Sweat-proof and designed to withstand absolutely any workout, the new JBL x Under Armour Wireless headphones are marketed as being “designed by athletes, for athletes – to set the new standard of what a sports earphone should be.”
Said Mitchell Wong, 34, Training Manager for Harman Asia-Pacific, “Being sports earphones, they are supposed to be really comfortable and not fall out of the ears during workouts. The JBL x Under Armour earphones does really well in that aspect so we are confident that this will separate us from other sports earphones available in the market currently.”
And as for the tie-up with Under Armour for the headphones, Wong explained, “Under Armour has a wide range of athletes using their brand, and they have many customers convinced that their products are good. Working with Under Armour is like adding value to our brand, for the headphones.”
Recent Launch Event at Tangs
The JBL x Under Armour headphones were recently launched in Singapore at an event at Tangs Orchard, where members of the media had been brought through a presentation of the main features of the headphones, before we were subsequently given a hands-on demonstration with the headphones itself.
Following that, we were then each presented with a pair of the headphones for our review. Since then, I have managed to take the earphones out on a few runs – to test them out.
Earphones are quite large but fit snugly
My first impression of the headphones was that the earbuds were quite large, as compared to the standard ones out there. I’ll say that it may be a tad difficult to twist and put the headphones in the ears especially if you’re not used to it, but once a perfect fit is made, I discovered that the headphones do stay rather snugly inside the ears and they do not fall off at all when I am running, thanks to JBL’s TwistLock technology. This is despite the fact that I tend to sweat buckets during my runs especially in Singapore’s hot and humid weather.
Said Wong, “The TwistLock is a unique selling point for the headphones. All headphones today come with a strong bass, bluetooth features and more, but TwistLock is patented to Harman, so that plays a big role and we are sure it will really change how we play the game in the sports headphones market.”
One thing that I had noticed about the ear tips is that it can be a bit of a hassle to swap them around, as they can be fairly difficult to take out and replace. But then again, perhaps the benefit of this, is that the ear tips will not drop out easily when you are working out, or taking off the headphones soon after a workout session.
The minimalist design of the earphones also works quite well in terms of them actually staying inside the ears during a full workout. Though the earbuds themselves have plenty of substance, there is very little weight pulling down on the 46cm-long cable that the earbuds are attached to.
In fact, the only item there is the Inline ControlTalk button, which comprises of a microphone, volume controls, a universal button as well as the hidden USB port for charging purposes.
Pressing the button on this control panel was easy to do – the buttons are responsive and easy to push, which makes for example, turning up or down the music volume in the middle of a workout, a simple matter, thus completely taking away the need to stop running and fiddle with your phone to do so. It is also quite easy to figure out, through the coloured lights on the control panel, whether the headphones are on or off, or low on battery and need charging.
When working out, the headphone cable can be placed around either the front or the back of the neck, but personally I found the front to be more comfortable during my running. Also, it must be noted that the cable can be adjusted, to fit smaller or larger people – thanks to the cord management clips that have been included as part of the package.
However, the cable may have the tendency to rub against your skin or clothing though, and you may be able to hear the rubbing sounds.
Sound quality is low and bassy
Sound-wise, I had thought the quality of the music was pretty low and bassy, and at the same time, it also keeps the surrounding sound out rather well. The audio clarity and detail was also quite strong, and I discovered that it also works quite well with most genres of music.
However, that said, for higher-pitched sounds, the tonation does appear to be a little bit on the low side.
The headphones are sweat proof and are advertised as having a IPX-5 military grade, which means that it should still be able to work well, if you happen to get caught in a downpour whilst running and the headphones get wet. Just don’t try taking them out for a swimming session, though!
When charged to the maximum, the battery life is advertised as lasting eight hours – for a pair of sports headphones, this is a decent length of time for most runners and endurance athletes like myself, whose training sessions and races may sometimes take several hours for them to complete.
Added Wong, “With the headphones, we are looking at people who are really passionate about their sports for example, athletes who take part in Ironman triathlons purely because they love the adrenaline of it. If you have the passion and love for, and to engage in sports and push yourself to the limits, then this product will be for you.”
But with the eight-hour battery life and good sound quality, these will also work out as headphones for everyday usage, for example, when you are commuting on the bus or the train and you would like to listen to your favourite music.
The earphones are a good quality pair for workout and everyday purposes.
As a whole, the JBL x Under Armour headphones are a good quality pair for not only workout purposes, but also as an everyday pair. And as a bonus, every purchase of a pair of the headphones comes with a complimentary membership to the MapMyFitness MVP smartphone workout app.
Said Wong, “The headphones combines the Under Armour brand and name, together with the durability and the strong audio quality of JBL into this product.”
The earphones have a retail price of SGD289 and they are available at all major retailers across Singapore.