Project Rock review: Over-ear training headphones tuned by The Brahma Bull himself

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Under Armour and JBL have again teamed up with The Rock on a new pair of Over-ear training headphones. The Brahma Bull himself has tuned the new Project Rock over-ear training headphones, and these cans were made with serious workouts in mind.

Estimated reading time: 11 minutes

Project Rock boasts a custom EQ, tuned by The Rock, rich bass, up to 45-hours of battery life, 40mm drivers, fast pairing with Android devices running Android 6.0+, ambient aware mode, and more. Read on for our full review of these premium training headphones.

Specifications

ModelPROJECT ROCK
Driver size40mm / 1.57″ dynamic driver
Power supply5 V
Weight294g / 0.65lbs
Battery typePolymer lithium-ion (610 mAh / 3.7V)
Charging time (USB-C)< 2hrs from empty
Music play time with BT on and ANC off45 hrs
Music play time with BT on and ANC on35 hrs
Frequency response20Hz – 20kHz
Impedance32 ohm
Sensitivity102 dB SPL@1kHz / 1mW
Maximum SPL92dB
Microphone sensitivity-20dBV @1kHz / Pa
Bluetooth version5.0
Bluetooth profile versionHFP V1.7, A2DP V1.3, AVRCP V1.6
Bluetooth transmitter frequency2.4GHz – 2.4835GHz
Bluetooth transmitter power< 9dBm EIRP
Bluetooth transmitter modulationGFSK, π/4 DQPSK, 8DPSK
Maximum operation temperature45°C

What’s in the box

  • Project Rock Over-Ear Training Headphones
  • Durable utility carrying case
  • USB-C charging cable
  • AUX cable
  • Brahma Bull sticker
  • 12-month premium membership to UA MapMyFitness
  • Starter guide

Design

Let’s get one thing straight here. You can definitely tell that these over-ear headphones are based around Dwyane Johnson’s character, The Rock. His Brahma Bull icons are on the sides of the earcups, and they’re decently sized, making them hard to miss. UA also has its logo placed on the headband, proving who was in charge of this design.

The rest of the headband is made out of durable plastic with padding material underneath. Unfortunately, if you do not like fingerprints or smudges on your headphones, this may be a drawback as it does attract them. I found myself trying to clean the top band with little to no avail in getting the fingerprints off.

The left side only has one button which will activate Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, depending on your virtual assistant preference. Underneath that is the Type-C charging port, covered, and a small LED indicator showing the charging status and battery level. As for the righthand side, there’s a slider for powering on/off the headphones, a volume rocker that acts as a play/pause button, and finally, a 3.5mm jack that’s also covered. The last thing on the right side is an LED meter that will let you know if the headphones are using ANC, Ambient Aware, or TalkThru.

UA Storm Super Grip and SuperVent material
Under Armour’s Storm, Super Grip, and SuperVent materials were used on the earcups.

Finally, you have the earcups that UA has used their own technology in. The UA Storm Super Grip is the rubber material portion that goes over your ears, providing stability and security while wearing the headphones. The rest of the padding is made from UA’s SuperVent mesh that gives the earcups breathability while the user is working out. A plus side to the earcups is that they can be removed and hand washed when needed.

UA/The Rock and JBL have designed these over-ear headphones to be focused on workout enthusiasts. There’s definitely nothing wrong with that, but for someone who doesn’t work out constantly, such as myself, I think these are still appealing and would enjoy them even if I didn’t work out.

Ease of Use

Using the over-ear training headphones is as simple as pairing with a device of your choosing and going from there. Depending on the device you choose, you will either have to go into the Bluetooth settings or let your device automatically pair with it. Smartphones running Android 6.0+ will have fast pairing, so it’s a matter of turning on the headphones by sliding and holding power on/off for two seconds. From there, your device will display a message about pairing the Project Rock Over-Ear Training Headphones with your Google account. Those who have an iPhone will have to pair the headphones in settings manually.

Controls on Project Rock are also easy to understand. Those using an Android device can use Google Assistant by simply pressing the button on the left side. Once pressed, Google Assistant will advise you if you have any alarms or calendar events coming up, the time, and more. If you hold it down while speaking, it’ll do as you ask. An example is asking Google to play a specific band from your music streaming app, calculate an equation, or even call someone. If you have chosen Alexa as your virtual assistant, she’ll essentially do the same thing as Google.

Google Assistant and Alexa button with charging port
Google Assistant and Alexa button with USB-C charging port.

Continuing with the controls, changing the volume is a simple press on the volume rocker. If you are looking to change songs, press and hold the volume up for two seconds, and it will skip to the next track. Or, if you’re looking to repeat the last track, press and hold the volume down button for two seconds, and it’ll execute that action. You can play/pause by pressing in between the volume up and down buttons.

Lastly, the Brahma Bull on the right earcup acts as a button whenever you need to switch between ANC on, ANC off, Ambient Mode, and TalkThru. Pressing the bull one time will cycle through the two different ANC modes and Ambient Mode, whereas double-pressing the bull will turn on or off TalkThru.

Software

There is an application that you can download from Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store. JBL Headphones will allow you to choose the EQ, turn on/off ANC, ambient sound control, check for device updates, and play smart audio & video.

When you first open the application, you’ll see the Project Rock headphones front and center. Once you tap on the picture, the app will take you to another page that will show the battery life left in the headset, ANC and Ambient Sound Control toggle switches, and Smart Audio & Video options that will allow you to set your preferences while using the headphones. At the bottom of the screen is EQ with an up arrow. That will take you to the EQ page, where you will see The Rock’s EQ settings and a customized option to the right. The custom EQ options on the right-hand side display Jazz, Vocal, Bass, and Piano.

Screenshot of JBL Headphones application two
Smart Audio & Video left, Project Rock EQ middle, and Custome EQ right.

Noise Canceling has two different modes to choose from. The Everyday mode will block out the noise of everyday life, and the Active mode is more optimized for outdoor activities. As for Ambient Sound Control, you can select between Ambient Aware, which is pretty self-explanatory. It allows you to be more aware of your surroundings. The other mode is TalkThru, allowing you to talk with someone without taking off the headphones. And lastly, you have Smart Audio & Video. Thanks to this perk, you can choose to have the best sound whether you listen to music or watch videos.

In the settings portion of the application, you can change the function buttons’ actions by either choosing Voice Assistant or Active/Everyday Mode. Auto-off lets you choose a specific time the headphones shut down when they’re idle. You have options starting from 15 minutes going all the way up to 4 hours. You can also change how the Play & Pause action works when you take off the training headphones, change your voice assistant, select language, get product help, and check the About section.

Honestly, the JBL Headphones application is simple to understand and doesn’t take up much of your time to get acclimated to.

Sound

Considering that I’ve used and reviewed many over-ear headphones, these have been by far the best-sounding ones. Hands down. This probably sounds like fanboying but hear me out on this.

Thanks to the 40mm drivers stuffed inside, there is plenty of sound being pushed out that some may find that ANC or EQ are not needed. Vocals and instruments are crystal clear with zero distortion or signs of sounding muffled. Now, with ANC turned on, that’s a whole different ball game. As we all know, ANC blocks out all surrounding sounds, so all you hear is your music. It does just that, but it makes everything sound so much better. While working out at the gym, ANC blocked all the fan noise, people talking, and workout machines. Because of that, I could focus on my workout instead of being distracted by my surroundings.

Screenshot of JBL Headphones application one
The main page left, Noise Canceling middle, and Ambient Sound Control right.

Ambient Mode and TalkThru, on the other hand, also turned out to be satisfactory. It’ll allow you to hear your surroundings while keeping the volume at a nice level. However, it does cut back on the volume of whatever is playing and doesn’t add much bass. It’s not a bad thing because this mode is supposed to keep you aware of your surroundings. As for TalkThru, any playback will be drastically lower in volume and acts as if Ambient Mode is running. Because of how it’s set up, it does allow you to hear the environment around you easier.

The only two complaints I have for the sound quality are The Rock’s own tuned EQ and TalkThru. Don’t get me wrong, the EQ is wonderful, but I’m not a big fan of how it tunes the volume to a lower setting causing me to turn the volume up to a level that I prefer. Keep in mind that this is the EQ settings, not the actual volume being turned down. As for TalkThru, the music gets so low that I can barely hear it. I understand that it’s for those who are wanting to communicate with others, but there are no options to mess with that allow you to turn the music up if you chose to.

Microphone

The Project Rock headphones come with the ability to take phone calls, so if you’re interested in that, you do have that option. The microphone quality is decent. People can hear me just fine and expressed that I did sound like I was on speakerphone and that background noise could be heard. At times they had to pull the phone away from their ear because of how loud it was.

Battery Life

Under Armour and JBL have given these headphones a pretty beefy battery life with up to 45-hours of playback. And that’s just with ANC turned off while Bluetooth is on. Otherwise, you’ll end up with up to 35-hours of battery with ANC and Bluetooth turned on. While testing both battery life options, I was able to get hit the 35 and 45-hour marks. That included having the music blaring with The Rock’s own custom EQ.

If you’re in a hurry and need a quick charge, 5 minutes will get you up to two hours of playback. That itself should be plenty of time for a quick workout or anything you’re doing. Unfortunately, I could not test and see if the headset works if the battery is drained because none of the phones I own come with a headphone jack. Nor do I have any dongles lying around.

Charging the battery back up to full with the USB-C cable will take about 2 hours. That’s pretty normal for headphones when it comes to recharging the battery, so if you’re not doing anything at that moment, you’ll come back to a fully charged headset.

Price

By no means are the Project Rock headphones going to be the cheapest headset out there at US$299.95, but damn are they worth the money. I can definitely recommend these headphones to those who don’t mind spending the money.

Wrap Up

Here’s my honest opinion about Under Armour and JBL’s Project Rock Over-Ear Training Headphones. As I expressed above, I believe they’re worth the price because they offer pretty impressive sound quality, battery life, quick charging capabilities, and the design is clean and stays securely on your head while working out. Even if you don’t work out, these are still worth it.

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Last Updated on September 6, 2021.

JBL/Under Armour Project Rock Over-Ear Training Headphones

US$299.95

Design

9.0/10

Ease of Use

9.5/10

Software

10.0/10

Sound

9.0/10

Microphone

8.5/10

Battery Life

10.0/10

Price

9.0/10

Nailed it

  • Sleek design
  • Easy to use application
  • Excellent sound
  • Long-lasting battery life

Needs work

  • No Ambient Mode controls
  • Fingerprint and smudge magnet
  • Microphone quality
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