Jabra Sport Pulse Earphone – REVIEW

The Jabra Sport Pulse Earphone is one of the most advanced sport earphones available. I go over the performance and features to see if they’re worth a buy.

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Hey everyone, this is Jimmy with JimsReviewRoom. As you guys know, I love testing things that are really unique, especially when it revolves around fitness for the “Average Joe” like myself.  I bought these Jabra Sport Pulse earbuds for $200 at the time of this video and these can read your heart-rate in real-time, and of course the app has some features to utilize this technology.  Granted, yes, they’re very expensive for some earbuds, but what they can do in theory sounds really promising. I’ll go into of course its sound quality, but more importantly, the app’s features to help you make a purchase decision.

PHYSICAL FEATURES
Going over the physical aspects first, these are wireless Bluetooth earbuds, not to mention they’re also built to withstand Military tested weather and shock standards.  So if you’re caught in the rain running, you won’t ruin these earbuds.  In the box, they do come with your assortment of fittings which are higher in quality than the Jabra Sport Plus I tested a month or so back.  There are 4 different sizes of ear tips in total ranging from extra small to large and three different ear-wings.  I personally wear the small tip with surprisingly the Large wing, and this really stays well in my ear during workouts and exercises.  Jogging and vigorously running has never caused the earbuds to come off the ear.  And for those who are wondering, the ear tips, even the extra small, does not sit inside the ear canal and causes that suction you can say when you pull it back out, but it sits on the opening of the ear canal and its seated very well.  It’s a very nice subtle press against your opening, giving sound isolation and peace of mind these earbuds are staying in one place.

On the left earbud is the heart rate monitor itself.  I suspect the HR monitor uses a technology that we’ve most likely seen before.  Remember those fingertip probes or earlobe clips used in hospitals, this looks to be a very similar, if not the same technology.  And Jabra, if you’re reading, let us know!  This reads the oxygen levels with each heartbeat using Infra-red and red light.  And as our heart pumps blood, the oxygen levels fluctuate like a waveform, so in turn, the HR monitor reads the peaks and valleys of the waveform, essentially providing us our Heart Beat on the app.

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Upon each heartbeat, the heart contracts and there is a surge of arterial blood, which momentarily increases arterial blood volume across the measuring site. This results in more light absorption during the surge. If light signals received at the photo-detector are looked at ‘as a waveform’, there should be peaks with each heartbeat and troughs between heartbeats.

BUILD QUALITY AND CONNECTIONS
But getting back on track here, the ends of the earbuds are very secure with reinforced plastics to prevent wires disconnecting or fraying.  And last is what Jabra calls the Sport button that you tap to Pause or start a workout, but more on the APP shortly though.  Going to the right earbud, there is simply your Micro-USB port hidden and protected by the ear wing and used to charge the Jabra with the supplied Micro-USB cable. Moving down features your inline volume controller with a pause/play button which can also be used to answer incoming phone calls. Conversations are clear enough with no complaints on my end or the person on the other side.  And the last physical item, although the Sound Pulse is very durable from my testing, throwing these into my bag, my car and literally bringing these everywhere, Jabra does provide a small protective case which is well done in my opinion.  It’s still pliable, but its firm to protect the contents inside.

But, for the moment you’ve been waiting for, going over audio quality first, then the app…

AUDIO QUALITY
Considering you’re paying close to $200, you hope the sound is great too.  The audio is very clear, no distortion, and it’s very pleasurable to listen to.  Comparing to the Jaybird BlueBud X’s I have laying around, which I believe have exceptional audio quality for fitness earbuds, there’s just enough bass on these Jabra’s to say MOST people will be satisfied. It’s only a slight hair lower compared to the Jaybird’s, but overall, the sound quality is very balanced, accurate in my opinion without other sound fields droning each other out.  In general, the audio quality is great for all genre’s from pop and hip-hop, to rock and alternative music.  Not-to-mention, classical as well. Mid-range is good with highs enough to not be ear ringing.  You can listen to these for several hours and you won’t have hearing fatigue.  Rap will sound good as well with just enough bass as stated earlier for most people…  but if you’re focus is Bass, and you could care less about the Heart Monitoring feature, for sure try the $200 Power Beats 2 I also reviewed on the website.  Its dominate on bass, but its perfect for the bass heads out there.

THE APP
Now jumping to the app.  It is available for both Apple and Android devices per Jabra.  You start on the main page where you pre-select what you’re planning on doing for recording and monitoring every time.  On the top left shows your heartbeat and the top right shows your GPS strength on your device.   Going down the list here, Activity is your first option giving you a list of common cardio exercises from cycling to skating and skiing, to the most popular of course running and walking.  You can create your own from the top right icon and label your own activity to help keep things organized.  Selecting an activity doesn’t impact how the heartbeat or other data is recorded.  Backing out and moving onto the next setting, you select your type of workout.  Just Track Me literally records what you’re doing from distance, pace, heart rate, etc, but I’ll show you that screen very soon.

PUSH YOURSELF
But to challenge yourself, you can select a Target you want to reach.  Whether you want to run a certain distance and let Jabra tell you how far you have left during your jog to when you finally reached your goal.  You can tell how much time you want to spend on your trail to how many calories you want to burn.  And yes, when selecting these options and the next several I’ll go over, a female voice in the earbuds comes on periodically and tells you that you’re halfway to your goal or that you reached the goal.  But remember that button I told you about on the left earbud?  It’s the Sport Button.  It’s on the fly information. During your run, instead of pulling out your phone, press that button, the nice female voice will come on and readout your current heart beat per minute, your distance, what heart rate zone you’re in and how much time you’ve been in this particular workout.

Now, backing out from this menu, you have Target Pace which is self explanatory, but the next option, Zone Training is ideal for those who want to keep their heart within a certain level to ensure you’re either burning fat, or if you’re training for a marathon and want to improve your cardiovascular fitness, staying in Cardio or Zone 3 is a must.  And that’s what makes heart rate monitoring so beneficial.  If I want to burn off some fat let’s say, during my exercise, how many times have I slowed down and taken a breather…  Well, when the heart rate drops to a level where it’s not working as hard as it should, you’re really not being efficient with your time and effort.

And as stated earlier, that female voice will come over your earbuds, lower your background music, and advise you’re in a lower heart rate zone, and you need to pick it up.  It’s like a coach in your ears monitoring your internals to keep you going.  Rather than stopping every so often to check your pulse.  The last Workout option is Interval training to select which HeartRate zone you want to be in and for how long.  Just as an example, I warm up for 5 minutes, get into the fat burning zone for 10, focus on my cardio for 15 minutes, go all out for 5, then down to a more resting area where I’m still burning fat and able to catch my breath in zone 2.  Again, that’s just an example of what you can do, and again, Jabra over your earbuds will coach you when to switch to your different zones and reminds you to stay there.

Backing out to the main home page, Music is the next option which I felt greatly disappointed It doesn’t let me play Pandora or iHeartRadio which I listen to all the time.  At least with my Apple device, I’ve tried playing Pandora first, but as soon as I start a workout, it stops and starts my local music stored on my device.  I didn’t have a way to play music from my other desired apps.  If there’s a fix or if I’m doing this wrong, let me know in the comments below.  But I’ve tried several variations and had no success.

And last is to adjust the view or how the app looks like while working out which is self-explanatory.  But, I’ll just go ahead here and show how the app functions  As soon as you press start, a countdown begins, and soon you’ll find yourself in your workout with real-time data.  Starting from the far left is your local music playlist which you can change songs at will, but scrolling to the next page reveals your HeartRate and distance travelled in big font.  The great option that Jabra offers is options to change the display.  Instead of distance, you can easily change this to any of the following by tapping on it.

Now, on following page, since I’m doing Interval training, this is showing what zone I’m presently in with how much time has elapsed and how much time I have remaining till the next zone.  The next screen shows again your heart rate up top with time, distance, pace, and heart rate zone you’re currently in.  Again, all of these items are customizable to your liking.  And the last page is the map indicating where you have run and again your Beats per Minute.  And I’m aware the map isn’t showing too accurate since the GPS signal was pretty sparse in this particular park.

Now, as soon as you click stop, the Jabra App does provide insight on any records you’ve broken and any accolades you may have achieved, and the final screen provides a summary of your actions in numbers and clicking on the arrow next to analysis reveals a line chart of how your heart rate fluctuated.  But other than that, that’s basically the app and its features.

BATTERY LIFE & BLUETOOTH
Some things to tie up this review, the battery life with music playing at 50% volume the entire time, to get a good balanced measurement was 5 hours and exactly 10 minutes.  Its a bit on the low side considering other premium Bluetooth earbuds can go around 7 to 8 hours of use. The range is very good though. I stood on one side of the house with the earbuds in and was able to achieve a maximum of 40 linear feet with no loss in signal.  I didn’t go outside, thinking 40 feet is a reasonable area for a person to set their phone down while working out.

But overall, I’m always a big fan of heartrate monitoring and training as it is effective.  With Jabra providing these coaching features, it’s, I believe, a great way to keep you going and pushing you when you need it.  But regarding its price, is it worth it to you.  Let me know in the comments below what you think, and just for an alternative, check out my video, the Pear Sport for $100 which has similar app features, but uses a chest heart rate monitor instead.

So I hope this review helped you in some way.  If you like my work, be sure to like, subscribe and follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ as every little bit helps in bringing you more content like this.  This is Jimmy with JimsReviewRoom, you guys take care.

[table id=4 hide_columns=”all” show_columns=”a,c,g,h,i” /] Stats from manufacturer. If incorrect, please contact us.