Before you scroll past this post, know this: these are my favourite of Jabra’s earphones. I love them. By virtue of that fact, if you’re looking for heart-rate-monitoring Bluetooth earphones, definitely check this one out.
The Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless is a pair of wireless Bluetooth earphones by Jabra, with an unprecedented feature – the ability to measure your heart rate. In my time testing it, I absolutely loved it, as it pumps out great sound and is really comfortable and good just as a pair of earphones, notwithstanding its heart rate-monitoring capabilities. Its only downsides are its price, and low battery life, which could be off putting to buyers who are, well, put off by its price and low battery life.
When I first got the Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless, I was struck by its incredible earpiece design in terms of functionality. You see, Jabra has this tendency to make earphones that are rather bulky compared to typical non-Bluetooth earphones, and this makes it easier to fall out of your ear (or threaten to fall by wobbling). This is because of the Bluetooth capabilities, so it definitely requires more than the usual sound drivers.
This has led to Jabra using rubber hooks, dubbed EarWings by Jabra, to hook into your ear canal, to secure the earphones, and this I personally am not a fan of due to the rubbing of the rubber against my skin, and it can get a little bit hot and uncomfortable.
In the box here you’ll find EarWings too, which are necessary to use to cover up the micro-USB port, but provided is a pair of EarWings without the hooks, which is truly great. This means that there are no hooks to hook into your ear, and you do not even need the EarWings with the hooks. This is because the bulky bits of the earphones stay inside your ear, so that it can measure your heart rate. This actually makes them even more secure than regular earphones even when running and moving about (centre of gravity and whatnot) and provides another benefit: excellent sound isolation. Seriously, I have not yet experienced such great sound isolation. Almost nothing gets in here, and I really like it.
The earpiece looks really good too, though it is not particularly flashy. It’s a simple, understated design, with hints of yellow on the earbuds and the branding of “Jabra”.
More than that, the earphones are water and dust resistant, so they’ll last in the rain.
But design is not all that maketh the earphones, so we’ll now look at its sound quality.
Sound quality is really amazing. I have no complaints. It’s not just amazing in the world of sports earphones, no. It’s amazing in the world of earphones, Bluetooth or otherwise. The sound is powerful, and made particularly clear and distinct by the excellent sound isolation. It performs well at bass while not being overly bassy, and the sound isn’t tinny, but full. It plays rock music really well, which is something that I cannot say for many Bluetooth earphones, as it manages to keep the instruments clear and distinct even in instrument-heavy aspects of the music. In short, I love the sound quality, and would recommend these just based on the sound quality alone.
The distinguishing feature of the Pulse is the heart rate monitor, of course. According to Jabra, Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless has been tested against a medical electrocardiogram (ECG) machine which showed an impressive 99.2% accuracy in detecting heart rate. I could not personally test it against another heart rate monitor though, but from what I’ve read, it seems to be accurate enough. Heart rate monitoring is also fast and responsive from my own tests.
There is an app included which allows you to track your fitness level and goals using the heart rate monitor, such as calories burned, heart rate at certain timings along with which “training zone” you are in. The activities supported are quite varied, such as walking, running, hiking, skating and even skiing.
You can set goals too, such as distance you want to run, calories burnt, time, pace, and ensure you are in a certain heart-rate training zone.
The app coupled with the heart rate monitor certainly make a good addition to a runner’s arsenal of fitness tracking apps and wearables.
But there are two things about the Pulse Wireless which could be a dealbreaker.
Firstly, the battery life is short. It lasts only 4 to 5 hours, but usually only 4 in my own tests. This is probably because the heart rate sensor likely needs a lot of battery to run. I found myself having to charge it enough times that it became annoying, and was sometimes quite worried about it running out of juice, which is my personal barometer of having enough battery life. So you’ll need to be quite careful and charge it regularly, because you might find yourself stuck with no battery.
Also, it has a rather prohibitive price. It retails for S$298 at Apple premium resellers, Challenger, Harvey Norman, Stereo Electronics and other authorised resellers and at Jabra’s GoWireless online store at www.gowireless.com.sg. This is money that I personally would think twice, maybe thrice, about spending. For some people, it may be within your budget. But for many, I highly doubt it.
This is overall an excellent pair of earphones. With water resistance, great sound isolation, beautiful and clear sound, and a killer heart rate monitoring feature, the overall package is marred slightly by its ugly battery life and even more ugly price tag. I would still recommend you buy it if you can afford it though, because these are the best bluetooth earphones from Jabra I’ve heard. I really hope Jabra learns from this and incorporates aspects of its design and sound quality into its non-sports earphones in the future, because I absolutely love it.