If you are a regular reader on this site and you haven’t read my recent update about Shorter Reviews, I’d encourage you to check that out before reading this review.
Ever since that first pair of headphones, I’ve kept an eye on V-MODA. When that model of over-ear headphones went wireless, then noise cancelling, I was strongly considering the purchase, but never pulled the trigger. And today, that same pair of headphones is now regularly used by my son; I have no doubt they will last long into the future for him.
But now, in the age of truly wireless earbuds being the defacto standard, V-MODA is back with the Bass Fit Wireless In Ear Headphones, a competitor to the countless non-noise cancelling, in ear, cable-around-the-back-of-your-head headphones on the market today. And at $129, the case for them has to be compelling: they are right in the middle of the market in terms of price range, but they’re not as well known a brand as Beats, Bose and Jaybird (to name a few).
The packaging was as unique an experience as my first V-MODA product: simple, expensive-enough (but not to the extent that it seems that I’m paying for the packaging), and defined by a very modern design and color set. The buds come in two color themes: white/gray, and black/orange. Both themes are sharp to the eye.
There are two big things I expect out of the product based on its name alone: the bass performance should be good, and the fit should set it apart from the competition.
In terms of design, these headphones come with a good number of ear tips and fins, far more than anyone will ever use. This isn’t the type of product you accessorize: it’s the type of product you fine-tune and never change again, and thanks to the plethora of fit options, I would guess that a good fit is going to be achievable for most.
The accessories all drive forward V-MODA’s “Trifit ergonomics,” focusing on three main components: ear tips, ear fins and ear hooks. The idea is, you can use any combination of the accessories, which come in multiple sizes (with the exception of the hooks, of which there is only one set), to customize the fit to your liking. If I’m being honest, it almost seems like there are too many options…but to V-MODA’s credit, I found an impeccable fit utilizing tips and fins that were perfect for me. I removed the hooks entirely and left them in the packaging, as I have no use for them—nor do I have concern that my customizations will result in them wiggling loose from my ears during any level of physical activity.
This style of earbud: the cable-around-the-back-of-your-head type that is heavily marketed as “workout” headphones, really annoy me. Maybe not as much as collar-style headphones, but still, I’m not sure what it is about these that just don’t work for me: regardless of how much I cinch the cable to raise it off my neck, it always catches on my skin when I turn my head back and forth, tugging on one ear or the other and ultimately breaking the nice seal provided by the ear tips. It’s not a huge deal I admit—they definitely aren’t in danger of falling out—but it’s at least enough to mention.
In terms of audio quality, considering that I like the lower end of the spectrum when it comes to music listening, these perform admirably. In fact, that’s my exact experience with my first pair of V-MODA over-ear headphones which had 50mm drives to really get the point across. What seems to be different, though, is that I can hear the bass but I can’t feel it—and it’s really kind of weird. It’s not bad by any means; most of the time, lower-cost earbuds that don’t carry a lot of weight leave something to be desired in bass performance, but that’s not true with the Bassfit Earbuds. I may not be able to really feel the rumble of the bass, but through some calibration of the buds V-MODA has been able to deliver an experience that is certainly a step above other lower-cost earbuds.
The mids and highs also perform admirably; at 75% volume these headphones get pretty loud (enough to make up for not being noise-cancelling), and there is no loss of clarity or reduced experience. At 100% volume, things start to get a bit questionable, but it’s not a personally sustainable volume, so that’s not a huge deal.
Then there are the other performance metrics, like battery life and Bluetooth capabilities. V-MODA advertises 11 hours of battery life, but I was getting probably half of that listening at 50-75% volume on regular basis, with a mix of audio and video content being consumed. At 25-50% volume for music only (if you want to use these at the gym), you’ll probably only need to charge once or twice weekly if you workout daily. And because the battery isn’t a high-performer (in my opinion), it charges pretty quickly. They are very lightweight, and some of that is because the battery is not as big as it could have been.
The bluetooth version seems to be 4.x, although it’s not disclosed by V-MODA on the packaging or their website. The earbuds can be paired to two devices at the same time, but handoff between those devices is a bit labor intensive. I also found them to perform well for video consumption, as there was no old school Bluetooth delay that some other headphones on the market still have.
The onboard controls are basic, and can also tap into your smart assistant; I found that performance to be average and good enough for most. The quality as a headset—for taking calls, etc.—is less than ideal; while my audio experience was fine, callers complained about me sounding like I was under water or being too far away. Even after adjusting the position of the in-line mic closer to my mouth, the experience didn’t improve.
And, what would an audio review be without the complaint of not using USB Type C for charging? These still use Micro USB. I also find it peculiar that V-MODA doesn’t have a companion app; there is no intended customizability for these straight out of the box, which could be a good or bad thing depending on the type of listener you are.
In terms of recommendations, these ear buds do the basics really well: great audio performance, perfect fit, and good enough battery life. I wouldn’t mind a bit more battery in exchange for slightly more weight, and adding Bluetooth 5 (officially) would make them better in terms of audio performance as well as lower in the power consumption department. Call quality was average at best, although this is probably not something you would buy with that in mind (primarily); it would be good enough to “get by” when needed.
But at $129, I don’t know if these are the best choice on the market. My last pair of headphones from V-MODA were about the same price, and I would take those over the Bassfit earbuds without hesitation (to be fair, they are totally different products, but still worth mentioning). At $100 I think these are a good value, so maybe if you have a gift card or some reward points and can reduce the price tag a bit, that would certainly help.
I’m happy I have them, but I don’t think I’ll use them much.