The Gen XY Lifestyle

Say Goodbye to Tangled Wires: Jabra’s Truly Wireless Earphones for Workouts

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The new Jabra Elite Sport won’t grab the headlines like Apple’s AirPods can. But what matters is that it grabs on to your ears, making it perfect for workouts.

As the name suggests, Jabra designed their new in-ear headphones with exercise routines in mind, and all without the shackles of wires and possibilities of unfortunate accidents as a result of them tangling.

While it doesn’t have the stylish aesthetics of Apple’s famed minimalist design, the Jabra Elite Sport isn’t one to be scoffed at either. This understated-looking, truly-wireless in-ear headphone is one of the best around at the moment.


Although it’s not quite as high-tech as the Samsung IconX or the Bragi Dash, which have a built-in player and whole lot of features that you may or may not need, the Elite Sport focuses on the essentials as it sees it.

And what it sees is a fitness crowd that want a fitness tracker and a way to listen to music while they work out. Hence, the Elite Sport features a heart rate monitor and a three-axis accelerometer, which allows you to record a variety of performance parameters, including heart rate and VO2 Max estimations.

The result is a pleasantly decent pair of truly wireless in-ears that does exactly what it says on the package. As they were designed for active lifestyles, they perform very well for runs and the like. And because it was designed to fit within the confines your outer ear, they are quite discreet as well.

The Elite Sport features a full range of fittings to help ensure that you can get a snug fit. The package contains three silicone sleeves to fit in the concha of your ear (the space just outside your ear canal) and three types of foam and silicone ear buds to maximise the odds that the ear bud will fit snugly in your ear canal. I found a combination that worked for me, and it is secure indeed; I had to pry them out of my ears, which gave me confidence in that they will not fall out mid-run, especially with the foam ear buds. And they still feel comfortable even after hours of wear.


That being said, it would be best if you can try before you buy as everyone’s ears are different. While Jabra has done a good job of making it fit most ears, you’ll need to find out if your ear’s proportions are out of the norm — if you don’t already know. It’s crucial because much of the positive experience from the Elite Sport stems from a good fit. If you have small ears, the Elite Sport might prove to be a problem.

Using the Elite Sport on a daily basis is also fuss-free: open the carry case (which doubles up as a charger) and the earphones spring to life. They connect immediately with your phone, but only the right-sided earphone is active. You can use it like you would any Bluetooth earpiece to take a call or listen to an audio book. Put on the left earphone, and it goes into a stereo mode for music. It all happens pretty seamlessly. Put them back in the case, and the earphones will disconnect. It’s as easy as it gets. Also, the Elite Sport is water resistant, so there’s no fear of sweat here and after your runs, you can simply rinse them for hygiene purposes. How’s that for easy maintenance?


The audio quality is perhaps the standout and given the fiddly nature of all wireless headphones, this is quite decent by any yardstick. It’s on par with what typical Bluetooth wireless in-ears can deliver right now. Unless you’re an audiophile, in which case you wouldn’t be caught dead using wireless, the Elite Sport is more than capable of delivering the goods on that front. It favours the bass frequencies a little, but you can always switch to the silicon buds to tone it down or adjust the EQ in your music app. Unfortunately, there isn’t a universal equaliser within the app.

Part of the reason why the sound is good is down to the ability to get a good seal between your ear canal and the headphones. The downside is that you can’t hear noise in the background, which may be a safety issue if you are running on the streets with these on. The Elite Sport has a pass-through feature built in, which helps to let background noise through so you can hear warning sounds over your music. It works very well — I press once to pause the music, and twice to turn on the pass-through. It’s not as good as taking them off, but it’s good enough to have conversations without straining to hear what the other person is saying. If you love to listen to your music loud, however, the pass-through is not going to make much of a difference. We recommend that you keep the volume down so you can be aware of what’s going on around you. However, because it relies on microphones to create an audio pass-through, avoid sources of sound that might create interference and produce an annoying hum or squeal.


Regarding the strength of the Bluetooth connection, it’s still possible to disrupt the Bluetooth signal from the phone to the earphones, but you’ll have to try real hard to do that. For the most part, skips are kept to a minimum, so in effect, this is a relatively reliable pair.

While it doesn’t have touch controls, having physical buttons isn’t too bad either. The buttons are a little stiff, but it beats accidentally skipping a track while trying to adjust your earphones. Battery life is pretty modest, with about two and a half hours worth of charge on average in there, which is more than enough for many workouts as well as commutes. The carry case also doubles up as a charger and offers two more charges for up to nine hours maximum, which is reasonable for earphones like these.

Let’s not forget also that these are rather excellent hands-free headsets too. Voice calls are pretty much flawless in quiet conditions, and not too bad when out in a crowd, which is quite admirable considering that it doesn’t have a boom-style microphone.

The only major downside is that the software could be improved. Setting up the earphones and updating them for the first time can be confusing, with little visual feedback to let you know you are doing the right thing. Thankfully, the Sport Life app is a bit better here and includes simple but useful tools to help you get started. However, the list of supported exercises are not comprehensive, so it’s safe to assume that you’re only well taken care of for running and some other basic activities like cycling and spinning. Also, it also has a useful cross-training segment that guides you on how to do the exercises. Of course, you don’t have to use their default app because it supports most, if not all of the major apps like Strava and Runkeeper if that’s what you prefer.


I had some connectivity trouble when using in tandem with a Samsung Gear watch, so that might be something you may want to take note of if you have a bevvy of Bluetooth devices — compatibility. That being said, The Jabra Sport Elite is best experienced with just a phone in tow for your exercise regimen. All-in-one solutions are few and far between (Samsung IconX and Bragi Dash, as mentioned earlier) and they involve a fair amount of compromise, be it sound quality or battery life and so on. But if it’s the case of eating your cake and having it too, then the Jabra Elite Sport represents the most elegant best-of-both-worlds solution available now: good quality audio and full use of your tracking arsenal.

Overall, the Jabra Elite Sport is a useful replacement for the wrist-bound tracker, especially if you need your music and intend to have your phone about you at all times. At S$368, it is a little on the pricey side, but what makes it a winner is that it fares well and delivers for most if not all of its advertised features. There are cheaper options like the Erato Apollo 7 and the Bragi The Headphone if you are looking for just a pure headphone solution, but for your workouts and runs, the Sport Elite is pretty compelling.



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