For a frequent traveller, a good pair of noise cancelling, wireless headphones can make a flight a smooth transition across timezones or an energy draining nightmare. When we talk about a decent pair of over ear headphones, Logitech isn’t exactly the first name that springs to mind. With the UE line, i’ve always been a little wary after my own personal pair of IEMs went from awesome to unusable in a relatively short time. At RM1,299 this isn’t exactly a budget pair so I wanted to see what the UE 9000 was made of. After realizing I had a bout of travelling to do in a short space of time, this was the perfect time to put the UE 9000 through its real world paces.
What’s In The Box
The packaging for the UE 9000 is a little on the bulky side, a semi-hard shell zip case with neoprene inserts to keep the 3.5mm cable (with mic and controls), USB cable and adapter as well as a moulded grip for you to flip the earcups forward when in the case. I would have preferred to be able to fold the headphones down and then slot it into a case, saving valuable space in my hand-carry luggage. It certainly is not the most fully kitted out offering but it’s enough for what i’d use it for.
Design & First Impressions
The wonderful thing about these headphones is that they don’t look like they will break in 2 with a bad drop or scratch at the slightest hint of mishandling without white gloves and when talking about frequent travellers, this is a great thing. While the glossy surface may be a fingerprint magnet, the build quality, especially around the headband is second to none; The cushioning and flexibility make up for the fact that they are not fully foldable. The earcups can fold 90 degrees for easier storage in the included case as well as for a more comfortable fit and the profile of the headphones are not too bulky. Design wise, Logitech have hit it out of the park here.
There are 2 ways you can use the UE9000s, either wireless or with the included wire (with microphone and phone controls). With the wired option you can use it without the noise cancelling mode on and it returns rather good results. Wirelessly, this is where the UE9000 shines. Connecting via bluetooth is as simple as it gets and the quality of sound, especially with the active noise cancellation on is quite phenomenal.
Let me share a story with you about my recent trip to Bali for the Samsung Forum. At the beginning of the flight, I plugged in and started listening to my regular Above & Beyond Group Therapy podcast and was completely tuned out to the world. Halfway through I took out my Macbook Pro and connected it to the headphones and put on an episode of Top Gear which I watched until we descended and I switched back to #ABGT. Midway through I noticed a stewardess talking to a person a few rows in front of me for an extended period of time but i thought nothing of it. Upon landing and while we were getting ready to disembark, I removed my headset, not feeling any strain on my head or neck, battery still going strong and found out that that individual was caught smoking in the airplane toilets, set off the alarm and was reprimanded rather loudly for all to hear. I didn’t hear anything.
Now to the bad things about this headset. Firstly the button placement on the headphones are very very prone to accidental input that when connected to your computer will fire up iTunes or your media player of choice, just by your natural grip of the headphones. Slide them on further and you may accidentally hit the passthrough button on the top left cup, muting your audio source and creating a passthrough enabling you to hear the surroundings in an albeit hollow and tinny way. On top of this, I would really rather have it be foldable, making it that much more portable. Even if it did last my entire Bali -> KL Flight (around 3 hours), it would have been harder if I hadn’t had a USB cable on hand to flash charge the thing.
The Logitech UE series of audio equipment are not exactly known for being hardy or even lasting that long, neither are they known for being particularly luxurious or good for audio (after Logitech took over). The UE 9000 is an outlier to that fact with both amazing sound, great features, comfortable fit and a beautiful premium design. I’ve ditched my regular UE900 IEMs for this when travelling and can’t imagine a media trip without it. I’m going to need it and a powerbank for my upcoming flight to Beijing but hey, at least I’ll sleep that much better.
The Logitech UE 9000 is available now for RM1,299