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GadgeTell Review: Snuggbuds Fusion earbud headphones

Sections: Audio, Headphones, Reviews

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When it comes to earbuds, I’ve found two recurring perspectives– those who use them, generally in their daily lives and those who refuse them, opting for traditional, over-the-ear style headsets. The former group enjoy the spruce and lightweight portability of buds, while the latter may complain of discomfort. I consider myself somewhere in the middle, preferring neither in particular. The Southern California-based Snuggbud, self-expressed “fans of both action sports and technology,” understanding what it means to create a solid pair of in-the-ear headphones — and with their latest Fusion, they’ve succeeded, providing features with both perspectives in mind.

Regardless of their presence that the company has in the world of sports enthusiasts, the Fusion is a headset that any mobile music listener will enjoy. As they call it, “from average easy listeners to active, hard-core weekend warriors,” the Fusion packs impressive ‘full-range’ sound in a super-sturdy aluminum alloy casing that is perfect for daily workouts but also suffice while catching a train ride uptown.

The interchangeable silicon ear gels fit so ‘snug’ and discretely, they’re made to go the distance. Most importantly, they stay in your ears, even covered in sweat– frankly, who better to create a comfortable pair of earbuds than athletes who depend on them practically? Riding my bike into the office each morning, defunct trolley tracks, cobble stone and ill-paved city streets haven’t yet presented a bump to knock these little guys out.

Also in terms of comfort, the Fusion is so appealing that unyielding bud-haters could even sport these. The 1.2m length cord adds little weight, so your head doesn’t feel heavy after a long listening session. Although non-buds can better keep outside noise out, these plug out exterior noise more effectively than other pairs that I’ve tested.

A clip-on cotton-wrapped cord affixes them to your shirt for added reinforcement and prevents irksome tangling. On that note, one criticism that came up is that although good-looking and practical, the netted fabric around the wires is definitely not shred-proof and hardly that thick. Catch it accidently on a jacket zipper and you can be pretty disappointed pretty quick.

When not in use, the head set can be rolled up and stashed conveniently in the included wristlet draw-string sack.

Providing ‘fusion’ technology for smartphones with a full-control, in-line microphone, the Fusion can be used for phone calls on iPhones or any other device that accepts direct-connect 3.5mm two-way inputs (though non-Apple phones may lack the click control feature.) Its plug-in and go, and I’ve found no problems on my iPhone with the click button; again, even while bike-riding.

Overall, the sound quality is excellent and the 20-20,000Hz frequency range makes it hard to believe that such a powerful spectrum of sound emits from such tiny drivers. Personally, too much bass is never enough and luckily for me, the Fusion lacks hardly any low-end– in fact, almost to a fault.

Though Purple Rain is as intoxicating as ever, I’m left wanting more in that trademark Prince’-squeal’ vocal range. Actually, the entire high frequency range — your piano and guitar channels, particularly — feels a bit lost underneath the overwhelming bass drum hits and electric bass guitar groove (though not a complete detraction, surely.)

The Fusion’s mids too, are there but lacking some necessary spotlight and appearing dimly in the shadow of a booming bass synth. Music with deep lows are a real treat, of course. Black Sabbath’s Paranoid and Coltrane’s Giant Steps are two personal favorites when I’m zoning out into a good book.

Snuggbuds produced a first-rate product and it seems like they have a great thing going. With a $69.99 listing on the company website, paying an extra $40 dollars over the Apple earbuds, just for the superior sound caliber alone seems reasonable. Log-in to their website, Snuggbuds.com and chose from an extensive array of cool color schemes. Also, an insider tip: ‘Like’ them on Facebook and score 10 percent off your purchase from their ‘social store.’ Plus, I should also mention the 6-month warranty listed on the packaging.

Furthermore, be sure to check out the Snuggbuds semi-professional athlete team. Spotlighting on various alternative sports, the company sponsors young skateboarders, skimboarders, surfers and a cycling team, the Wonderful Pistachios. Does your headphone company do that?

It’s refreshing to read in their mission statement that the Snuggbuds brand “was not generated for fame or to hide behind fame of celebrities who use them.” They seem to understand that earbud usage can be polarizing and their extra effort put forth is apparent. Regardless how you may feel about them, with Snuggbuds you can trust an awesome listen, which for those who feel in opposition of buds have perhaps never yet experienced.

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  • Anthony

    Definitely superior to other brands I have purchased. I was blown away by how well they stay in my ears, especially on heavy trail rides…both on the moto 250 and my cannondale. I have smaller ear canals, and these stay in comfortably without the feeling that something is intruding. Sound quality is pretty damn good. I bounce from Floyd to Metallica, classical to techno… smooth transitions all around. 2 thumbs up guys.

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  • Matthew Marchesano

    Couldn’t agree with you more. I was truly surprised by how resilient they were. Suctioned into my ears without a heavy feeling and without an uncomfortable sticky feeling. Glad they fit your needs as well. Thanks for reading, hope to hear from you again and be well.

  • Chris

    I bought their headphones at the WDW Marathon expo and one of the buds fell apart at mile 21. I just got off the phone with a guy that said he was an owner. After telling me I deserve a refund, he said he will NEVER send me a refund for their defective product because my return letter was rude. His piece of junk product fell apart 21 miles into a marathon and let me down when I needed it most and I somehow am the bad guy. Beware!

    • Matthew Marchesano

      Wow Chris, that is terrific. Terrifically unfortunate. I’m sorry to hear that experience.

      When I was testing them (and I still use them somewhat regularly, I should add) I wasn’t taking them on such an intense endurance test. But talk about bad timing! Well, hope you find the buds that fit your needs best, I’m sure you will.

      And please let us know which next pair of yours that end up going the distance. (Real life testimonials tend to usually be the best buying guide, right?)

      Thanks in advance and be well.

  • Cristina Marquez

    They are comfortable and they stay on, unfortunately the cable fell apart like a $99 cent piece of hardware. I expected these to last at least a year, I purchased this in October 2012 and in April one ear bud went and today the second, I am playing with them like I did with my $10 pair. This is very disappointing. I look up the warranty and apparently they feel six months should be enough time. I am very disappointed, now I need to find something different.

  • Shari

    I purchased a pair of SnuggBuds Fusion earbuds for $69 at the Disneyland Race Expo less than two weeks ago, and already the remote has a crack in it and the mic no longer works.

    In the past I’ve used cheap Samsung earbuds that have lasted for well over a year, as well as higher quality earbuds that have never broken on me. I’m pretty disappointed in the quality of this product. I am not rough on my gear and take impeccable care of my things.

    I’m sending mine in for a replacement since, if you buy it at a race expo, “All sales are final.” Buyer beware. I’d rather just get a full refund for the money I spent on this poor quality product.

  • L.P.

    I purchased mine at the NYC Half 2014 Expo. Worked well for about 2 months and have to agree that they do stay in your ear quite well for regular road running. The fabric cord is good and seems durable. The audio itself has become defective. The music is going in and out, low and high. Sending mine back for replacement.

    Be sure to register your product to ensure the 6 month replacement warranty.