Review: Jabra Sport Pulse Goes for Your Heart

Gadgets Products Reviews

Hi there. I’m the guy who said I would not review headphones anymore unless they were exceptional. I mentioned having a few pending. This is one of those, but don’t let it take away the fact that they indeed stand out.

Small and light, but the fit is tight. Source: Jabra.
Small and light, but the fit is tight.
Source: Jabra.

Let’s get one thing out of the way: the Sport Pulse Special Edition sounds pretty good to me. The previous generation was said to have some audio issues, but everything sounds just about perfect to me. If you just wanted to use this as a dedicated audio device, you could. The inclusion of two different types of ear inserts, in three different sizes is inspired. I used the foam type and found that they did a wonderful job at muffling or blocking exterior noise.

Just because you could use it as your everyday headphones, does not mean you would want to. For one thing, the battery life is only good for about five hours. Also, after about three, the ear buds felt odd to me. But that should not be an issue if you use this for the designed purpose: fitness tracking. You’re simply not meant to wear these for hours at a time.

Source: Jabra.
Source: Jabra.

Setting up takes a minute. You do not want to set the Sport Pulse up like any other headset. Instead, you want to download the dedicated Jabra Sport app. It will walk you through a few configuration tests, and then you’re going to want to poke around the app for a bit.

To be honest, I’m not a fan of dedicated sport apps in general, and I had one minor quibble with this one; my heart rate was not front and  center. I don’t like that I have to dig for it. However, in terms of tracking, metrics, etc? Once you get it set up, the Jabra Sport app is very good at tracking all your info. I was especially happy with how well it integrated my phone’s GPS. The good news is if you use Runtastic, Runkeeper, and a few other solutions, the app integrates with them.

The many faces of the app. Source: Jabra.
The many faces of the app.
Source: Jabra.

I’m also not much of a runner, but I was impressed at how well the Sport Pulse Special Edition kept track of things when I did. Also? Once these suckers are in your ears, they are not coming out by accident. The three-year warranty on sweat damage is also kinda neat, and why you want to save the box.

There is also the Sport Coach SE, which has no heart monitor but instead tracks your reps. As I don’t do anything rep related, I could not give these a proper review. In a perfect world, though, there would be a Coach/Pulse hybrid.

These are not wireless headphones for everyone. There are more affordable options, and some might even sound better.  The $160 price tag seems  high until you keep in mind that this takes the place of a fitness watch. The Sport Pulse SE (as well as the Sport Coach) are a dedicated fitness solution for someone serious about their fitness. If that sounds like you or one of your family members, grab a pair and hit the streets.

Note: Jabra sent me the Pulse SE and Coach SE to review.

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