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The cord-free wireless earphones have been around for a while. From Apple, Samsung to Motorola, everyone is pushing the envelope to make cord-free earphones the future of audio playback for mobile phone users. Reason being, they are much more flexible and high on style.
Apple AirPods pace up the development in the tech segment but they primarily emphasized on basics- calling and audio playback. Other brands tried to enhance the end-user experience by incorporating a variety of health-centered sensors.
The most recent entry into the growing segment is Elite Sport; a pair of entirely non-wired earbuds from Jabra, a company known for its Bluetooth enabled audio and teleconferencing products.
Jabra Elite is the company's latest audio product and in a way are the segment's most advanced wireless headphones in the Indian market. Why do we say that? Let's find out with the following review.
What’s in the Package?
Priced at Rs. 18,990, Jabra Elite Sport are cord-free audio streaming earbuds that comes equipped with an extensive fitness tracking setup. This includes a heart rate monitor and TrackFit Motion Counting Sensor. The latter performs a whole array of functions. It monitors time, speed, distance, pace, steps, cadence, calories, VO2 Max estimation and also offers real time audio coaching, which I believe is the highlight feature.
And if you are wondering what is VO2 Max, it is numerical representation of how much oxygen your body consumes during a sprint. VO2 Max also represents your maximum heart rate and serious runners would already know about it. This also signifies that Jabra is aiming serious fitness enthusiasts who are willing to give a chance to wearable technology to achieve their fitness goals. And in a way, the wireless earbuds are pretty much capable of helping them, provided they fully utilize the company's fitness setup.
Besides, the earbuds also has two integrated microphones, one in each earbud. One is provided to support voice calls and the other is added to suppress the external noise while you stream audio. Importantly, the earbuds also support voice controls and you can send audio commands to manage your calls without touching your phone. Another interesting feature is ‘Hear Through', which is an audio pass-through mechanism to allow users to hear your surroundings for safety purposes.
Last but not the least, the cord-free wireless earbuds also comes with support for all leading third-party fitness apps such as RunKeeper, Runtastic, Starva, MapMyFitness, etc.
Select the best fit for your ears
Besides, the earbuds packaging itself is pretty interesting. The earpods are accompanied by three different sizes (S, M, L) of ear gels, ear wings and foam tips. You can choose the perfect size for your ears to make the most out of wireless earpods. Make sure you select the perfect fit in order to get the best in-ear audio playback experience.
Design: Big, Bulky and prolonged use can be really painful
Unlike Apple airpods, Jabra Elite Sport are designed to please fitness enthusiasts and has a tough outlook. They are also bulky and somewhat looks like hearing aids. The earbuds have IP67 rating for protection against sweat and water and you can practically wear them in any weather condition. However, Jabra does mention that it is not advisable to wear the earbuds while you take a swim in pool as the Chlorine can affect the functionality.
Talking about the wearing experience, the earbuds fills the entire center part of your ear and will not fall out if you have selected the right ear gel and ear wings. The real problem is the prolonged usage. The earbuds gets really uncomfortable after a while and I found myself adjusting them for most of the part during a fitness session. However nothing really worked and I had to free my ears frequently to stop them from paining, which hampered the overall audio and training experience. You can try the other ear gels and wings in the package but only the best fit will make the heart monitor work efficiently.
Overall, the earbud fails to offer a pleasant in-ear experience in everyday usage.
Controls: You would prefer your smartphone to operate the earbuds
The controls are provided on the earbuds outer shell but using them was a task in itself. This doesn't mean they don't function properly; they work just fine but are bound to make the in-ear experience more uncomfortable. The left earbud has the volume controls that can also be used to change tracks. The bottom button on the right earbud has the function button that gets most of the things done. You can use this button to answer and end a call, play/pause tracks, open Sport Life companion app and can even start a workout session with a longer press. A double tap on this function button will also help you activate the ‘Hear Through' feature.
You need to press the buttons with bit of a force to get the job done and trust me you will not like the whole process. I end up controlling the buds from my phone in the very first week. The correct implementation of such wireless earbuds would be touch-sensitive controls. I hope the next iteration of Elite Sport offers the technology, until then you have to adjust with physical buttons if you have or are in the process of buying the wireless earbuds.
Audio Performance: Good audio performance and ample features to enhance listening experience
The audio performance is good. The wireless earbuds produce ample amount of base and also delivers clear vocals. The high and mid-levels are also pleasant and the overall audio is immersive. The true audiophiles will still feel the lack of stable balancing but for most of the fitness enthusiasts, the audio quality will suffice. However, if you are looking for truly immersive and bass thumping audio, then Jabra Elite Sport wireless earbuds are not for you. Sony MDR-XB950B1 wireless headphones will be the right buy for you.
Besides, you can personalize sound profiles with the new internal equalizer which offers basic and advanced modes
Fitness Tracking Performance: Extensive fitness tracker setup
Jabra Elite Sport wireless earbuds has a lot to offer in fitness department. Just put in your body stats, let the earbuds complete the initial setup and you are good to go. The earbuds have a heart rate monitor that efficiently tracks your heart rate if you have selected the right pair of ear wings and ear gels. However, the very first process of setting up the heart rate monitor is a bit cumbersome. This is because the earbuds failed to recognize the vitals even after multiple attempts which involve you standing still and jumping for 15 seconds. At last, after five-six trials the earbuds finally recorded the heart activity. Post that, it worked fine.
Coming onto the most important aspect; the fitness tracking and real-time audio feedback is quite intuitive and workable in everyday scenarios, especially for fitness enthusiasts who workout without any trainer or a partner. I was quite pleased to find out that the latter actually works in real-life.
For instance, I tried a small workout session for a ‘Leg' day in gym where the earbuds had to count each rep during squats I perform. Surprisingly, the earbuds effectively tracked the body movement to count my repetitions automatically. More so, they also played some tracks in background, directed me to take rest intervals and offered a complete summary informing me about calories burnt, heart rate, reps, etc. in the end of the workout sessions. Sounds nice! It works too.
The voice feedback by earbuds is quite clear and will keep you informed about your body vitals, time spent and your performance. And as earbuds have no in-built GPS, they can use your phone's sensor to give you insights about your marathons and sprints.
The Hear Through feature that allows you to hear outside sound with earbuds plugged in also works very well. To an extent that sometimes the earbuds turns too sensitive for outer noise. But for safety purposes, it's quite useful.
Overall, the wireless earbuds offer a whole su proved to be a great companion for
Jabra Sports App and supported devices
While you can listen to audio tracks by just pairing the earbuds with your phone via Bluetooth, the best use case is with the companion app Jabra Sport Life. The app has an easy to use interface and offers all the required information regarding your workout sessions and vital statistics. The in-ear coaching feedback can only be utilized when you have installed the app.
As far as platform support is concerned, Jabra Elite Sport wireless earbuds support both iOS and Android.
The earphones lasted for a close to 3 hour on continues music playback with heart rate sensor activated. The charging case was capable to add another 8 hours of battery life for wireless music streaming, which comes really useful.
Jabra says that the Elite Sport are a true training aid for fitness enthusiasts. In a way it's quite true as the earbuds are probably the most technologically advanced true wireless earbuds you can buy in the market.
Are they the best pair of wireless earbuds? Not exactly as the price is a bit steep, they lack on-board storage and fail to offer the most comfortable fit. They make a good buy for serious fitness enthusiasts who want a digital companion to follow a strict fitness regime. You get a waterproof design, freedom of movement, extensive fitness analysis, strong battery life and good audio performance.
Jabra Elite Sport wireless earbuds are available at a price of Rs 18,990 and comes with 3-year warranty against sweat damage; however the company's official page says that you need to register the product to attain the benefits.
AirPods to Samsung Galaxy Gear X Icon and Motorola's VerveOnes, These cable-free audio devices let you enjoy music without worrying about the After Apple's AirPods, we have seen other brands offering their share of true wireless earphones by
These Bluetooth enabled devices are built to offer cord free music, calling features and nowadays also comes equipped with a variety of sensors to encourage a healthy lifestyle.