Review: 8 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.

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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

Bose SoundSport Pulse

Well playing lumps

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

Bose is known for good sound quality and does not disappoint in this aspect. The silicone earbuds are comfortable and fits snugly in the ear.
They are just too heavy, and they have a tendency to fall out of the ears. The heart rate monitor empties the battery too quickly.

Panasonic Wings RP-BTS50E

Panasonic gives you wings

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

Panasonic’s headphones play well, and feel comfortable to wear.
The 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

Sound in the skull

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

The 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.
As expected, the sound is not outrageously deep or high. Its use is somewhat limited.

Jaybird Freedom F5

Expected more

Poor fit and flat sound in Jaybird is disappointing.

The design is pretty, and the app that comes along with it is good. When you find the right earbuds, they fit well.
The sound may be a touch flat. The solution with the detachable battery pack works poorly and makes the remote control way too heavy.

Jabra Sport Pulse Special Edition

Plenty of bass

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

Jabra delivers outstanding fit and excellent sound with plenty of bass. The heart rate monitor is also very good – especially at this price.
The heavy bass effects the treble. The tight fit in the ear can feel a little too insulating.

JBL Reflect Contour

As if glued stuck

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

The fit is wonderfully well, if one likes the hoop around the ear. Price and battery life are also approved.
The remote control of the wire is a little big and complicated. The sound could do well with a little more bottom and bass.

Monster iSport Victory

These play really well

One shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.

The Monster offers surprisingly good sound, packaging taken into account. Moreover, the price is at the lower end.
If one has to say anything negative, it must be the design, which is perhaps not be the prettiest.

Plantronics Backbeat Fit

Fine Bluetooth hoop

Backbeat Fit is comfortable to wear and plays well.

The headset is comfortable to wear and plays well. It's an advantage that it doesn't sit too tightly in the ear so you can still hear the traffic.
It's annoying that Plantronics has taken away the armband for the mobile phone in favour of new colours and reflectors.

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