Jabra Sport Pulse earbuds

Bluetooth earbuds with an integrated heart-rate monitor

Jabra Sport Pulse
  • Expert Rating

    3.50 / 5

Pros

  • Well designed with an excellent fit
  • Good sound quality
  • Wireless
  • Pouch for easy storage
  • Built in heart-rate monitor

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Need to carry a smartphone to get the most of out them
  • May not suit many athletes
  • Needs to be charged

Would you buy this?

The Jabra Sport Pulse headphones are designed to appeal to those of us who like to walk, run, or hit the gym as part of an exercise program. They use a wireless Bluetooth connection rather than a cord, and they also have a built-in heart-rate monitor that negates the need for an extra strap.

The design and fit of these $249 wireless headphones is quite pleasing, especially when you consider all the technology that’s housed in them. Jabra supplies them with four different ‘ear gel’ cushions that should fit most ear sizes, as well as ‘ear wings’ so that they sit firmly in place. They also come with a handy and sturdy little pouch that even has room for the charging cable. It’s a nice touch.

The headphones fit comfortably in our ears, and they are a big improvement on the standard earplugs that ship with most smartphones, such as the Apple iPhone 6. It took us about two hours to charge them before they were ready for use, but once they were up and running, we found their sound output to be expectedly good.

Jabra Sport Life app

The headphones enable users to sync the Jabra Sport Life app (for Android or iOS), which we found to be useful. The main screen of the app indicates if the earbuds are connected and if the GPS is enabled, If the GPS is on, the app will track activities such as walking, running, cycling, hiking, skating, or skiing.

It’s an app that’s designed to offer plenty of management and evaluation features, and it even includes a ‘voice coach’ to keep you updated as you work out. If you’re already heavily into fitness and have goals you want to achieve, you can use the app to enter metrics such as time, distance, and the number of calories burned.

You can work out while listening to your favourite music, of course. To this end, the app allows for music to be synched from iTunes, and there is support for Dolby sound processing. There’s an option to sync Jabra Sport Life with other lifestyle apps, such as MapMyFitness, but we weren’t able to sync to that particular app to provide additional options.

You must download the Jabra Sport Life app in order to get to heart rate monitor working. We turned the headphones on and selected ‘settings’ to connect via Bluetooth using an Apple iPhone 6 running the iOS8 operating system. We held the button down on the right earplug until the blue light came on and ‘Jabra Pulse a.3.2.0’ appeared twice under ‘My Devices’. We had to connect to both devices for the heart rate monitor to work. The Jabra Sport Life app displayed our heart rate and provided basic information about various training zones, which was useful.

The issue with running

Read more: Marshall Major headphone review

Many of us probably don’t run at a reasonable pace with our phones, particularly given that phones only seem to be getting larger. We certainly would not run with our iPhone 6 for obvious reasons. There are smaller, more practical options available, such as a small Apple iPod Nano, which clips onto your shorts, but this won’t give you the benefit of being able to use the Jabra Sport Life app.

For this reason, the Jabra Sport Pulse fit quite well in the general lifestyle market (for walking inside and outdoors) and even on the treadmill in the gym. But for more high intensity activities, they are not ideally suited.

Overall, we like the Jabra Sport Pulse earbuds. The design is pleasing, the fit seems good and the sound is what you would expect at this price point. Having to charge the earbuds is a little bit annoying, but you have the freedom to be wireless. They are great for the gym or for light exercise where you can bring your phone, but not for more intense activities, such as running outdoors.

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Read more on these topics: earbuds, headphones, activity tracking, bluetooth, wireless, fitness
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