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V-Moda BassFit Review: Good Wireless Earbuds for Exercise

The V-Moda BassFit offers great durability and sound but isn't suited for all ears.

Our Verdict

The V-Moda BassFit offers great durability and sound but isn't suited for all ears.

For

  • Excellent audio quality
  • Durable, sleek design
  • Long battery life
  • Reliable noise isolation
  • Plenty of ear tips and fins

Against

  • Can quickly cause discomfort
  • Poor tactility
  • No companion app or EQ settings

V-Moda is responsible for some of our favorite audio products. The XS on-ear headphones and Remix Bluetooth speaker share Tom's Guide Editors' Choice badges, while the Forza Metallo wireless earbuds received a favorable review from us and other top critics. Establishing a strong presence in most headphone categories over the years, V-Moda has only one area yet to conquer: fitness. Enter the V-Moda BassFit.

Boasting the company's new TriFit design, which uses hooks and fins to secure a tight fit, these wireless earphones also offer deep, punchy bass and sturdy craftsmanship, promoting a promising core of features designed to enhance workouts. If only they weren't so uncomfortable.

Design

All V-Moda earphones and headphones are built with durability in mind. The BassFit not only upholds the company's design DNA, but it also takes it in a more aggressive direction, with sportier aesthetics and ultrarugged materials.

Clothing the entire device is two-layer nanocoating technology that V-Moda claims makes the earphones "fully sweat- and water-resistant." After a week's worth of exercising and profuse sweating, my test unit still looks immaculate.

The two earpieces each have built-in magnets, which connect them together, securing the earphones around the neck. They also have a uniquely sculpted cavity that sticks out farther, to prevent the hard-shell casing from pressing into your ears. The control module is solidly built, and the tangle-free cable has some elasticity, which will prevent the cord from breaking if caught on something.

The BassFit boasts a minimal, yet sleek look similar to that of the Beats Powerbeats3, but with minor flair. It is available in two colors, black and white, and has striking details, such as the accented company logo on each earpiece and colored buttons on the control module. The black version remains the more popular option.

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V-Moda bundles its earphones with a variety of personalized fit accessories, including one set of ActiveFlex metal memory ear hooks, three ActiveFlex sets of ear fins and eight pairs of the company's BLISS (Bass Level Isolating Soft Silicone) ear tips in different sizes. A micro USB cable and mesh travel case complete the package.

Comfort and Fit

The BassFit earphones won't weigh you down, although they can create some discomfort based on your ear shape. At 0.6 ounces, the BassFit is heavier than the Jaybird X4 (0.5 ounces) but much lighter than the Beats Powerbeats3 (0.8 ounces).  

V-Moda advertises three different fitting options for securing the best on-ear placement: using the hooks, the sport fins or both at the same time. While the hooks do a great job with stabilization, they're incredibly firm and painful to put on. The combination of ear tips and wings helps keep the BassFit locked in. I ran on different terrains, and not once did the earphones fall off.

Unfortunately, I had to keep listening times short, because wearing the BassFit for a long time caused some aching. Staying active made me numb to the pressure applied on my concha. I felt this unwanted pressure most when stopping for breathers and testing the headphones at home. An hour might be the max you'll want to wear these, depending on your pain threshold. I found the Powerbeats3 to be more comfortable and gentler on my ears.

Controls and Setup

V-Moda's command scheme on the BassFit feels impractical in certain areas, especially for fitness users. The control module, which features a micro USB port on the side, is placed too high on the cable, making it difficult to locate when you're running or standing.

There are plus and minus buttons to control volume, and a multifunctional button in the middle manages calls and music playback. One press will answer or end a call or play or pause music. Two presses will skip a track. Three presses will restart a track or play the previous one. Pressing the MF and volume-up buttons together will activate your phone's native digital assistant, whereas performing the same action with the volume-down button switches the earphones over to another connected device.

Note that I'm saying "press" instead of "tap," as the buttons are stiff and require applied force to execute commands. The MF button is too flat and difficult to press at times. This also hinders activation of your digital assistant.

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To help with the pairing process, V-Moda left instructions on a sticker tag around the cable, sparing you from having to look over the Quick Start manual. Hold down the MF button for 5 seconds, and the earphones will enter pairing mode. Pay attention to the LED as it turns orange, access the Bluetooth settings on your device and enter the Pair New Device menu. Find and select V-MODA BassFit to connect.

Audio Performance

The BassFit earphones sounds similar to the company's premium wireless earbuds, the Forza Metallo, but with a stronger emphasis on lows. The BassFits delivered powerful bass that fueled my workouts, along with satisfying mids to balance out sound.

Putting the 10-millimeter drivers to the test, I queued up Hans Zimmer's Inceptionsoundtrack to see just how deep the bass can get on these babies. Answer: ridiculously deep. The composer's multilayered productions had good dynamic range and sound reproduction; each orchestral instrument had marvelous amplification and depth. The BassFit also handled the layered bass patterns and low frequencies on Led Zeppelin's "Dazed and Confused" superbly.

Even minimalist tracks like The Clipse's "Grindin'" showcased how detailed the audio was on these earphones. The impact of each bass thump provided an adrenaline boost during my runs. In particular, I appreciated hearing the record's other rhythmic elements, such as the crystal-clear snaps and hard-hitting snares.

Mids and highs tended to get trapped behind the bass, but only on certain songs. For instance, the empowering bass line and drums on Mary J. Blige's "Real Love" overshadowed the singer's vocals, bringing her voice down a notch. The boomy production on Kanye West's "Robocop" produced similar results, but with some extra distortion not caused by the auto-tuned vocals. The PowerBeats 3 also struggled with vocal clarity on both records.

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Some of these issues could have been fixed with an accompanying app that had customized sound settings or EQ modes. Jaybird offers this on the X4 and Tarah Pro, but it's missing on the BassFits.

Noise Isolation

The music selection at my gym is obnoxious. That's why I always seek out earbuds that form a tight seal and prevent anything from seeping into my ears. The BassFit keeps me focused on the treadmill every time. I wasn't distracted by the sound of banging weights or the terrible tunes blasting through the gym's ceiling speakers. When I was outdoors, I got different results, often hearing noise around construction sites and on train platforms.

Digital Assistant Support

Voice assistant activation is programmed into these earphones. You can pull up Google Assistant or Siri on the control module or do it directly through your smartphone. The built-in mic did a great job picking up my voice, even in drafty conditions. I could mouth off requests at Google Assistant without worrying about the program misinterpreting commands. It's a useful feature that came in handy when I was exhausted after workouts and using my phone to perform basic tasks during recovering time.

Battery Life

V-Moda rates the BassFit's battery life at 11 hours, but I managed to get 12 hours during my test run. That's double what the X4 (6 hours) offers, right on par with the Powerbeats 3's time (12 hours) and just below the Tarah Pro's result (14 hours). 

It takes a lot more than just wireless music streaming to deplete power, which I noticed during my workouts; an hour session at the gym didn't drain 1 percentage off the battery. I used the earphones for about 2-3 hours daily, translating to 4.5 days of use before charging was necessary. Fast-charging capabilities help juice up the earbuds more quickly, with 15 minutes garnering you 2.5 hours of playback time. The BassFit also comes fully charged out of the box.

Call Quality and Connectivity

The BassFit performed well as a calling headset. Voices sounded clear, though two callers said I sounded like I was talking into a speakerphone. In addition, my girlfriend noticed about a millisecond of cutout during our conversations, but nothing that required me to repeat words.

V-Moda isn't disclosing the Bluetooth protocol on the earphones, so we don't know whether they run on Bluetooth 4.2 or 5.0. Based on my experience, I would say it's the former. Most wireless earbuds operating on Bluetooth 4.2 provide up to 30 feet of wireless listening. The BassFit manages to stretch connectivity a few extra feet, hitting the 33-foot mark before there's a dropout. I kept my phone in the upstairs bedroom and roamed around the house answering calls and streaming music without a hitch.

Bottom Line

The $130 V-Moda BassFit is one of the market's most reliable wireless fitness earphones. It delivers the same bass-forward sound you have come to expect from the brand. Resolute battery life and connectivity help push workouts to the max. Fitness freaks wanting fewer distractions will also be grateful for the earbuds' noise isolation.

These aren't the comfiest option to sport, nor do they have cool features like customizable EQ settings or touch controls. Nonetheless, if you're a fan of V-Moda, then the BassFit seems like an ideal purchase. Otherwise, consider the X4 or Tarah Pro for a more adaptive and comfortable listening experience.

Credit: V-Moda