Jabra’s slightly redesigned sporty headphones work, but not for all that long. I hit the road to test them out.
Jabra SPORT WIRELESS+ Bluetooth Headset: On the plus side
Jabra’s one of the big names in bluetooth headsets, and for a couple of years now they’ve offered up exercise-centric headsets under the SPORT banner. The latest SPORT WIRELESS+ headset does what you’d expect it to do — which is to say you can pair it with your mobile phone for on the go music, or your tablet if you feel like lugging such a thing around.
Aside from your own music, they’re also capable of playing FM radio. I suppose the theory there is that you don’t then have to run, cycle or climb while carrying around a separate music gadget as well. Either that, or the “wacky” antics of morning shock jocks will make you run faster to get away from their inane banter.
The Jabra SPORT WIRELESS+ Bluetooth Headset are a rework of an existing design — the Jabra SPORT headset — and the physical differences aren’t that massive, so if you already had an older set, the reasons to upgrade would be minimal. Standby time has jumped up from 96 hours to 120 hours and the weight has dropped from 26 grams to 25 grams. If you’re the princess type, I suppose you might be able to notice that.
Pairing up the Jabra SPORT WIRELESS+ Bluetooth Headset was painless to multiple devices. It can pair with up to eight devices, and two simultaneously if you’re a real gadget fiend. There’s really only one way to test a sports headset, and that’s to use it in some kind of sporting capacity. So I went for a run with the Jabra SPORT WIRELESS+ Bluetooth Headset.
The conclusion? I’m horribly unfit, but you didn’t need to know that. In the important respects that fitness fanatics are likely to fuss about, the Jabra SPORT WIRELESS+ Bluetooth Headset delivers. It’s relatively lightweight, and the cable at the back didn’t irritate my neck even when it got sweaty.
The FM radio works well enough — I don’t care much about FM, but some will — and the range was good. Jabra reckons it’s good for up to 10 metres, but my concern was a little more localised. Many headsets can drop in and out if the sending device is a little far away, but with either the iPhone 5s or Sony Xperia Z1 in my pocket, I hit no issues at all, aside from running out of breath. That’s probably not the fault of the Jabra SPORT WIRELESS+ Bluetooth Headset.
Jabra SPORT WIRELESS+ Bluetooth Headset: On the minus side
Audio quality is fair, but that’s the best I can say for it. I may well have been spoilt by more premium headsets, and this is clearly a niche product, but a little more definition wouldn’t hurt.
Jabra provides a variety of eargelsto fit around the Jabra SPORT WIRELESS+ Bluetooth Headset in a matching bright yellow colour, but as I discovered, they’re not quite as robust as the headset itself.
Fitting one of them onto the earpiece it tore clean in two rather than slip on. Earbuds aren’t expensive items, and I was able to substitute one of the other sets provided, but it’s not a good sign. Equally, I found it something of a struggle to get them to fit on my ears and around my glasses, but that’s a terribly subjective thing. I’d certainly suggest testing the fit in a store before purchasing if your ears are anything like mine.
A headset this small will only ever be able to fit in so much battery power, and that’s still something of an Achilles heel for the Jabra SPORT WIRELESS+ Bluetooth Headset. Talk/Music time is stated at 4 hours, which is actually half an hour down from the older SPORT headset. I didn’t run for 4 hours — is anyone surprised? — but for those who like longer distance sporting activities I could see this being a definite problem.
Jabra SPORT WIRELESS+ Bluetooth Headset: Pricing
The Jabra SPORT WIRELESS+ Bluetooth Headset retails for $129. A word of caution here; these replace the older JABRA SPORT headset which looks largely similar is still on sale at plenty of online stores. It’s broadly similar in specifications, but the inbuilt fixed batteries in those models would be older — and thus more likely to fail a little faster.
Jabra SPORT WIRELESS+ Bluetooth Headset: Fat Duck verdict
I still see plenty of local joggers yanking away at corded headsets in obvious irritation, which strongly — if anecdotally — suggests that there’s a strong market for this kind of product.
The Jabra SPORT WIRELESS+ Bluetooth Headset isn’t perfect, given that the audio could be better and longer battery life would be highly desirable, but if you’re a fitness fan who only works out in sub-4 hour sessions, it provides perfectly adequate audio accompaniment.