Article by Todd Hofert
For the past few weeks I have had the pleasure of using the Sport Pulse Bluetooth enabled wireless ear buds from Jabra. When they claim “take your training to the next level” they are referring to the in-ear heart rate monitoring and feature rich mobile app offered with the solution.
As a cyclist writing for a cycling publication, my initial reaction upon hearing of this latest offering was that I don’t prescribe to nor recommend the use of headphones while cycling. As a trail runner, hiker and skier however, I recognized the potential and decided to keep an open mind and run the product through its paces.
Jabra Sport Pulse: What’s in the Box
The Sport Pulse comes in what can only be described as elegant and functional packaging. Inside you will find not only the earphones themselves but an assortment of what Jabra refers to as ‘eargels’ and ‘earwings’, a set of ‘FitClips’, a USB charging cable, a nicely designed hard shell zippered storage case and instructions.
The assortment of eargels and earwings make it immediately apparent that Jabra has taken fit and comfort very seriously. I don’t know if this is a necessity to insure proper function of the heart rate monitoring, or if it is a nicety to insure comfort and usability. I assume it is related to both but regardless they hit it out of the park here as these are by far the most comfortable earphones I have ever worn. Not only do they feel great, they stay where you put them and rarely require any readjustment.
Jabra Sport Pulse: Getting Started
Connecting the earphones to your phone is a straightforward pairing process consistent with most Bluetooth devices. I used the earphones with an iPhone 6+ as well as an older iPhone 4s. A pleasant female voice with a British accent audibly confirms that your devices are paired and that a heart rate has been detected.
Similarly, the App was a typical “find on the App Store and install” process. The caveat here being that the package included a ‘Step 1 and Step 2’ QR Code printed on a card that indicated you could install the Jabra Sound App by scanning the QR Code. The QR Code however directed me to the wrong app. In fact it directed me to the StumbleUpon App. After a couple of failed attempts I clicked the “Learn More” button rather than the “Install” button and I located app and installed it.
This did exactly what it stated. It installed the Jabra Sound App, a music player, but not the Jabra Sports Pulse App that is described below. After realizing the error I was able to find the Sport Pulse App and install it without issue.
Jabra Sport Pulse: The Mobile App
The App is well thought out and includes a full suite of options. Supported Activities include Cycling, Hiking, Running, Running (Treadmill), Skating, Skiing, Walking and Walking (Treadmill).
The Main screen of the App allows you to choose the preferred activity, the ‘Workout’ selection offers optional settings to establish targets for your workout such distance, time and/or calories, set a target pace and or heart rate training zone. The coaching voice will audibly update you as you accomplish the established goals for your workout.
The Main Screen also allows you to select the default Music Player of choice including a No Music option to address my concern for cycling while listening to music. You can also select your preferred view from which there are three to choose from; the two shown below plus a map view. These are easily toggled back and forth by swiping the screen in either direction if you opt to select another view during your activity.
The Coaching Feature allows you to pre-select the voice read-outs you would like to hear during your workout. At preset user defined intervals based on either time, distance or both time and distance, the coach will read you the current status of your workouts.
These read-outs are based on the selections you define in the Training Settings/Voice Read-Out screen. There are a total of eighteen “On-the-go” Updates that can be read-out during your activity.
Jabra Sport Pulse: Shortfalls
This product is very well thought out and well implemented. I only experienced one issue with the earbuds however it is a fairly significant issue. The Bluetooth connectivity is very sensitive to the distance that the device is from your phone. For example, while using it during bike rides, where the most common phone storage location is a rear jersey pocket, I found that music would cut out frequently. I estimated that the music playback cut in and out and only played about 50% of the time. The connectivity issues are less noticeable when not playing music but when the Voice Readouts
occurred the same symptoms were apparent.
While hiking the same connectivity issues were evident with my phone in my pants pocket. The issue occurred on both my iPhone 6+ as well as the
iPhone 4S. Carrying the phone in my hand, closer to the Sport Pulse Device, or in a shirt or lapel pocket, alleviated the problem.
I am hopeful that this issue is one that can be addressed via an online firmware update at some point. My primary outdoor activity is cycling, an activity where I will not use music, so I can easily overlook this issue and benefit from all of the other great features the product offers. While running, hiking or skiing I will put my phone somewhere closer to the device as needed. I assume an armband would suffice for this as well.
Jabra Sport Pulse: Conclusion
The Jabra Smart Pulse Earbuds and accompanying App measure up. They have achieved the ultimate seal of approval, a place on the home screen of my iPhone. Space reserved for only the most useful and most frequently used apps.
Jabra Sport Pulse: Specifications
- Dimensions: H 2.1 x W 0.9 x D 1 in
- Wearing Style: In the ear
- Weight: 0.56 oz
Disclosure & disclaimer: We received Jabra Sport Pulse earbuds for this review. The content & opinions expressed are entirely our own. Reviews are opinion only and Chasing Light Media accepts no responsibility for how the information is used.