Having been quite happy with my Sony mdr-ex71's for almost five years, it was time for something new.
I've always preferred in-ear 'head'phones due to their portability and sound quality.
Having never paid much attention to the Ultimate Ears brand, I was glad to see that these MetroFi 220's were available for significantly less than their $80 price tag.
The most important part is the sound and having read just about every review and scrap of information about them I wasn't sure what to expect!
In my opinion the sound is fantastic - regardless of the price. If you want to bring the price into it then for the money, these are an absolute steal when it comes to sound clarity and quality.
If you pick the correct sized ear cushions to get a nice tight fit, you will get solid bass and wonderfully clear highs and midrange sound.
The best way to describe the sound difference in terms of clarity compared to other earphones I've had is simple:
You hear 'MORE' of the music.
One of my favourite albums, Depeche Mode's Violator, is around 20 years old. I've listened to that album hundreds if not thousands of times and with these Ultimate Ears I have heard details that I've never noticed before when listening on any of the audio equipment I've ever had (that includes some fairly expensive home Hi-Fi gear).
On top of this, they do give some isolation to external noise but this very much depends on you choosing the correct silicone ear cushions.
Shiny shiny shiny. The earphones look pretty classy with their chrome appearance. I find that the fit is great when you've picked the correct size silicone cushions and they aren't as heavy as they look. You'll see what I mean!
The cable is really my only dislike. It's much better than the one on my Sony earphones as the 220's have got a rubber/plastic feel. This helps stop them getting tangled up compared to the likes of more rubbery ones (iPod for example). It does mean that the cable naturally doesn't want to stay curled up so keeping them in a pouch or the supplied case (we'll get to that in a minute!) is best.
Further up the Ultimate Ears range you do get better quality cable but of course that all comes at a price. The cable covering is fine and the cable within it has to be of a reasonable quality to provide that clear sound.
The plug/jack is a straight type like iPod/iPhone earphones. I've generally never been a fan of this type and preferred the right-angled plug. However, the straight connector means that having a case or shell on your phone or mp3 player should still allow this connector to have a smooth fit. It's certainly the case with my HTC Hero fitted with a rubber case. The straight jack fits better than the right-angled one.
As previously mentioned, the cable has a mind of its own and isn't easy to keep neat without putting it in a pouch or case. A case is included and it does the job but it's not going to last with regular use. The case itself is a great size and shape but the hinge will definitely wear out over time regardless of how careful you are. It'll do for a while but I'm using the case that came with my Sony's.
So let's sum up.
Incredibly detailed sound
Stylish/expensive looking earphones
Cheap case won't last
At 17.79 they are an absolute steal.