Jabra have been around for a while now. They specialise in audio and lately headphones designed for sport, some of which come with some extra tech built in.
After trying and being pretty impressed by the Jabra sport coach I’ve got highly hopes for the Jabra pulse.
These come with a built in heart rate monitor. Jabra claim these will provide accurate information about your heart rate and calories burned without any additional equipment. Everything is done in ear, in combination with their sport coach app which can suggest a workout plan, and with your mobile phones GPS can track your outdoor run and that’s not all, these also come with automatic VO2 max tracking.
VO2 max Tracking basically describes the maximum rate of oxygen that your body consumes during exercise, and helps determine your endurance level. What never fails to amaze me with Jabra is the size and weight.
These things are incredibly lightweight, how they managed to fit a dedicated heart rate monitor, drivers and a battery in here is mind boggling. They pair to my iPhone really quickly and its nice that they added voice prompts to let you know if your connected and when the battery is low.
They only come in this yellow/black colour (which I personally really like) with a pretty stylish hard case for storage.
You’ll also get a selection of “ear Gels” (a flexible rubber fin that fits into the crease of your inner ear to stabilise them, preventing them from falling out and a selection of different sized ear buds. Similar to the sport coach model, you get 3 regular silicon ear buds and three comply foam™ ear buds.
The comply foam ear tips are superb, their memory foam, similar to the Jaybird x2s but the seal these things provide is superb.This coupled with how light they managed to make these earphones make them incredibly comfy to wear. The “ear gels” work perfectly.In terms of comfort these things are incredible, in my opinion they wipe the floor with Powerbeats.
They come with an in line remote with a mic to take calls etc, (typical of most wireless headphones) but these also come with a built in sports button on the left earphone. It’s used in conjunction with the app to control workouts, stoping, pausing and so on. It works really well.
You’ll need to download the free app (Jabra sport) to make full use of them. The software looks great and is easy to use, , When you first put them on it asks you to jog on spot while it attempts to read your heart rate. If found my heart rate pretty easily and the set up was a breeze. I find myself stood in my kitchen, stunned by the fact a regular looking pair of earphones is now monitoring my heart rate. Theres something next level and futuristic about the whole product.
For cardio these things really shine, amazingly the heart rate monitor never really drops and Ive tried comparing the reading to my fib charge 2 and their reasonably close. while the app is simple and effective it (link the sport coach) suffers a few issues in terms of limited training options. The training activities are limited to only cross training. So it’s good news if circuit training is your thing but if not you may be a little disappointed.
So if you’re trying to do say: 5 sets of 8 on one exercise, you’re out of luck because the software will be expecting you to move on to the next exercise after every set. The other issue is the exercise selection, while I was impressed that they include some of the highly effective compound movements, I did notice that there were some noticeable exclusions though.
For some reason they included deadlifts and squats (which is great) but left out benchpress for some reason. (no variation of bench is included.) It seems odd to me that they would develop a device with all this great tech which works really well and than limit it only to circuit training. Especially when it would be so easy to open it up to any style of weight training.
It does give you some recommended circuits and the ability to crete your your own program but your limited to a circuit and with only the selection of exercises they include, which is pretty scarce. It’s worth mentioning that its still early days for this app and any limitations could be easily fixed with an app update or two. I really hope they patch this soon because theres tonnes of potential here.
I did however test these out on a run and they are absolutely superb, the distance is measured by GPS via your phone. Calories, steps and voice queues, its all here and it all works really well. The effective software combined with the light weight and great fit make these really shine for outdoor running. You also get facts about your workout based in the heart rate data, for instance: this is workout is really pushing your limits, be sure to rest enough to recover after this.
Like the sport coach the sound is really good. The audio is clear and crisp with good volume and the bass is great, almost Dre beats level. Its clear they’ve done they’re homework on the market leaders, selected some of their best features and applied them to this new device. However I did notice the volume was a bit of an issue for me, I found it to be just a bit too low, I constantly found myself hitting the volume up bottom looking for that bit extra, interestingly the sport coach didn’t seem have the same volume restriction. The do block out external noise very well but for me they’re still just a bit on the quiet side.
For me this is an great device, the hardware is next level, I honestly don’t know how they fit all this tech in a tiny set of earphone an still make them sound good. Although I feel they do have some cons in terms of software the good news is these could all be ironed out with some software updates.
If your interested in knowing how many calories you get through in a gym session or run but aren’t keen on wearing an all day heart rate monitor these are a really good choice.