In recent years, Logitech has transformed itself from being a purely PC peripheral company, selling keyboards, mice, and PC headsets, into an all-aspects entertainment brand. The keyboards and mice are still prominent, but they’re joined by iPad and iPhone accessories like the Ultrathin Keyboard Cover, remote controls like the Harmony Touch, and high-quality headphones under the Ultimate Ears brand.
At the top of the over-the-ear headphones pile is the UE 9000, a $499.95 pair of cans aimed at travellers and commuters.
Logitech UE 9000: Design and features
The Logitech UE 9000 headphones are made from thick, strong plastic, with a flexible headband and ear-cups that sit over the wearer’s ear. The ear-cups sit on articulated joints that mean they can conform to the shape of the wearer’s head, as well as swivelling flat for transport in the included hard carry case.
Our gripe with the headphones’ design is that the top headband is only very slightly padded in the top third, and not padded at all on the outer two-thirds. This means the headphones can be slightly uncomfortable on the wearer’s head, especially if you’ve got a close-cropped hairstyle.
The headphones are finished in gloss black, satin gun-metal, and accents of bright metallic blue — they’re stylish, with a modern bent that means they’re slightly better suited to the cashed-up university student than the jet-setting businessman.
The right ear-cup is where the action happens. There’s a power switch up top, which also enables and resets the Bluetooth pairing. An Apple-style three-button volume control is on the back of the ear-cup when it’s on the wearer’s ear, so it can be easily found with touch alone. The central button of the volume control panel functions to skip and pause tracks, as well as answer or hang up phone calls — stereo microphones built into the UE 9000 mean you can answer a call without interrupting your music.
There’s a micro-USB port on the base of the right ear-cup, for charging the headphones’ internal lithium-ion battery via a PC or the bundled wall charger. Alongside that is a 3.5mm headphone jack, to which the bundled 1.3m-long cable, with its own three-button control, can be connected.
It’s important to note that if you plug in the headphone jack, Bluetooth is automatically disabled, although the headphones’ active noise cancelling remains switched on. Connecting the headphones through either method is simple, and the included quick start guide gives you a hands-on run-through on pairing the headphones with one or more devices.
Logitech UE 9000: Performance
The Logitech UE 9000 headphones perform, to our ears, identically over either Bluetooth or the wired 3.5mm headphone jack connection. This is a testament to the good choice of Bluetooth codec used, and it means that unless you’re listening for the most minute and scientific differences, you’ll be satisfied with the sound quality over Bluetooth.
The headphones’ 40mm drivers are, like any other Ultimate Ears products, good performers at any volume, with a rich and warm sound that’s pleasing to listen to at either low or high volume levels. We’d rate the UE 9000 alongside the Audio-Technica ATH-ANC9 for overall detail in music and speech — they’re surprisingly spacious and open for a pair of noise-cancelling headphones.
The Logitech UE 9000s’ noise cancelling is, in our opinion, the headphones’ weakest aspect. It does make a difference, slightly cutting out some external noise from our office’s air-conditioning, desk fans and desktop PCs, but it’s not as effective as the noise cancelling we’ve heard from several other headphone brands. It also introduces a slight, but audible, high-frequency hiss into the headphones.
Logitech rates the battery life of the UE 9000 at 20 hours with noise cancelling enabled, when listening through the 3.5mm analog audio jack. This falls to 10 hours when listening over Bluetooth. In our testing, we reached the 10-hour Bluetooth figure almost perfectly, although we only got to just over 19 hours via the analog jack. Considering the reasonably quick charging time, and the fact that you don’t have to buy disposable batteries, we were impressed with the UE 9000’s battery life.
Logitech UE 9000: Conclusion
The high price of the Logitech UE 9000 is what’s stopping us recommending them outright. If you can find them for a significant discount where they begin to compete with the Audio-Technicas, Boses and Polk Audios in the sub-$400 price range, we’d give them serious consideration for the convenience of the combination of Bluetooth and high-capacity internal battery.