The Flyer is a pair of wireless earbuds specifically aimed at fitness and adventure fanatics.
Fitbit's first entry into the wireless headphone industry is finally here, and it's the Fitbit Flyer. These are Fitbit's $129 pair of wireless headphones, that offer 6 hours of battery life, and can be connected to the Fitbit Ionic - the company's new smartwatch. At this price point, Fitbit has a lot of competitors, mainly from Jaybird, who has put out a number of great sport-oriented wireless headphones at this same price point. So the company is joining an already packed field of competitors, how well can the Flyer's do? Let's find out.
The Fitbit Flyer sports 6 hours of battery life, which can be recharged using a micro USB cable, there's no dongle or dock that needs to be used to charge these. Fitbit says that these offer "Premium Wireless Sound" but doesn't mention what kind of drivers are inside the Flyer so it's hard to judge how good these are on that front, but we'll talk about the sound quality a bit later. These are also durable and sweatproof, so they are made for running and hiking and just working out. There are also music and call controls with dual microphones built in. And these will work with any Bluetooth 4.2 smartphone or wearable - like the Fitbit Ionic - remember Bluetooth versions are backwards compatible as well, so if your smartphone is Bluetooth 4.0, it'll still work fine. Finally, the Flyer is available in two colors, Nightfall Blue and Lunar Gray.
In the Box
Inside the box, Fitbit offers up a pair of large and small wings and a pair of large and small fins, and then three sizes of ear tips. There is also a short USB-A to micro USB cable, as well as an owners manual. Fitbit has also included a short guide to the three buttons that are on the Flyer, so you know how they work. Fitbit also includes a nice little pouch for keeping the Flyer inside when they are not in use.
Setting up the Fitbit Flyer is very similar to any other pair of Bluetooth headphones. There is a button on the top of the right eartip that you will long-press and wait for it to turn on then tell you that it's in pairing mode. From there, you'll look for the Flyer in your Bluetooth settings and you'll be good to go. It works the same when pairing it with the Ionic as well. Jump into the settings on the Ionic (not the Fitbit app, but the actual Ionic) and then go to Bluetooth settings and you should see the Flyer. The Flyer is able to remember multiple devices at a time, but it will only connect to one device at a time, since this is not Bluetooth 5.0.
Hardware & Build
The hardware quality of the Flyer is actually quite good. It feels nice and premium, and like it could take some beatings. After all, Fitbit does say it is durable. As mentioned already, the right ear has the power button on the top, which is a really weird position for the power button, especially since almost every other pair of headphones puts it on the mic and button dongle further down (usually using the play button as a power button). But it is there, and it does work. Further down you have your inline three-button remote for controlling calls and music, which works as expected. Now on the back of the headphones or towards the middle, depending on how you are looking at them, there is a slider, so you can adjust the length of the cable, to fit more securely by giving you more slack or taking some away. It's quite simple and a nice feature to have. Of course, I found that tightening the Flyer around the back of my neck to not be the best way to use these headphones. The tail would stick up and feel weird on the back of my neck, so I ended up pushing the slider all the way down.
Now let's talk about the actual earphones part of the headphones. These are pretty small and lightweight, which is good, as it means that they won't be slipping around and falling out of your ears when you are jogging or running. However the fins and wings are one of the only downsides to these headphones. They clip to the outside of the earphone, which means you can't adjust them to put the headphones over your ears, like many like to do. You are stuck with putting them under your ear. It's not a big deal (and that's how I used headphones anyways) but some will not like that feature. And it's something that Fitbit will likely change on the next iteration.
During the review period, I mostly stuck with the fins on the Flyer, as they felt more comfortable in my ear, then the wings. The wings just kind of stick out and don't really give me any confidence that they are going to stay in my ears while running. But some people do like them, so again, it's good to see this option available to those that do want to use them. The ear fins, though, worked really well. They kept the Flyer in my ears without falling out and did not hurt my ears at all like some others do after long periods of listening.
Fitbit says that the Flyer has "premium wireless sound", but I'd disagree with that statement. The Flyer does have good, all-around sound, with some good bass and crisp mids and highs, but I wouldn't call it premium. I've reviewed other headphones in this same price range with better sound quality. There are two music settings, so you can get a bit more bass, but you can't fully adjust it with an equalizer like most other headphones. The sound is decent, and it will be good enough for most people, but if you're an audiophile looking for some good headphones for the gym, these likely won't be the ones you'd want to pick up.
That said, for a first attempt at a pair of headphones, the audio quality isn't bad. We've definitely heard worse from cheaper (and even some at the same price) headphones before. So Fitbit did good with its first attempt, but it does still have a bit to go, before it makes the best pair of wireless headphones out there.
Battery & Connectivity
Fitbit quotes that the Flyer battery life is around 6 hours of continuous playback. Now, this is going to depend on a variety of factors, as it always does. But in our testing, we found that these lasted around 7 or even 8 hours on some charges. So depending on what kind of music or audio you are listening too, the volume it is and such, you can actually squeak out a bit more battery on a charge. What's nice is that touching the power button on the Flyer will tell you the battery level, whether that is high, medium or low. And when it gets low, the Flyer will tell you that there is about an hour of playtime left, so you aren't left wondering how long before the battery completely dies, and gives you a chance to wrap up your workout before the Flyer is completely dead. Now the battery life isn't perfect, but it only falls short by about 2 hours, compared to others in its class. And a few, like the Bose SoundSport also sports only 6 hours, so there's not a whole lot to complain about there, but we are always hoping for a bit more battery.
These connect over Bluetooth and there's no companion app (even if you try to add them in the Fitbit app, it'll tell you to just turn them on and connect over Bluetooth), so connectivity is pretty cut and dry. It utilizes Bluetooth 4.2, so it has a range of around 30 feet. That is going to be plenty for most that are using these for working out and such. And in our testing, we found that there were very little drops in connection with the Flyer, which is very good to see. It dropped about once, throughout the two weeks of usage.
The Fitbit Flyer is a good pair of wireless earbuds. They don't come in as the best pair available, but also not as the worst pair available. But as a pair that will get the job done and keep most people happy. This is Fitbit's first audio product, so it's likely that the company will get even better with its next iteration of the Flyer or whatever other audio products it puts out. But right now, the company is betting that you'll see the Flyer next to the Ionic in the store and pick them both up. And since the Flyer can connect to the Ionic, it makes plenty of sense, as you'll be able to leave your phone at home when you go out on a run.