Till last year, buying a branded Bluetooth sports headphone was an expensive affair. Though cheaper general brands where available on Amazon, branded options would always cost more than $80. Now this is possible for around $50.
This has been made possible by JBL who has started its new Endurance Sprint for $50(45 pounds in the UK, and though it is still not available in Australia, would be around AU$65 converted). They are equipped with a number of features, like touch controls, they are waterproof with IPX7 certification, i.e., they can be submerged in 3 feet(1 meter) water for nearly 30 minutes. They also fit comfortably.
The design of these wireless in ear headphones is quite different from the rest in this league. They have wings or stabilizers that hook into the inner part of your ear to lock the buds in place. One can say that these are a modified version of Beats’ popular Powerbeats 3, which also has hooks that wrap over the top of your ear. The difference being, Powerbeats 3 is three times more expensive than JBL’s headphones.
The earphones are available in 3 different size eartips along with a set of notched silicone “enhancers” which cover the base earbud. The buds are to be inserted downwards at an angle into the ears then twist the enhancer up in order to lock the bud in place and the hooks will go over your ears.
“Twistlock” is what JBL is calling this technology and it works pretty well. The company claims that these earphones will never “fall out,” which is true but that doesn’t mean you’ll always be able to maintain a tight seal, which is crucial to maximizing sound quality with these headphones.
One thing that deserves a mention is that the hooks are magnetized and adhere to a slot near the bud, which creates a loop. Thanks to its nifty design, one can even clip the buds to any clothing or strap on the backpack as well.
“They worked great in the gym for me, but I did occasionally lose the seal while I was running and had to readjust the bud to get it back. The only problem is that when you adjust the earphones you end up touching the right earpiece where the touch controls are located and accidentally pausing your music.”
The touch controls are responsive but a little finicky. I found it easy enough to pause and play music (one tap) and answer/end calls (also one tap) and skip tracks forward (two taps). Things got a little trickier raising and lowering volume (I opted to use the volume controls on my phone).
The life of the battery is quite decent, about eight hours and the option to quick charging, which gives an hour of playback from 10 minutes of charging is also present. This feature is becoming very common in these types of headphones.
Like I have mentioned before, these headphones are quite good, especially for the price you are paying. Though the headphones are slightly bright, they offer plenty of bass and neat clarity and openness. They get better with JBL Reflect Mini 2, which are wireless sports earphones, but are comparatively more expensive. One can easily use it to make calls, but be sure to not expect the most superior quality.
There are a number of varieties, depending of the cost The Endurance Sprint being the cheapest wireless model in the Endurance line, then there is the Endurance Jump option, which is priced around $70, which has a stiffer neckband style design and then comes the topmost model, the Endurance Dive at $90, which provides an option of saving mp3 files in the device itself, and one can even use it while swimming. Though Bluetooth doesn’t transmit underwater, if music is stored on the headphones only, one need not worry about transmission back to a Bluetooth device.
So, unless swimming purpose is what you are looking at, one would be fully satisfied with the Endurance Sprint only. Especially for the price, $50 or 45 pounds it is a superb deal!