If you are looking for a couple of cheap and well-playing headphones for workouts, you might want to consider Monster and their iSport Victory, which they have dubbed “the athlete’s headphone”. They’re definitely not pretty, but don’t judge too harshly beforehand. I was pleasantly surprised when I first wore them.
Thanks to large ear-hoops and two different types of earbuds in three sizes, they should fit most ears. I grabbed the smallest of the silicones. They fit tightly and gave a claustrophobic feel in the ear canal. Even though they look huge with their long profile, they are light to wear, and they are so tight that they only come out if you pull hard on the cord. The built-in remote control is a bit too cheap and plasticky, albeit solid.
Surprisingly good sound
Fortunately, its appearance is irrelevant once you get the sound in your ears. The Monster has two built-in audio profiles, which you can switch between by holding the plus and minus buttons for a few seconds. The first is for warm ups, and the second is for workouts. The latter is preferable, and offers heavy bass, which I personally prefer, when I’m being motivated at the gym. With this setting, they sound better than most other models in the test.
Monster iSport Victory is sensibly priced, and plays surprisingly well. The battery life is quite reasonable, and is especially fun with its two audio profiles. The appearance is a matter of taste, and personally I can overlook the fact that they are ugly, since they in turn win so many points on sound, which should be the most important. The fit is also good, which is important when the going gets tough.
Also in this test
Bose SoundSport Pulse
Well playing lumps
Bose provides good sound, but disappoints regarding the battery life.
Panasonic Wings RP-BTS50E
Panasonic gives you wings
It's the inside that counts, and Panasonic is certainly not as stupid as it looks.
AfterShokz Trekz Titanium
Sound in the skull
Trekz Titanium does not enter the ear, but instead pumps sound in through the cheekbones.
Jaybird Freedom F5
Poor fit and flat sound in Jaybird is disappointing.
Jabra Sport Pulse Special Edition
Plenty of bass
Jabra’s earbuds stay where they are meant to be, and play both loud and deep.
JBL Reflect Contour
As if glued stuck
Even an avid athlete will have trouble ripping the JBL out of the ears.
Plantronics Backbeat Fit
Fine Bluetooth hoop
Backbeat Fit is comfortable to wear and plays well.