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Jabra Sport Coach review

Richard Easton
9 Aug 2015
Jabra Sport Coach teaser
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
120
inc VAT

The Jabra Sport Coach are the most comfortable Bluetooth sports headphones we’ve worn

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Specifications

Headphones subtype: In-ear neckband, Plug type: None, Weight: 16g, Cable length: None

There’s no shortage of sports headphones, with both on-ear and in-ear models available in all shapes and sizes, but the vast majority are designed purely for cardio-enthusiasts. This makes them ideal for runners or cyclists and, in fairness, have been perfectly fine for weight trainers, too. There are plenty of running headphones that offer coaching and tracking elements, Jabra’s own Sport Pulse being one of them, but there aren’t many for resistance trainers. Instead, Jabra has come up with the Sport Coach, a pair of headphones designed for cross training and high intensity interval training (HIIT).

While the demands around headphone fit and design aren’t drastically different for cross trainers versus runners, both ideally want headphones that will remain securely in place and deal with the rigours of exercise and the sweat that comes along with it. Cross training as a training programme has exploded in popularity in recent years, making resistance training a more approachable training method for those who might have been apprehensive before. Cross training programmes can have a wide variety of movements, so the tracking and progress reporting is drastically different to running or cycling.

Jabra Sport Coach buds

The Sport Coach works with Jabra’s Sport Life App for Android and iOS, which is also used with Jabra’s Sport Pulse headphones. If the app detects that you’ve connected a Sport Coach, however, you get a wider selection of workout options beyond just running. Selecting the Cross Training option gives you the option to select pre-determined programmes, or to create new ones using the 40 exercises available through the apps. These range from bodyweight exercises to those requiring a pull up bar or kettlebells or other equipment.

You could create a workout based solely around bodyweight exercise, which we found perfect for when travelling and with no gym at our disposal. Most of the other exercises rely on equipment, meaning you can't follow them depending on what equipment you have available to you. When creating your own custom workout you can set how many reps you want to aim for as well as the rest periods in-between sets.

Jabra Sport Coach app tracking

Once you start a workout you get audio cues telling you what exercise to do and for how many reps. If it’s a time-based exercise, such as ‘plank for 30 seconds’ it will automatically tell you to move on to the next exercise. However, if it’s rep-based, such as ’30 pushups’ you’ll need to manually press the button integrated into the left earbud in order to move on.

There’s a motion sensor built into the headphones, but these are only used when running to provide distance, pace, step, cadence and calorie burn data. The sensor isn’t elaborate enough to be able to count reps or detect different exercise movements.

There’s a great variety of exercises, from box jumps to burpees to jump rope, even to some powerlifting movements such as deadlifting, but there are still exercises we wish were included such as bench press. Similarly, there are pull ups but not chin ups, which is trivial. These are the sort of omissions a hardened resistance trainer might miss, albeit one that might not necessarily partake in cross training.

Jabra Sport Coach app history

With no option to add your own new exercises, it also feels like there’s a missed opportunity to have the Jabra Sport Life app just be a catch-all exercise tracking app for workouts. Granted, these wouldn’t have any of the form instruction that are available for the pre-programmed exercises, but you would have the ability to create truly customised circuit training-based workouts with audio cues to move you through the programme and an app to record your results. Even the controlled rest timer alone would make separate apps or interval timer devices like the Gym Boss redundant.

Tracking workouts is otherwise intuitive and you can go back and update the number of reps you perform for each exercise if you find yourself falling short. There’s no way of viewing historical data for individual exercises, or comparing different circuits, however. It would have been useful if graphs or charts could be generated so you could track improvement.

Seeing a tangible improvement in performance is one of the greatest motivators. There is at least a built-in Cooper test (how far you are able to run in 12 minutes) for checking overall fitness levels, but again this harks back towards a more runner-oriented focus.

Jabra Sport Coach close up

The strongest element of the Jabra Sport Coach is the fit. These are supremely comfortable sports headphones - the most comfortable we’ve worn. At no point, even during explosive exercises or movements such as power cleans or boxing, did the headphones feel like they were coming loose. They are also supple enough to not bruise your inner ear and the rubbery wing tips keep them locked in place. You can put them in and largely forget about them completely. The only minor annoyance is the slight added weight of the integrated remote and microphone on the right side, which tends to cause the headphones to dangle unevenly. It's a minor distraction, though.

Sound quality from the Dolby-branded 6mm dynamic drivers was also excellent. There’s enough energy and excitement generated to keep your heart racing and your workout going. The Bluetooth range was a little disappointing. We found the headphones began to intermittently cut out at less than 10m while other Bluetooth headphones maintain a connection across the gym floor.

Jabra Sport Coach remote

The other big disappointment is battery life, at only around 4 hours. You’re going to need to charge these regularly and only use them for your workouts. If you wear these around during your commute, the chances are you’ll find they’re out of battery by the time it’s workout time. While the Jabra Sport Pulse lasted around the same amount of time that was almost excusable due to the heart rate sensor. For the Sport Coach to have such a short life is disappointing and a real shame.

Overall the Jabra Sport Coach has a lot of positives, it’s a great motivator, but it’s a little expensive for what you’re getting. The main benefit is coming from the revamped Jabra Sport Life app that’s providing the coaching but even that feels like that has a lot of missed opportunities. There’s not much going on inside the Sport Coach headphones to set them apart from rivals beyond the TrackFit sensor that’s only used for running. The promise of headphones for cross trainers doesn’t feel like it’s really achieved to its full potential. The headphones themselves are incredibly comfortable, however, and I do find myself wishing they lasted longer. 

Hardware
Headphones subtypeIn-ear neckband
Headphones driverClosed
Active noise-cancellingNo
Power sourceLi-ion battery
Headphones sensitivity94dB
Frequency response20-20,000Hz
Headphones impedence16 ohms
Plug typeNone
Inline volumeYes
Weight16g
Cable lengthNone
AccessoriesSilicon tips, ear wings
Buying information
WarrantyOne year RTB
Supplierwww.selfridges.com
Detailswww.jabra.co.uk
Part codeJabra Sport Coach

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