Fitbit’s first earphones do a decent job of music playback, but lack a real unique selling point to stand out.
- Decent sound quality
- Multiple fitness ear tips
- Easy pairing with Fitbit Ionic
- No specific fitness features
Fitbit made its name developing fitness-friendly wearables to help promote an active lifestyle. The Fitbit Flyer is perhaps the biggest step away from that original vision, albeit a completely natural one to make. These compact earphones are designed to seamlessly connect with the Fitbit Ionic smartwatch, but can also be considered for anyone looking for a pair of performance sports earphones.
From the very first glance of this debut set of earbuds from Fitbit, it’s obvious that these are designed to keep you company during a workout.
The two earbuds are connected by a single cable designed to wrap around the back of the neck, with a small tie allowing you to tighten or loosen the strap to your liking. Controls are located towards the right-hand earbud, and naturally, rest around your jawline for when you’re using the hands-free functionality of a Bluetooth connection.
Fitbit, like many other players in this space, understands that a comfortable, secure fit is essential for success with in-ear sports headphones, and so the Flyer comes with a large selection of different connections, from ear tips to wings and fins. It won’t do much to sway you towards an in-ear design if you don’t like the feeling of earbuds in your ear holes, but thanks to the variety of supplied attachments you can get a good fit, even if it takes a bit of time to experiment.
The power button is sneakily hidden on the right earbud, and is easily missed, while the standard music controls are located on the in-line remote, with a standard volume up, volume down and play/pause button array.
While Bluetooth headphones from the likes of Jabra have gone about working a digital fitness tracker and heart rate monitor into the headphones themselves, Fitbit’s background as a wearable manufacturer keeps the fitness features on the wrist. Instead, the Flyer features an easy pairing function with the Fitbit Ionic smartwatch, allowing you to go for a workout or a run without your phone and still enjoy the music you managed to get onto your smartwatch (no small feat, but we’re not reviewing the Ionic here).
If you don’t have an Ionic, you can still pair the Flyer with a smartphone via the standard pairing process. Fitbit will let you pair the Flyer with eight different devices, including two simultaneously.
When it comes to sound quality, the Flyer offers a decent response in the default listening mode. It’s a bit weak on the bass, but the mid and high end balance out fairly well.
But Fitbit has countered this by integrating Waves technology into the headphones via a Power Boost mode. By pressing the volume up and down buttons at the same time, you can cycle through the different playback modes.
In Power Boost mode, there is a definite boost to bass, along with a more immersive sound range. During the review process, we pretty much left it in Power Boost mode the entire time, because it actually does make that much difference to the sound output. Of course, Power Boost comes at a cost, and that cost is… power. You can definitely expect to burn through the juice a bit quicker with Power Boost active, though you should still comfortably get enough battery life for your workout.
The Fitbit Flyers sound pretty good for a pair of fitness headphones, especially with the Power Boost mode activated. But how do they handle general use?
Thanks to all those different custom fit options, getting the Flyers to sit securely in your ears isn’t an impossible task, and even though I’m not the biggest fan of in-ear options, I kept these in for hours without any major issues.
It’s a little disappointing that there aren’t any real “fitness” features in these headphones, especially given the name on the label. But the truth is that they are really designed to complement a Fitbit wearable, and in those situations, the headphones work well. You’ll get all your workout information delivered by either the Fitbit app or your Fitbit Ionic smartwatch.
If you’ve selected the latter, you’re obviously going to be limited in where your music comes from, with the smartwatch still lacking a Spotify app.
Fitbit claims you’ll get about six hours of juice from the Fitbit Flyer, and our testing lines up with this, with the Power Boost setting dropping the battery life down a bit faster.
Fortunately, the Flyer also offers quick charge functionality, so 15 minutes on the charger is good for a solid hour of playback.
Considering the size and compact nature of the Flyer headphones, six hours is a pretty respectable battery life, and unless you’re running a marathon, should do the trick for most workout scenarios.
With solid sound, decent battery life and enough customisation options to fit almost any set of ears, the biggest question hovering over the Fitbit Flyer fitness earphones is “why?” Why should you choose the Fitbit Flyer instead of any of the millions of other pairs of fitness headphones from brands that have a long history in making headphones?
And it’s this question that Fitbit doesn’t quite answer. Sure, owning a pair of Flyers won’t leave you disappointed on the sound quality front and will keep your music pumping all through your workout… but so will practically every other pair of Bluetooth fitness earphones.
Fitbit Ionic users get the ability to quickly pair the Flyer with the smartwatch, but the downside there is that the Ionic is still a far cry from the Apple Watch as a music-playing workout companion, and so the benefit is limited.
Fitbit owners may choose to keep their wearables in the family, but for anyone else considering fitness headphones, Fitbit does a good job performance-wise but lacks a real wow-factor to stand above the rest of the pack.
The Fitbit Flyer earphones are available now for an RRP of $199.95.
- Product Name
- Fitbit Flyer
- Frequency Range
- 20 Hz to 20 kHz
- Driver size
- 25 x 20 x 18 mm
- 20 grams
- Bluetooth 4.2