The Jabra Sport Pulse does away with the need for a bulky and uncomfortable heart rate monitor, but battery life could be better
Headphones subtype: In-ear headset, Plug type: None, Weight: 16g, Cable length: N/A
The Jabra Sport Pulse is a clever pair of headphones that brings together music and heartrate monitoring into one convenient device. The HRM is integrated into one of the earbuds, which is supposed to produce a more accurate heartrate reading than alternative methods; we found readings were at least as accurate as the wrist-band monitor we compared it to.
Music is the natural companion to exercise, helping to really get your heart racing and your adrenaline pumping – it’s the reason many people choose to run or work out with headphones. A lot of runners also want to be able to monitor their heart rate, as this can be a great way to keep track of your fitness level as well as ensuring you’re training optimally. Typically this meant wearing an unwieldy chest-based heart rate monitor or a wrist-worn HRM. When you’re running you don’t want to be encumbered by too many devices, so it’s liberating to only need to grab one.
The Sport Pulse uses a neckband design and connects to your smartphone through Bluetooth. There’s also convenient NFC one-touch pairing for phones that support it. There’s nothing more distracting than wires when you’re running, so it’s great that you don’t have to contest with the sound and nuisance of wires rubbing against your clothes as you go looking for a new personal best.
As a pair of in-ear headphones, the Sport Pulse blocks out most external noise. You’ll therefore want to be extra cautious of your surroundings if you’re running on the streets. You get four pairs of EarGel earbuds in a range of sizes, so you should be able to find a pair that comfortably fits. You also get three pairs of rubberised wings that help reduce movement and keep the buds locked into your ears. We’ve seen plastic used for wing tips on competing sports headphones, but the rubber used here was much more comfortable.
The Sport Pulse is slightly fiddly to get into your ears at first, and it takes a bit of practice, but eventually you get the hang of it. The cable connecting the two buds is rather long, although you do get a cable tie to pinch in some of the excess. However this creates a ‘pony-tail’ of excess wire, which isn’t particularly elegant.
There’s an integrated remote control and microphone for hands-free calls, skipping tracks and changing volume half way up the cable. The remote makes the weight imbalanced, however, so we found the headphone’s cables pulled on one side more than the other; this proved a little distracting during runs. You also get a carry case for safely storing your headphones when you aren’t exercising.