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Review: JABRA Sport Wireless+

I recently became the owner of a set of these guys… Here is my unbiased opinion:

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Let me start by noting that, although Bluetooth technology has existed for quite some time now, it is not yet 100% mainstream when it comes to the average Joe’s earphones. I give Jabra credit for creating a durable wireless headset that’s also affordable, but users don’t just buy headphones because they are tank-proof, we buy them for the pleasure of the music which we listen to… to be able to experience this pleasure even while doing smashing a hill or burning a lap… a pleasure scientifically proven to give us a performance advantage[1].

The GOOD:

  • It fits my ears (I am a 115kg athletic male)
  • No Wires
  • 3 free months of Endomondo Premium
  • Affordable

The BAD

  • It does not fit the ears of normal sized guys or any female who is not named Helga
  • The bass is disappointing
  • Bluetooth pairing issues (Windows phone, Android, iOS)

First Impression

The box is quite cool, with Ironman athlete Craig Alexander on the front. The packaging has clean lines and the product looks professional on the shelf. Too-small a box would make me feel I am spending too much for too little, but too-big a box would evoke the marketing-averse-rebel in me. Jabra has got the first impression just right. The box contains a great “getting started” guide as well as a charger cable (USB only – no 220V adapter) and MANY rubber knobblies which you can use to customise the in-ear fit, all neon-yellow.

Features and design

The right-earpice is where the magic happens. This earpiece contains a multi-function button as well as the volume button (which can be used to skip tracks or tune radio stations) as well as an FM button. The headphones’ straightforward set of onboard controls and mini-USB charging port are all relegated to the right earpiece. The a multi-purpose key can be used for powering up and down, Bluetooth pairing, play/pause, answering and terminating phone calls, and even calling up Siri.

The headset is military-grade tested for durability and does feel premium in terms of build quality.

A nifty feature is a free three-month trial of the sports app Endomondo, which does work very well with these earphones.

Comfort/fit

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This can be the perfect fit for you or the nightmare which irritates you endlessly. Unlike many wireless headphones on the market these have no adjustable parts for the earbuds themselves, leaving no room for adjustability. For small ears these little badboys literally do not fit. Not in terms of the rubber earbuds or the body of the earphones. They will fall out within your first three paces. On very large man-size ears like mine, however, they fit like a glove… An ear glove… Made for giants… You get the picture. They are invisible from the front though, and most people who face you head-on won’t notice that you are wearing anything, as in the photo below:

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Performance

Bluetooth

Bluetooth works great when you do manage to pair the device. I got up to 15 meters distance between myself and my phone before it starts to distort. The problem is in the pairing though. I have found that on Windows Phone 8.1 and Android I have to “Forget” the device from my recent devices and re-pair in order to connect. On my Ipod touch (16GB) I am yet to successfully play music via Bluetooth. I manage to pair the devices, but the music transfer from Ipod to headphone evades me.

 Audio

This is the part where I am going to put myself out there. The sound quality is really flat. Sure, the volume will blow your eardrums, but it’s all treble. It might be because of the earbuds, although I tried them all, or because of the fact that these babies do not fit very snugly into your ear… Either which way, sorry to say guys, but if you are even a slight audiophile you will be disappointed. Unless you go jogging on Mozart, in which case your opinion does not matter.

Conclusion

Jabra has done well in terms of creating a very durable, practical product. The Bluetooth is great when it works, and not tangling in wires has its obvious benefits. The multi-function button works well and it is nice to even have the FM radio option, all packed into this little device. Thus, it comes down to choice and sacrifice. If you are all about convenience, this is the product for you… If you care more about the quality (as I do) of your music, and prefer not to suffer in silence, you will have to stay wired for the time being. I recommend giving a product in the Sennheiser suite a go, or even something in the Beats range – known for their BASS.

[1] http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/psychology-workout-music/

Editor’s Note: This is a post written by our resident mountain bike guru, Francois Liebenberg.