- Above average sound
- Doesn’t really keep pace with the competition
A decent IEM choice, but we’d recommend the Etymotic or Shure entry level models over the UM1 if you’re looking in this price bracket.
Price$ 210.00 (AUD)
We've had a lot of IEMs (In Ear Monitors) come through the office recently. Westone's UM2s were a bit of a surprise packet and wound up as one of our favourite models, however their little brother, the UM1 failed to impress us as much. The UM1 comes in at the bottom of the price spectrum, making it an entry level model, competing with units such as the E2c and E3c from Shure and the Etymotic ER6i. It does have some qualities that make it worthwhile to listen to, but in the end it doesn't really outshine the competition in any major way.
We found the sound to be a little veiled, that is, hidden sounding distant, like listening through a piece of cloth. This may have been a result of our placement, but we tested them extensively and the sound never improved. Some may enjoy this kind of presentation, but we find it very difficult to get involved with our music when it sounds like this. Many headphones present the music engagingly without being in your face, but this model seemed to take it a little too far.
This also resulted in everything sounding a little thin, which was quite noticeable next to the exquisitely rich sound of the Shure models. We found the level of musical resolution to be a little lower than the competition, but still infinitely better than any cheap portable headphone you'll be likely to try. The separation between guitar plucks for example wasn't quite on the same level as the Shure E3c.
The soundstage however was quite impressive, on par with most of the more expensive units. The airy sound gave the feeling of a large concert hall, and whilst IEMs seem limited in the depth with which they can present music the UM1 did an admirable job. Overall the sound quality will impress most people, but doesn't quite match up to that offered by companies like Shure.
As IEMs, the UM1s also have the nifty quality of isolating you from external sound. They have a rather large build for an IEM and as a result isolate even better than normal. The result? If you've got music on, you'll be blocking out everything, annoying colleagues, passing traffic, full marching bands, you name it. It also offers the reverse benefit of keeping your music for you, meaning they're perfect for use in an office. Be warned however, as we did find the UM1 design a little uncomfortable. All IEMs are actually inserted into the ear canal, rather than just resting outside, which always takes a little getting used to, however compared to the other models we tried, the bulkier driver unit meant the UM1 became slightly painful after prolonged use. It wasn't nearly as bad as the pain we encountered with the Shure E5c, and was fixed by removing the unit for a few minutes, but they definitely aren't on the same comfort level as the lower Shure models.
Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 HP Stream 11 laptop
- 2 B&O BeoPlay A2 portable Bluetooth speaker
- 3 Acer Chromebook 11 (CB3-111)
- 4 Asus Zenbook UX303LN Ultrabook
- 5 Samsung's Galaxy Alpha review: A peek into the Galaxy S6
Best Deals on GoodGearGuide
Latest News Articles
- Hotel group asks FCC for permission to block some outside Wi-Fi
- North Korean Internet connection hit by outages
- DirecTV won't show 'The Interview,' others won't say
- Judge nixes HP's settlement of shareholder suit over Autonomy
- Simpler M2M connectivity promised as Sierra Wireless buys Swedish company
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.