No too long ago, the good people at Jabra Malaysia has asked me to review one of their latest Bluetooth wireless sports earphones. Of course I was excited about it; especially when it came to gadgets. I was loaned one set to be tested and generally I was quite pleased with the results.
This review is going to be general and it at least covers on general usage like using it during workouts and other normal day usage.
The day when I received the package,I was pretty excited. Basically because I was eager to try it with my new tablet/phone(or what most refer to as a phablet). Yes,the big chunky thing of a phone that some of you are still laughing about. Long story short; had to get this since previous phone decided to take a"swim"during the last Great Eastern Live Great Run.
Let's cut to the chase and see the unboxing.
The Jabra Sport Wireless+ comes in this lovely hard box; featuring Ironman Champion Craig Alexander. Now if you have Crowie endorsing this product, you know this is some tough, durable device. More on that later on. And no, you won't be like Crowie after wearing this. You still need hard work to train to be a top triathlete. At least it's not Justin (Beaver) endorsing it. That would be a HUGE turn off.
On the side of the box, it quickly states the features of the device (as you can read above) and the it's contents.
Opening the box reveals a message from Crowie himself. Listen to the man. PERFORMANCE.
The moment I read rain, dust, shock protection, performance ; it's sorta like telling me "Andrew, this is SERIOUSLY for you".
Well, I'm very accident prone. I always have a tendency to abuse my electronic devices or even lose it. Getting things wet is another. Recall my wet phone story?
Inside the box reveals the sexy looking ear piece. Also in it is a 3 month Endomondo Premium access. Not going to elaborate much on this but I personally use Endomondo for tracking my cycling activities and it's wonderful. Endomondo also allows you to connect with the Polar Bluetooth Wearlink to track your heart rate. This exist for the free version and the premium version would have a more elaborated summary including HR Sports Zone.
Included in the box as well are the accessories to compliment the device. A quick start guide book, and armband, Micro USB cable (not pictured) and a set of 7 pieces of ear gels are included. The ear gels (or ear buds) are customizable to fit your ears; there is bound to be one that fits you! This is definitely a plus point as we would want a fit that fits perfectly for us. With that said, the down side is that too. Once you have to many to choose from, you start to contradict. Nonetheless, I found my perfect fit. I chose the one that directly transfer the sound to the ear canal; similarly like the IRONMAN Yurbuds that I'm using.
A Closer Look.
The first moment you touch and feel this Jabra unit, you will notice it's durable and robust build. It's certified weather and shock proof by US Military standards. I've abused my unit quite a bit from all the running. Sweat is definitely not an issue and can be just easily wipe clean with a cloth after use. However, do bear in mind that this is NOT waterproof; so please don't go swimming with it. ;)
Don't just take my word for it. Here is a video to get you convinced.
The device uses a ear lock-in system that doesn't fall out. It hugs snugly behind the ear for a comfort yet sturdy fit.
The overall outlook is simple and has quite a minimalist approach. Buttons are easy to access and you don't need to be a genius to operate it. On both sides of the device are the Omni-directional microphone. This is to ensure that it picks up your voice during voice calls and reduces the environmental sound to a minimal. Next to the microphone is the PLAY button that functions as an ON/OFF & Play Button.
On the right ear piece, there are 3 buttons. 2 mainly for volume and the FM button is to listen to the radio. The Volume buttons speaks for themselves but it also doubles as a track skip on a long press. The FM function is quite a miss. I wasn't able to receive any radio stations even if I tried it at different locations. It's mostly a hit or miss thing as it randomly seeks a radio frequency. The most I got was some station speaking some gibberish I couldn't understand. Alien frequency perhaps?
Above the volume button is a small LED light indicator to indicate charging, battery life and charging.
There are no buttons or functions on the left ear piece.
The next highlight is the connecting cables between the ear pieces. It utilizes a thin nano cable that won't tangle and can be adjusted with a provided adjuster for an optimum fit. Be sure not to tightened it too tight as it will pop open the adjuster.
Charging the device is a breeze! It utilizes a Micro USB port (which is very common in current Android devices). I'm glad that it doesn't use a proprietary charger cause usually those things cause a massive headache when travelling. A Full charge takes approximately 2 hours and it would last up to 4.5 hours of talk time, 4 hours of music and 5 days of standby time. This is pretty much accurate during my usage. I'm able to manage a whole movie that would last at about 3-4 hours which I would say it's fair.
The Wear-ability and Fit.
Wearing the ear pieces is easy. It's pretty similar to the Sony W-Series Walkman I have been using for years minus the rigid connecting band in between. The fit is pretty much perfect and not too tight into the ear canal. I've let a few of my lady friends try it and the results vary. If you have smaller ears, the grip may not be as optimal but easily solved with a different ear gel or adjusting the cable in between. Be patient as it may take some getting use to at the beginning.
Once the fitting is correctly done, you still should be able to hear the environment around you. This is not a noise cancelling device so you won't find the ear gels too tightly sealed into the ear canal. This is only fair and safe for workout outdoors. You need to be aware of traffic around you as well, right?
Use the adjuster to adjust the tightness behind your ears. This to ensure you have a more optimal fit and it wouldn't wobble around when working out.
Pretty simple, right? :)
Connection to any Bluetooth devices is simple as long the device supports BT3.0 onwards. In my case, I've used my smartphone (BT 3.0) and phablet (BT 4.0). Connection is easily established (a bit more quicker with BT 4.0). In case you are clueless on this, worry not. The device actually has a special lovely lady's VOICE OVER feature that will explain to you each step of the way. This is excellent for those who are lazy to read through the guide book (like me). It will also speak out commands for every button that you've pressed like ON/OFF, Play and etc. This pretty much mimics the pre-Siri Apple days of the Ipod Shuffles; minus of course the horrendous robotic voice.
The REAL Test (How does it REALLY Sound?)
Close, long time friends would know I'm quite a music lover. In my days, I had a fair share of Walkmans, Discmans and MP3 players. One would agree that I had loads of earphones and headphones to compare sound quality with. Although I ain't a professional audiophile but I could still tell what a good sounding earphones are like.
The first try is always dance music with loads of deep bass. Although I'm initially excited of it's advertised "Powerful Bass" feature; sadly I was underwhelmed by it's performance in this department. I wouldn't say it was bad either but the driver could had pushed a bit more rather than sounding a bit flat.
However it worked well with acoustics. Any song played with mid bass like RnB, Jazz, Pop (or music of that sort) fared better. Voices could be heard clearly and has a subtle bass lingering.
Justin Timberlake sounds good and sharp as long as you don't crank the volume to the max. Doing so would distort the sound higher notes and it's seriously bad for the ears.
Watching movies is equally awesome especially it involves a lot of talking. I've watched a few long episodes of IRONMAN TV when I was on my treadmill workout days and voice overs could be heard clearly without sounding too like a "deep voice radio DJ". Thumbs up on this! :)
As for voice calls, it's pretty much do what it says it do. However, periodically it would sometime have some interruption like the recipient not able to hear your voice or disconnecting. Something that could be solved by just reconnecting the Bluetooth device again. Sound clarity is good but could be better.
The JABRA Sports Wireless+ is definitely something worth thinking about especially for rugged use and sports enthusiast like many of us. Despite it's shortcomings on the bass performance, it's won't deter you from looking away. It makes up in it's finishing, durability and performance. The sound performance is good to keep you motivated in your workouts. Definitely worth the consideration if you are looking for something that gives you more freedom in your workouts.
The JABRA Sports Wireless+ is available at all Authorized Jabra Malaysia Resellers. and retails at RM499.
Note : Jabra Malaysia has loaned this unit to me for a month to review.
Good News Everyone! (2XU Compression Run Malaysia 2013 Participants)
If you had signed up for the upcoming 2XU Compression Run Malaysia 2013, you should had received a special offer from Jabra Malaysia to purchase this lovely babies for a special price of RM350! Follow the instructions on the email and confirmation of transaction shall be sent to you once firmed. Participants with successful paid transactions for item would be able to collect the during the race pack collection. Don't miss it out!