Snug-fit wireless earphones good for workouts

Those looking for a convenient, all-in-one solution for music and workout tracking will be satisfied with the Jabra Elite Sport.
Those looking for a convenient, all-in-one solution for music and workout tracking will be satisfied with the Jabra Elite Sport.PHOTO: JABRA

Jabra's Elite Sport earphones are the company's top-of-the-line workout earphones, ticking off all the necessary cutting-edge advances for such devices: no cables at all, reliable Bluetooth connectivity, and even heart-rate monitoring and workout tracking.

While these are similar to Apple's AirPods, being true wireless earphones that pair to a mobile device, it's very clear that they aren't the best choice for a versatile, everyday pair of earphones.

These are sports earphones first and foremost, and the sound signature reflects this utility. It emphasises thumping bass over all else, which is perfect for helping to get the heart rate up and distract one from the physical exertion of working out.

The soundstage can sound rather muffled,especially with the midrange and the treble.

Unlike the AirPod's sleekness, the Elite Sport earphones are larger and bulbous, which is necessary for a snug fit in the ears so that they don't fall off.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $368

    BATTERY LIFE: 3hr

    FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 20Hz - 20kHz

    WEIGHT: 6.5g each

  • RATING

  • FEATURES: 5/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5

    OVERALL: 5/5

They are also sweat- and water-resistant, which is now the de facto standard for workout earphones.

Each set comes with three sizes of ear wings and three pairs each of foam and silicone tips, which you can mix and match for the best fit. Once you have the right fit, the earphones do stay in the ears very snugly, with little fear of them popping out while exercising.

By themselves, the earphones don't seem worth the almost $400 you are paying. But it is through the integration with Jabra's Sport Life app that they start to justify their premium price.

With the app installed on your smartphone, you get workout features such as heart-rate monitoring, VO2 detection and workout training plans.

However, the app is limited to common workouts like running, cycling or hiking. There are no training plans for strength-training or weight-lifting, or other cardio workouts like skipping.

Those looking for a convenient, all-in-one solution for music and workout tracking will be satisfied with the Elite Sport, but the app's limitations may put off more serious fitness buffs.

The one issue I have is that the earphones' heart-rate monitoring feature requires the earbuds to fit extremely snugly into the ears. This means that when I press on the tiny buttons on the earphones to increase volume or skip tracks, I end up pushing the earphones deeper into the ear, which can be very uncomfortable and painful.

Its 3hr battery life will be enough for most workouts, especially since charging them is as easy as popping them into a charge case which holds an additional 6hr of battery life. Even so, that may not be enough for, say, the non-elite marathon runner who takes more than 3hr to complete the race.

Lester Hio

• Verdict: These might be the best wireless workout earphones in the market, jam-packed with useful features for the avid sportsman, but are priced at a premium to match.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 15, 2017, with the headline 'Snug-fit wireless earphones good for workouts'. Print Edition | Subscribe