Headphones allow users to be aware of surroundings

I prefer to jog at night along the park connector near my house as there are fewer joggers and personal mobility device riders around.

Still, I need a pair of workout headphones that allows me to hear the surrounding sounds when I jog. The new Jabra Elite Active 45e seems to fit the bill.

It has an open design that lets in ambient sound and is further aided by ear-tips that do not go deep into the ear canal. It also comes with additional ear-wings and adaptable ear-hooks that help secure the headphones to your ears.

To wear the earbuds, straighten the hooks, place the earbuds in your ears and adjust the hooks to the back of your ears. This means that, regardless of your ear size, the Elite Active 45e provides a secure and comfortable fit during workouts.

However, the earbuds are bulky and protrude from the ears - probably not ideal for fashionistas.

Unlike true wireless in-ear headphones, the Elite Active 45e has a cable that connects the two earbuds. But while the connecting cables of some brands flap around during workouts, the cable of the Elite Active 45e is much shorter and rests nicely on my neck.

  • FOR 

    • Allows awareness of surroundings 

    • Secure and comfy fit 

    • Fast charging 

    • Stable Bluetooth connectivity 

  • AGAINST

    • Mediocre audio quality 

    • Not sleek-looking 

  • SPECS 

    PRICE: $168 

    FREQUENCY RANGE: 20Hz to 14KHz 

    CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth 

    WEIGHT: 29g (with cable) 

  • RATING 

    FEATURES: 3.5/5 

    DESIGN: 3/5 

    PERFORMANCE: 3/5 

    BATTERY LIFE: 4/5 

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5 

    OVERALL: 3.5/5

The two earbuds look identical, with each having a small button on its exterior. The right earbud's button is for power, Bluetooth pairing, answer/end call and play/ pause music. The left earbud's button is for activating your smartphone's voice assistant and muting the microphone. At the base of the left earbud is a micro-USB charging port.

At the bottom of the right earbud are the volume up and volume down buttons. This placement allows one to easily adjust the music volume while jogging.

In terms of audio quality, though, I find it to be mediocre at best. The open design means there is not much punch in its bass even if you crank up the volume. But you can hear the mids and highs clearly, though not in great detail.

On the bright side, I did not encounter drops in the Bluetooth connection while streaming music from my smartphone during jogs.

There are also no problems when making calls. My voice can be heard clearly by the other party, except when a vehicle zooms past me.

The Jabra Elite Active 45e is rated at IP67, which means it can be submerged in water to a depth of 1m for 30 minutes. In other words, you do not need to worry about being caught in a sudden downpour when jogging.

Battery life is rated at nine hours. During the review, it lasted around eight hours while connected to a smartphone playing music at 50 per cent volume. However, the headphones can last an hour with only 15 minutes of charging.

If you do not care for looks and prefer to be aware of your surroundings when you jog, the Jabra Elite Active 45e is an affordable pair of in-ear wireless headphones worth considering.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 10, 2019, with the headline 'Headphones allow users to be aware of surroundings'. Print Edition | Subscribe