Earbuds and headphones are all over the market in a range of price points and a range of sound quality. I’ll be the first to admit I have some funky ear canals and I usually always prefer over the ear headphones for everything. The only exception I have found to that rule are the Apple ear pods, which fit nicely inside my ear. But now I’ve discovered another contender for comfortable fit without falling out from Jabra. This is the Jabra Sport Pulse review.
Design & Features
The Sport Pulse earbuds are certainly not lacking in the style department, they’re brilliantly designed and beautiful to look at. They are made of plastic and rubber but with a solid feel and look about them, there’s nothing on these wireless buds that is cheap. As I just mentioned, these earbuds are wireless and work over bluetooth so the only wire you’ll have here is the one connecting the two buds together. That wire is short enough to not get in the way of anything but long enough to reach around to each ear comfortably.
Built into the wire on the right side is the remote which controls Siri (for iPhone users) and acts as volume control, track skipper and the button to accept or decline a phone call. The wire also comes with what Jabra calls the “Fit Clip” which helps take up any slack you might have in the back so it doesn’t hang loose. This gives your buds a tighter fit around the back which is great for those of you who will be using these for running. One of the killer features of these earbuds is that they are water-resistant which also means they should survive the copious amounts of sweat you might generate.
Jabra includes a variety of ear gels and ear wings in different sizes so you can fit these things in properly and that’s a good thing. After fiddling around with the gels and wings I found the right combo for my funky ears and much to my surprise, they fit amazingly well. As I said before, usually earbuds are not my friends but the Sport Pulse buds are now the most comfortable set of earbuds I have ever used. It should be clarified that most people will find them on par with other high end earbuds, I just happen to have special ears and was excited that these fit so well for a change.
There is a “sport” button on the Jabra’s that acts as a update manager for the smartphone app that comes with your earbuds. Basically when the app is on you can press this button and it will give you the data from the app through your ears, no need to pull out your phone to look, pretty nifty. There is also a micro USB port for charging the headphones which claim to get about 5 hours of battery life, I experienced closer to 4 hours.
The heart-rate monitor is also built into the buds which detect your oxygen and heart metrics sending that data to the app on your phone. Of course the app keeps track of all the data which you can go back and look at as you wish. The Sports Pulse buds are really like a fitness band for your ears that just happen to also pump out your favorite tunes. Jabra’s optomechanical sensor is what does the work of tracking your body’s oxygen and heart rate and Jabra is confident that the data collected is spot on accurate.
Function & Sound
If you know me at all you know I am not the most fit person in the world, I really need to exercise a whole lot more than I currently do. But I had to test these things out so I made myself do some walking and stair climbing. Mind you it wasn’t balls to the wall exercise but it was enough to get my heart going.
Pairing the Jabra Sport Pulse buds is an easy thing to do and getting the companion app up and running is equally simple. Most all of the functions of these buds lays in the left earbud, that’s where the optomechanical sensor is located, so you have to have that inserted for anything to be recorded. If you take that bud out, the app will stop tracking progress, which is a good thing to know in case you do need to take a break. The buds can be paired via Bluetooth or NFC. After using the app and the buds on a vigorous stair climbing session they did very well staying in my ear and not falling out as well as detecting all the metrics it needed to tell me I was sorely out of shape. In my best estimation, the buds did exactly what they were supposed to do alongside the app.
Now the most important thing, sound quality. Well, maybe not the most important but it is certainly near the top. As I have alluded to before, I have an issue with earbuds as they don’t fit properly in my ear canals. This causes me to not hear music or whatever I am listening to in a proper way and I get a lot of ambient noise creep in. I didn’t find that issue at all with the Jabra Sport Pulse. They sat snug inside my ears and never moved allowing me to hear the music I was playing almost as if I was wearing over the ear headphones, for me that is a huge deal. The sound of the Sport Pulse buds is really pretty awesome for a pair of buds. While not up to par with the traditional over the ear phones I prefer, these do really well especially since they are wireless. I am not a crazy audiophile but I felt the music played at nice even levels with a slight hint of bass. You can tweak your sound settings in the app with their Dolby sound options.
The Sport Pulse buds are an interesting set of buds with a specific targeted audience. These are not going to be buds for the average joe who just wants to listen to some music on his couch. The sound quality is certainly OK for that scenario but these are built for sport and fitness in mind and the technology packed inside shows that. These buds are for the runners, bikers and fit persons who are seeking to track every aspect of their workouts and listen to their music.
While there are a variety of fitness bands and smartphone apps on the market that can do this for you already, the Jabra’s offer that one extra advantage in that they are also headphones. Not just any headphones though, these are wireless so nothing to get in your way and the application that comes with it is polished and gives a plethora of information on your workouts (that could be an article in itself). But all this goodness isn’t going to come cheap. The Sport Pulse earbuds clock in at $199, which if you think about it isn’t all that bad considering you’re basically buying a fitness tracker and earbuds.
I would recommend these to the sports and fitness nuts who are looking for a fitness tracker and a sweet pair of ear buds. The Jabra’s kill two birds with one stone. The only real choice you’ll have to make is to determine if they are worth the $199 price tag, I think they are if you’re going to use them to their fullest capabilities.