Jabra Elite Sport True Wireless Earbuds – Black

jabra-cover

To begin with, these are not primarily wireless earbuds. If all you need are Bluetooth headphones to listen to your music on then keep on looking as there are cheaper and better options available. What we have here is a health and sports device which also plays music.

The two earbuds are supplied in well built and robust hard case which also charges the buds. The case has a rechargeable battery built in which can charge the earbuds twice and does so automatically when the buds are inserted. It takes about three hours to fully charge them or about twenty minutes to get an hour of playing time. Once in the case or switched off there is very little long term battery drain. The earbuds are supplied with three sizes of ear wings and three sets each of tips in both foam and silicon.

The volume and track controls are spread across both earbuds and use physical clicky buttons rather than the touch variety which is a good or bad thing according to your preferences. There is special button to turning on the Jabra app and to start an exercise session. There are voice prompts in UK English for setup options and for monitoring activity sessions. Bluetooth pairing was quick and easy and the headset can remember connections to up to eight external devices. The earbuds are a little heavy but are still pretty comfortable but can be less so after a couple of hours of use.

Since these are designed for sporting and health tracking use there is an app, Jabra Sport, to use with the earbuds. I installed the Android version on Nexus 6P phone. Annoyingly it was also necessary to install a second app, Jabra Service, in order for the main app to run in the background. The Jabra Sport app is excellent and is one of the best health and sports apps I have used. A wide range of exercise routines are available and results are stored and analysed so that day to day progress can be monitored. When wearing the earbuds during exercise voice prompts keep you informed of your progress and suggest targets to aim for. Although it does integrate with some third party apps many of the main ones such as MFP and Fitbit are not supported. Also, the built in HRM cannot be accessed by other apps such as Runkeeper so I cannot use it directly with Runkeeper when training. There is no GPS built in but the app can access the phone GPS sensor for training sessions.

However, I am not sure I could recommend this device for serious athletes as the Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) built into the right earbud is not very accurate. When I tested it against the chest strap supplied with my [[ASIN:B00J2XI2PG Polar V800 GPS Sports Watch with Heart Rate Monitor – Blue]] and my [[ASIN:B00IVF04LQ Mio Link Continous Heart Rate Wrist Band Works with Fitness App for iPhone 4S/5/5S/5C – Slate, Small/Medium]] I found it to be some way off. It is fine for general use and gives a reasonable idea of the current heart rate but it would not be suitable for those looking for reliable and accurate readings. The battery life of just three hours means that long distance runners, especially slow ones like me, would find it no use even for half marathons.

Turning now to music reproduction i would say the audio quality is good but not great. If I were paying £200+ for an audio headset I would expect a far better sound quality than this. However, this is not a headset designed for audiophiles and for sports user and for general listening the sound quality is fine. There is plenty of bass, although not overwhelmingly so, with mid and upper frequencies sounding rather flat and lacking punch. They sound like they were designed to give a bland sound that would annoy no one. The sound is perfectly good but not great.

I have raised some criticisms of this product but compared to the rivals it is amongst the best. The device is well made and reliable and although the three hour battery life is limited it is still better than moist of the others. The accompanying app is very comprehensive and easy to use and offers a full training and health monitoring service. The audio quality is about the best I have tested of the in-ear wireless although not to be compared to a normal £200+ headset.

If you want an unusual and versatile excercise and training aid which also plays music and do not mind the £229 cost this would be an excellent buy.

The Good
Good build quality
Wide range of ear fittings
Good standby battery life
Click buttons
External sound boost
Excellent and comprehensive sports app
Voice prompts
Built in HRM

The Bad
Expensive
Good but not great audio quality
Short active battery life
Unsuitable for marathons or extended training use
HRM not accurate
Uncomfortable for extended use
Noise reduction could be better
Two Android apps needed for use
App does not integrate well with other apps
Other apps cannot access HRM
App shows battery time remaining not percentage left
Phone needed for GPS use

More info and purchase