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Jabra Elite Sport Earbuds (MSRP $249.99)
Providing Classroom Resources on New & Emerging Technologies
The first thing you notice about these earbuds is that they are completely wireless. No wire to plug into your smartphone and no wire stringing the left and right earbud together see photo 1. They will work equally as well with your Apple or Android smartphone.
Before you can use them you will need to determine which ear wing size and ear gel size gives you the best fit. They include silicone and foam tips and the foam ones can give you a degree of passive noise cancellation. This feature might help you hear what is going on in your surroundings. A double press of a tiny button on the right earbud will direct the microphones to transmit the noise from your environment. Great if you are not blasting your tunes. The illustration on the left side of this review shows you what the different buttons control.
The little rubber ear wings that you can see in photo 1 provide a soft lock of the earbuds into your ears. See photo 2. If you take the time to select the wings and gels that give the best fit, these buds will not fall out of your ears no matter how hard you exercise.
They carry an IP67 waterproof rating and this means that they have been tested to survive fully submerged in 3.28 feet of water for at least a half hour. They believe enough in their waterproofing and other design features to include a three year warranty.
Of course small technology has to have small batteries and fully charged these buds will only give you about 3 hours of play or phone time. Their carrying case is a charger and when you place the buds back into the case they quickly replenish their charge to be ready for their next use and the case has enough power to bring total use time to nine hours. See photo 3.
The heart rate monitor that is built into the right ear bud allows the Jabra Sports Life app to provide you with fitness analysis that is based on your heart rate and your personal statistics that you enter into the app on your smartphone. It is available at the Android and Apple online stores for free.
Reasons to Drool
The feature that I loved most is not mentioned in the manual and I discovered it by accident. If you place these earbuds back into their charging case without shutting them off, the case will do it for you. At my request my Jabra contact checked with their engineers to determine if these earbuds were going into sleep mode or shutting off when they go back into their charging case. He informed me “putting them in the case while on actually powers them down to maximize charging”. The second you take them out of the case they will instantly turn on and already have all the settings just the way you like them.
During testing I also found them to be very comfortable to wear, had excellent sound reproduction of my music and videos, and also had good volume. This made it possible for me to watch movies on my smartphone while on a treadmill. The built-in heart monitor and the Jabra Sports Life app definitely could help you achieve your exercising goals. With their waterproof rating I can see myself wearing them when swimming, my smartphone safe on a lounge chair, but obviously not when diving which would be bad for ones ears and also the earbuds.
Not So Cool
Situational awareness by engaging the “hear through” feature is useless if you are playing your tunes with the volume turned up. The heart rate monitor and other exercise assists couldn’t sync with my Samsung Gear smartwatch exercise apps. These earbuds are too new to be recognized by the Jabra Assist app so they couldn’t read my texts; a feature that I feel is important if you need to stay up on your text messages even while you are working out. At first I found the small buttons a pain, a definite negative if not for the auto shut-off feature, but once discovered my button pressing was only used to skip tunes, engage apps, and phone calls.