Review

8 wireless fitness earbuds

Review8 wireless fitness earbuds

These will provide you great sound during workouts

If you are looking for a pair of new workout earbuds, you should check out our comparison review.

Anyone who has been to the local gym can’t help but notice the many people walking around wearing earbuds. Music makes exercise a little easier to get through, and can also provide motivation and pace for a good jog for instance.

With heart rate monitors and other advanced running gear, your headphones can work as a training coach that discreetly motivates you with messages into your ear. It provides just a little extra push when the body otherwise can’t take much more. If you haven’t already invested in a pair of wireless headphones, here is a small sample of the options out there.

A natural question could be: Why not simply use the headphones that came with the mobile phone? There are several answers to that question.

(Photo: Manufacturer)

First of all, the headphones that come with your phone are most often wired. This means having a long wire dangling from the ear, which is neither particularly smart nor practical, while limiting your freedom of movement. Thus, all the models in this test are wireless and connect to the mobile phone via Bluetooth. However, the headphones are no less wireless in that they all still have a wire or a form of hoop that goes behind the neck, connecting the two earbuds.

The next point that is important to consider is the fit. The primary task of fitness earbuds is to remain in your ears, no matter how much you move. The headphones that are part of the standard package for new mobile phones are rarely of good quality, and they have a tendency to fall out of the ears. On fitness earphones, the fit is perhaps the most important focus area. It allows the earbuds to sit firmly in the ear canal and remain there even when you are sweating. The producers have solved the task in different ways and with varying degrees of success. Moreover, common to them all is that they must withstand sweat and humidity somewhat better, and not drown during a session on the spin bike.

However, it is not enough that the earbuds sit securely. They must of course also be able to play well, especially since we are in this particular price range. Again, the results are very different, depending on what manufacturer we test, and naturally it is a matter of taste if you prefer heavy bass when increasing the pace and getting some motivational feedback.

The last point that is worth mentioning pertains to the extra features that start to accompany headphones in this category.

Some manufacturers have put heart rate monitors in the one earbud so that they can also be used as a substitute for a smartwatch or a fitness bracelet. It’s pretty smart, but it also means a significant hike in price, while shortening the battery life. However, it may be worth considering if you are interested in this feature.

The manufacturers were asked to deliver their latest wireless models intended for training. Each model is assessed based on the fit, sound quality, battery life, extra features and price. They have all been tested in terms of daily use as well as for running and strength training. Each test ends with a conclusion and an overall score.

 

Products in this test
Panasonic Wings RP-BTS50E

It's the inside that counts, and Panasonic is certainly not as stupid as it looks.

A number of times I have stood with Panasonic’s official “Olympics in Rio”-earbuds in my hands and wondered how they are supposed to sit. The flexible hoops and winged earbuds are more odd than they are pretty. Panasonic should be given credit for making them sit comfortably in the ears, and they don’t feel at all as clumsy as they look. Due to the hoop, they sit so far out that you don’t feel closed in and you can still hear what’s going on around you. Strangely enough you can turn on some blue LED diodes if you want light in the wings. I don’t see the point of this feature, but it’s an amusing detail. Unfortunately, the remote control on the wire feels rather cheap and you have to push harder than you want to.

Excellent sound

Luckily, the unfortunate appearance and bad remote control are offset by the good sound quality. The headset supports the two audio standards aptX and AAC, and I swear that you hear really well. The RP BTS50E has a wide and well-defined soundscape. They lack neither bass nor treble, and are generally very pleasant to listen to. This can be done at least seven hours at a time before they need recharging, which is quite satisfactory.

Conclusion

The Panasonic Wings RP-BTS50E is perhaps not the prettiest thing that has come out from Panasonic’s factories, but thanks to good inner workings they play incredibly well, and therefore still deserve a chance. The hoops around your ears are a bit weird, and seem unnatural as they stick out from the ears. If you disregard this and the plasticky remote control on the cord, you get a set of Bluetooth headphones that play particularly well at an affordable price.

  • Bluetooth
  • Wired remote control
  • Blue LED Light
  • aptX and AAC
  • Water and sweat resistant (IPX5)
  • Weight: 23 grams
  • Battery: 6 hours
  • Price: –
  • Website: panasonic.com
Pris: 1490 kr
PositivePanasonic’s headphones play well, and feel comfortable to wear.
NegativeThe design is somewhat untraditional to put it diplomatically. The remote control on the cord is too cheap and the buttons are hard to press.
AfterShokz Trekz Titanium

Trekz Titanium does not enter the ear, but instead pumps sound in through the cheekbones.

The headset from Aftershokz stands out from the others in the field on a fairly significant point. Instead of having earbud tips that go into the ears, these are worn on the outside of the head. The sound is transported to your inner ear via the cheekbones. Yes, this sounds weird perhaps, but it works surprisingly well. The reason for this construction is that one is still supposed to be able to hear what is going on around one when running or cycling outdoors. Instead of closing yourself off from the world, you can hear the traffic, the birds chirp, your footsteps and breathing. There is a meaning in this madness.
The hoop is made of titanium, and is easy and comfortable on the head. No matter how much you shake your head, it stays put. The buttons to adjust volume are located on the right side of the hoop. I found the placement a bit cumbersome and hard to find in the beginning.

A new experience

It is almost self-evident that you don’t get the same sound quality with a pair of bone conducting headphones as with regular earbuds. For that same reason, I can easily forgive both a lower and a flatter sound. Nevertheless, I was impressed with how well they actually played and appreciated the different qualities of this headset. The construction means both that some sound is lost and it is difficult to hear the music if there is too much noise and that they are best suited for outdoor use.

Conclusion

Trekz Titanium is a fun gadget. They are comfortable to wear, and play well despite their natural limitations. Unfortunately, their use is somewhat limited as they are not suitable for anything other than outdoor activities. For the outdoors, they are outstanding.

    • Bone Conducting technology
    • Bluetooth
    • Titanium hoop with built-in remote control
    • Sweat resistant (IP55)
    • Weight: 36 grams
    • Battery: 6 hours
    • Price: –
    • Website: aftershokz.com
Pris: 1290 kr
PositiveThe Titanium hoop sits as if glued to the head. Because the ears are free, one can still hear everything that is going on around one.
NegativeAs expected, the sound is not outrageously deep or high. Its use is somewhat limited.
Jaybird Freedom F5

Poor fit and flat sound in Jaybird is disappointing.

Jaybird has previously received tremendous praise for its Jaybird X1, which had good sound and was comfortable to wear. The new Freedom continues to build on the good aspects of the previous model but does it in a smaller package, something which many will certainly appreciate. However, the small earbuds entail that some of the mechanics must be moved down to the remote control, which has increased in size.
The battery life is only estimated at four hours, but it can be jacked up to eight, if you fasten a small battery pack on the remote control. I like the idea in theory but not in practice. The remote is simply too large and cumbersome, which results in the one earbud falling out easily.

Boring sound

Regarding the sound, I must admit that I found it slightly flat and dull. In addition, one must be aware that Jaybird Freedom is a pair of headphones that must be inserted well into the ear canal to produce the best sound. You must therefore experiment with the accompanying earbuds and wings before you get the most out of them. I’m not a fan of earbuds that sit so closely, and that’s the reason why I’ve never completely fallen in love with them. The wings didn’t fit quite well in my ears, and were either a little too big or a little too small. The sound can be improved via the equalizer in the accompanying app, but was never quite as deep as the way I prefer it.

Conclusion

Jaybird Freedom appears and feels like a quality product. However, not everyone likes having wings in their ears, and the detachable battery pack is a bad solution. If you take it off, the power only lasts for four hours, and if it is attached, the remote control turns into a heavy block on the wire. Taking price into account, I had honestly expected a lot more.

  • Bluetooth
  • Remote control on the cord
  • Water and sweat resistant
  • Weight: 14 grams
  • Battery: 4 hours
  • Price: –
  • Website: logitech.com
Pris: 1390 kr
PositiveThe design is pretty, and the app that comes along with it is good. When you find the right earbuds, they fit well.
NegativeThe sound may be a touch flat. The solution with the detachable battery pack works poorly and makes the remote control way too heavy.
Bose SoundSport Pulse

Bose provides good sound, but disappoints regarding the battery life.

Jabra Sport Pulse Special Edition

Jabra’s earbuds stay where they are meant to be, and play both loud and deep.

JBL Reflect Contour

Even an avid athlete will have trouble ripping the JBL out of the ears.

Monster iSport Victory

One shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.

Plantronics Backbeat Fit

Backbeat Fit is comfortable to wear and plays well.

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