The Gibson Trainer Ti100 have plenty of runner-friendly features, but they're less suitable for broader fitness activities
Headphones subtype: In-ear neckband, Plug type: N/A, Weight: 100g, Cable length: N/A
When it comes to running headphones, the one thing you don’t want is for them to be distracting. If you struggle to keep them in your ears or constantly have to deal with wires rubbing and snagging against your clothing, it can often ruin what’s otherwise a perfectly good run session.
Chances are, it’s a problem which Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt has more than likely had in the past, so it’s quite the coup that Gibson’s got him to put his name towards the Gibson Trainer. If the marketing material is to be believed, the Trainer was in fact created in partnership with Mr. Bolt. In that regard, the Trainer Ti100 gets a lot right and has some clever design aspects to boot.
At first glance, the Trainer Ti100 looks like a pair of conventional, neckband-style wireless Bluetooth earphones. However, it comes with several useful additions. For instance, at the centre of the cable which connects the two earbuds is an LED light for use with its NightNav mode. Once activated, NightNav will make the light pulsate, which is useful for night runners who want to give themselves a little bit of extra visibility on the roads. It’s reasonably bright, and having worn the headphones to run with a partner and with a group, it certainly makes you easier to spot in a crowd.
The only possible complaint would be that the light is positioned at the back of your neck, so it can only be seen by people and traffic approaching from behind. A second light in one of the earbuds, for instance, would have arguably been more useful so you could be seen from all directions, but provided you run on the appropriate side of the road, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
To make sure it stays visible at all times, the LED is actually magnetic, and it slots into a magnetic clip which comes with the headphones, allowing you to easily attach it to your clothing and prevent it from bouncing around your back. More importantly, it’s also a very elegant way of taking the extra slack out of the neckband, and it looks much slicker than the pinch clips used on many other running headphones, as these often leave you with a ‘ponytail’ of extra cabling.
The Trainer Ti100 is designed to be worn in two different styles – either straight in your ears, or looped over the back of your ears in a hook style. As such, the tips are rotatable to accommodate your choice, but both styles have their own pros and cons.
With the earphones looped over your ears, the remote control is located snuggly behind your left ear, meaning it doesn’t flap around as much while you run. However, while the weight of the remote anchors the left earbud hook over your ear, there’s no similar weight on the right earbud, which meant I could never get it to stay against my ear. Instead, it constantly flared out, and the only way I could get it to sit flush against my ear was to not use the magnetic clip, thereby using the weight of the LED light to weigh the cable down.
In the end, I much preferred to wear the headphones inserted straight in. This is normally less secure than wearing them over your ears, but with the correct earbud tips I found they stayed in place perfectly fine. It also meant I could use the magnetic clip as well.
You get four different earbud tips in the box, and three of them include wingtips of differing sizes, which are designed to snag on your outer ear to keep the earbuds in place. A fourth pair is devoid of wingtips and resemble the earpods included with Apple iPhones. The wingtips are made from a soft, supple silicone rather than the hard plastic I’ve seen on other earphones, so they didn’t bruise my ears or cause discomfort.
You also get a good quality zip-up carry case which can hold the earphones and all of its accessories, including the Micro USB cable for charging. The headphones are rated for around 6.5 hours of battery life and I found this measured up to what I got out of them over the course of my testing. A Micro USB charging port is tucked away behind a flap on the three-button remote control and microphone, the latter of which can be used for hands-free calls. The remote control also has an NFC contact point for easily pairing with your smartphone.
The headphones are weather-sealed but not waterproof. As such they’ll be fine in the rain and dealing with sweat but you won’t want to submerge them. The flat rubbery duracord cable also feels robust and should survive your physical exertions. Along with the magnets in the LED light, there are also magnets on the back of each earbud, allowing you to snap them together to secure them round your neck when they’re not in your ears, which is very handy if you need to remove them briefly, as they’re less likely to get lost.
The Trainer TI100 has a frequency response of 5-23,000Hz, which is surprisingly wide for a pair of running headphones. There’s plenty of deep bass presence, so if your preferred workout/running music favours the low frequencies you’ll be well served. There’s lots of energy without sound becoming muddy, and its mids and trebles are respectable for the most part, too. They can sound a little bright at times, but it’s not something you’ll likely be too concerned with when you’re midway through a run. When it comes to delivering music to keep you energised during a workout, they do a good job.
The tips do a good job of isolation, too, although this might not be ideal if you’re road-running. As such, there’s a Safesound mode you can trigger by hitting the multifunction button and down volume button simultaneously. This lowers both the volume and the bass to let in more ambient noise so you’re more aware of your surroundings. It’s useful, but activating it is a little fiddly while you’re running meaning it’s hard to activate temporarily when approaching a traffic crossing, for example. A beep tone can be heard in the earphones when it has been successfully activated, though.
As a pair of headphones designed for running, the Trainer Ti100 ticks a lot of boxes. Having run a number of 10Ks without any issues, the fit and design is great, and the sound quality is more than adequate to deliver some extra energy to your workout. Some of the extra features like the NightNav and Safesound are useful, too, but at £150, they are rather expensive. At this kind of price, I would have loved to have seen some extra refinements like a secondary light or auto-pausing when you snap the earbuds together.
It’s also worth noting that, while the Trainer Ti100 is a great pair of headphones for running, the LED light does become rather unwieldy during broader fitness activities, such as in the gym. During an activity like the bench press, your neck and back are likely to end up pressed uncomfortably against it, so if you want a more general-purpose pair of wireless headphones for exercise, the Plantronics BackBeat FIT or BlueAnt Pump HD Sportbuds are better options. However, if you’re a serious runner and want to upgrade your audio workout experience, then the Gibson Trainer Ti100 is a great choice. It wins a Recommended award.
|Headphones subtype||In-ear neckband|
|Headphones impedence||32 ohms|
|Accessories||Hard carry case. magnetic clip, wingtips|
|Warranty||One year RTB|
|Part code||Trainer Ti100|