Review: Ultrasone’s Zino S-Logic Natural Surround Sound Portable Headphones - Macenstein

Review: Ultrasone’s Zino S-Logic Natural Surround Sound Portable Headphones

ultrasone zino headphones

I often find it funny when I meet someone who is obsessed with their iPod or iPhone, yet continues to use the stock earbuds that ship with the device. Yes, they’re not the worst earbuds in the world (although they ARE some of the most overpriced if you need to buy a replacement set) but if you use them as your sole conduit of sound between your music player and your ears, then you are missing out on a large part of the music listening experience. To truly get the most from your iPod, you need to upgrade your earbuds to something a bit more professional.

The Zino S-Logic Portable Headphones by Ultrasone deliver a huge upgrade over your iPod’s stock buds for just under $100. These foldable, padded, over-the-ear headphones provide some of the clearest, most well-produced sound across all music types that we’ve heard in this price range.

ultrasone zino headphones


The Zino’s are billed as “travel” headphones, which basically means they fold up and come with a case. The case is actually pretty decent, and has a hard exterior and padded interior to keep your Zino’s safe while traveling. The Zinos are also quite light, but don’t quite come off as feeling cheap. There is a lot of nice-looking, shiny chrome-like material on the exterior ear pieces, as well as a set of nicely padded ear cups. These are not true “noise canceling” headphones that actually cover the entire ear, but they do provide a small amount of noise cancellation. The headphone cord is a nice length and a bit thicker than most, adding to the feeling of build quality. As you’d expect, the headband can be extended or shortened to accommodate all but the most misshapen of heads.

ultrasone zino headphones


The Zino’s use Ultrasone’s S-Logic™ Natural Surround Sound technology to create a noticeably rich audio experience. Ultrasone claims this technology can give you the feeling that you are listening to the music at a live performance by helping different instruments feel as though they are located in different locations and distances from you. I’m not sure I felt transported by the Zinos, but they really did do a nice job of reproducing various instruments and tones, and I actually noticed they brought forward a couple “hidden” instruments in some songs which had gone unnoticed despite my having heard them dozens of times. I found the overall audio-listening experience became one of re-discovery as I kept flipping through my favorite tracks, listening for subtleties I missed the first 100 times around with my old buds.

ultrasone zino headphones


My only real issue with the Zino’s is that although they give you a great bang for your buck sound-wise, they don’t give you much else. Sure, they come with a travel case, but I actually would have traded that in a second for an in-line remote. Despite the far superior sound experience the Zino’s delivered, I kept finding myself going back to my earbuds simply because I couldn’t pause my music, adjust volume, or skip songs without pulling the iPhone out of my pocket. I suppose it all depends on how you listen to music, but I didn’t realize just how many times a day I use my remote until it was missing. If you were sitting alone listening to music or watching a movie on your iPod, odds are this wouldn’t be a problem, but I listen to my iPhone all day at work, and between coworkers, phone calls, and just me needing to stop the music so I can watch some stupid video on the web, I found I really missed the remote. And of course the Zinos also are lacking a microphone for iPhone phone calls and voice control, but I’ll forgive that as they are not marketed as “iPhone” headphones per se.

ultrasone zino headphones

The only other complaints I have have to do with comfort. As I said, I listen to music all day at work, so I may be putting the Zino’s through a bit more of a “torture test” than others, but after about 5 or so hours of straight listening, I found I had two problems. The first was that, as a wearer of glasses, I found the over-the-head headphones pushed my ears against my glasses, and they became a bit sore. I can forgive this as many over-ear headphones have had this effect, and of course if you aren’t a nerd with glasses, like me, this won’t be a problem. A bigger comfort problem for me however is that the headband has ZERO padding on it. After a couple hours I did find myself trying to move where the headphone rested on my head a bit to alleviate some of the discomfort. It’s certainly not excruciating, and as I mentioned the Zino’s aren’t exceedingly heavy, but I would think if you were bald you would be even worse off, and some padding, even a thin rubber coating over the plastic, would have been appreciated.


Ultrasone’s Zino S-Logic Natural Surround Sound Portable Headphones provide sound almost as big as their name is long. If you are a fan of the over-the-head design, I’d say the Zinos provide a 4x quality improvement over the stock Apple ear buds for only about twice the cost. As a glasses wearer I found prolonged daily use caused a bit of discomfort, but for the more causal listener, you will love the considerable upgrade in sound quality the Zinos provide.

Price: $98.87 (Amazon)
Pros: Awesome sound for the price, well built, fold up for travel, included hard case
Cons: No inline remote, no padded headband

One Response to “Review: Ultrasone’s Zino S-Logic Natural Surround Sound Portable Headphones”
  1. malcanta says:

    Hey Doc,

    I also use headphones all day and I’ve switched to in ear for comfort. V Moda Vibe Duo’s to be precise ($70 at the apple store). They do fail after 2-3 months since I use them all day so I have to send them in for warranty repair. I will soon switch to a new product so I am looking for new ones but the headband type like these do seem like they would be uncomfortable after a while.

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