track in a playlist was a little difficult – but I humbly admit to owning clumsy thumbs and often struggle with a multipurpose button on most wired earbuds.

The glossy black buds themselves are fairly lightweight considering there are drivers and a battery (batteries?) hiding in them somewhere. And surprisingly, after I figured out the best way to wear them (see below), they were comfortable during my regular 4 mile run.

The included microphone is superb. My initial use of the Uberbuds were for conference calls and video webinars, and nobody asked me to readjust so I could be heard (meanwhile the host held the Apple earbud mic and multipurpose button up to his mouth while he spoke).

These portable and lightweight earbuds let you blast your music and take any phone call with the premium Digital Signal Processing (DSP) and full duplex echo cancellation microphone. … take your meeting outdoors without the slightest hint of background noise.

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The angle of the diminutive drivers are such that there is only one correct way to insert these earbuds into your ear: far different from most circular earbuds. Uberbuds come with three sizes of rubberized fittings (small, medium, or large) as well as “Uberstays.” What are Uberstays?

To provide added support and stay protection, Uberbuds offers the UberStaysTM that hug the critical portion of your ear for added performance and support when you are focused on your sport.  They are optimized for long workouts and runs that required a high level of movement and activity.

From my experience in running outdoors, Uberstays are critical. Without them, I was constantly readjusting, fidgeting, and reinserting the Uberbuds during my hour’s run. With Uberstays in place, I only adjusted the right earpiece maybe three or four times and the left earpiece even fewer.

The outdoors is what Uberbuds were designed for – and with any Bluetooth device. With a sweatproof cord, rugged construction, and a Lifetime Warranty, the Uberbuds will likely outlast their rechargeable battery.

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Performance

According to their website,

Uberbuds deliver rich audio sound that is rare in such a compact and versatile package. With incredibly small size, light weight, and UberTöneTM drivers, it is perfect for music, phone calls, or games. …  Through a careful design process maximizing sound output without sacrificing sound quality, our UberToneTM is one of the main features that allow you to experience your music like you never have in a Bluetooth headset.  Range of up to 30 feet (line of sight distance).

And there’s some wins and losses here. I agree that their size and minimal weight is appealing – especially for outdoor activities. Sound, however, isn’t something I would say stands out to a trademarked driver. Is sound good? Yes! Is sound as stellar as advertised? Not so much. Wired earbuds (like the RHA brand I’ve reviewed here) perform stronger.

Another concern is Bluetooth connectivity. It seems that nearly all BT devices suffer from outages and brief skips. My experience with the Uberbuds was a mixed bag. While they advertise,

SignalROMTM (Range of Motion) is a key feature when using UberBuds during activities. It was designed to allow you to place your paired device anywhere near your body: short pockets, shirt pockets, gym bag.   Place your device anywhere near your body and UberBuds maintains a clear Bluetooth® signal with rich audio sound.  This results in skip-free and truly wireless music.

I experienced the very thing they claim wouldn’t happen when I was outdoor and running: skipping. The first time I wore my iPhone 4S on my left arm, the skips were unbearable – nearly every 5 to 10 seconds. Moving the iPhone to my right arm solved the problem.

The next time I used the Uberbuds on a run, I put my iPhone in a front hoody pocket. The connection was strong – until I turned my head to the right when the signal dropped and the music skipped. I replicated the problem during the first 5 minutes. After that, I could turn my head in any direction and the BT signal stayed connected. Odd, considering I did not move my iPhone (or my head for awhile).

If a question is whether the earbuds were charged, they were fully charged on both occasions. I couldn’t isolate any reason for the intermittent connection problem on these independent occasions.

On the other hand, I never experienced connectivity problems when using Uberbuds with a MacBook Pro and hours of use for webinars / conference call.

The verdicts: sound is a substantial but not spectacular; wireless connectivity is hit-and-miss, especially given the 30-feet promoted range.

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The alleged time between charges is nearly 8 hours. While my experience didn’t get to 8 hours, I got about 6 hours when using over a couple of webinars. A warning tone let me know that I had a few minutes before they powered off.

Recharging is easy thanks to their trademarked Budclip (above) which clips easily onto the right earbud. Just make sure the exposed pins make connection, which is indicated by a small recharging red light.

Overall

So should you? It all depends: the cost is $129.99 for rugged earbuds is a consideration, especially given the connectivity issues I experienced. If I’d had skip-free sound while working out, I’d endorse the Uberbuds without question. I will continue to use, test and report on any updates if it deserves it.

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Uberbuds are available here for $129.99

Uberbuds were provided for review at iSource.com. See the About tab for any questions about our review policies.

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