Earlier this year, Fitbit unveiled its very first smartwatch, the Ionic. That was certainly the biggest news to come out of the August announcement, but the company announced another product which flew under the radar. The Fitbit Flyer is the company’s first audio product, and it’s aimed squarely at what are currently the best workout earbuds on the market, the Jaybird X3.
Are Fitbit’s first workout earbuds worth your money, or should you pass them up for another pair? Let’s find out.
What’s in the box?
Upon opening the box, you’ll find the earbuds, a quick start guide, warranty information, a small microUSB charging cable, and a carrying pouch. Fitbit also included a little tray filled with three different sizes of ear tips (small, medium, and large), as well as two sizes of wings and fins (small and large). No foam tips were included in the box.
Build and design
The earbuds are comprised mostly of plastic and silicone, but the aerospace-grade aluminum accents make them look much more premium. That’s not to say the plastic makes them feel cheap however— I think it’s pretty clear that Fitbit took the design process very seriously with the Flyer.
I’m partial to the Nightfall Blue color option (the one in this review), though there’s also a Lunar Gray color that features Rose Gold accents. It’s pretty classy.
I’ve found the earbuds to be quite comfortable no matter how long I wear them. The stock wings gave me ear fatigue pretty quickly however, so you may consider switching to the fins if you’re planning on wearing them for more than a few minutes. Once you find a comfortable fit, the earbuds will stay secure no matter how much you move your head around.
The Fitbit Flyer remains comfortable no matter how long you wear it. You might want to switch to the ear fins, though.
The cable connecting the earbuds is flat and rubbery, and it’s hardly noticeable on your neck. On the right side of the cable, about two inches below the earbud, is the control module/microphone. This is how you’ll play/pause, skip tracks, increase/decrease volume, and access your voice assistant. The module isn’t too big or heavy, and is easy to use during workouts.
Unfortunately Fitbit didn’t make the earbuds water resistant, though they are sweatproof. There’s no official IP rating, though they feature a hydrophobic nano coating on the inside and out that’s supposedly rain, splash, and sweatproof. I haven’t run into any problems throughout the review period, though it would give me peace of mind if they came with a proper IP rating— especially considering the $130 price tag.
One of the nicer features on the Fitbit Ionic is the fact that it comes with 2.5 GB of storage for music playback when you’re on the go. The whole reason Fitbit made the Flyer is because it needed an audio product to sell alongside the smartwatch. So, as you’ve probably guessed, you can pair the earbuds with the Ionic.
The Flyer works great paired with the Ionic.
The earbuds come with Bluetooth 4.2, which means it sports a 32-foot range and supports A2DP, AVRCP, HSP, and HFP profiles. They can be paired to up to eight devices, and can be simultaneously connected to two devices. That’s especially handy if you have your Flyer paired to your Ionic and your smartphone. Even if you’re listening to music through your Ionic, the Flyer will relay phone calls (if your is smartphone nearby).
When you receive a phone call, you should have a seamless experience. That’s because there are two MEMS mics on the control module— one that picks up your voice, one that handles wind reduction. I received a call from my wife while I was wearing the earbuds, and she said call quality was crisp and clear. My voice sounded a bit tinny compared to my Pixel 2 XL, but it was still clear.
The Fitbit Flyer is compatible with Android, iOS, and Windows smartphones, which means you can summon Google Assistant, Siri, and Cortana depending on what type of phone you have. Just long-press the middle button on the control module and your voice assistant will trigger right away.
Throughout my review period, I only heard a handful of stutters when streaming music and podcasts. Not enough to be an annoyance, but still worth pointing out.
Fitbit says the earbuds are capable of lasting up to six hours on a single charge, and I’d say that’s almost accurate. I’ve been able to achieve a little over five hours with regular use. That’s not the eight hours that the Jaybird X3 offers, but it’s still pretty good.
When you do need to charge them, it will only take an hour or two to charge from empty to full. Fitbit also says you’ll get one hour of playback after a 15-minute charge.
The Flyer charges via microUSB, and there’s a small cable included in the box. Its a very small cable, so be careful you don’t lose it.
There’s no way to customize different audio profiles on the Flyer, though Fitbit included a Power Boost mode that amplifies bass and EQ. For the sake of testing however, I am using the Signature sound profile that’s activated by default. The majority of the testing was done on the treadmill at the gym and during runs outside around the neighborhood.
Throughout my testing, I’ve found that lows, no matter what I’m listening to, are just right. I prefer listening to punk/indie music when I’m running, and I’ve had no issues hearing plenty of bass. Sometimes you need that extra push when you’re running, so the Power Boost mode might be your cup of tea if you’re going outside for a run.
Fitbit put a decent emphasis on mids, though they could be louder. They also start to distort a little when the volume is turned up to max. For me this isn’t much of a dealbreaker, and I think they’ll be fine for most people.
Even when I’m listening to the squealing guitars and synth in Mystery Pills by Antarctigo Vespucci, I never noticed any piercing highs. Overall, the highs blend in with the lows and mids just right.
Accessed by simultaneously long-pressing the volume up and down buttons, Power Boost mode was built in partnership with Waves Audio. Waves is known for providing audio tools for records, films, and video games, and this is the first time the company has brought its sound technology to headphones.
The main thing you’ll notice after turning Power Boost on is the amplified bass. In fact, going back to the Signature audio profile after turning Power Boost on is a little jarring. This mode slightly distorts mids and highs, but not so much that I thought the audio quality was bad. It’s just much louder than the Signature profile— so loud that turning the volume up to max while in Power Boost mode will hurt your ears.
The Flyer comes with Passive Noise Isolation to help reduce background noise, and I think it does a great job. I was able to almost completely block out a couple people talking in the other room without the need to shut my office door.
With the Flyer, you get good audio quality and a comfortable fit wrapped up in a high-end design. The Power Boost mode is also helpful if you need a little more out of your music.
The Jaybird X3 also provides a good overall audio experience, though it does give you more control over how your music sounds. There’s a dedicated app that lets you choose from different presets and customize the sound to your liking if you have more particular tastes. It also tells you how much battery you have left, which is very helpful. If you like to fine-tune your audio, go with the X3.
Fitbit’s earbuds offer good audio quality, a comfortable fit, and a high-end design. But with other, more proven workout earbuds on the market, the Fitbit Flyer is a tough sell.
With that said, the Flyer is made to work seamlessly with the Fitbit Ionic. So if you’re an early adopter of Fitbit’s first smartwatch, you should probably go with Fitbit’s earbuds. Regadless, with other more proven workout earbuds on the market, the Fitbit Flyer is a tough sell.
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