JBL continues its Below Armour collaboration with the brand new Sport Wi-fi Prepare on-ear gym-focused Bluetooth headphones. We do not see almost as many on-ears as we do in-ears within the wi-fi train realm, and the $200 UA Sport Wi-fi Prepare headphones ship a strong, bass-forward audio expertise in a secure-fitting, sweat-resistant design. If we’ve a grievance, it is that the value appears a tad excessive—a not-unheard-of facet impact of co-branded merchandise. Nevertheless, you get loads of options to your cash, together with a Discuss Via button that allows you to hear your environment, and a free year-long MapMyFitness subscription.
The supra-aural (on-ear) headphones have a rubberized contour and a few closely cushioned earpads which might be lined with a black, jersey-like materials. The earcups themselves have a rounded, virtually octagonal form, and the underside of the scarf can be generously padded, which provides as much as a snug match. The gripping supplies used, in addition to the vented earpads and headband, are supposed to maintain you cool and dry throughout sweaty exercises, whereas nonetheless protecting the headphones securely in place. This, mixed with the noticeable, but comfy stress of the scarf, makes for a really safe match.
JBL says the headphones have an ingress safety score of IPX4, which implies they’ll deal with splashing water, however cannot actually take a lot water stress (like from a nozzle or jet) and should not be submerged. Usually talking, this can be a pretty low IP score for sports-focused audio gear, however on-ear headphones are a bit harder to make utterly waterproof. If a extra watertight possibility is a precedence, contemplate an in-ear pair.
On the precise earcup’s facet panel, there is a energy/pairing change, in addition to plus/minus buttons that management quantity, and a central multifunction button that controls playback, name administration, and voice help. JBL additionally opts to make use of the plus/minus buttons for observe navigation—maintain them in for a number of seconds to skip ahead or backward.
A built-in array of three mics permits for TalkThru mode—tapping the Below Armour emblem on the outer panel of the precise ear fades out your music and lets you hear your environment with out eradicating the headphones. For voice calls, the mic presents common intelligibility. Utilizing the Voice Memos app on an iPhone 6s, we understood every phrase we recorded, although there have been some typical, fuzzy Bluetooth audio artifacts. The inline mic for the cable delivers stable readability, with some added bass depth.
There’s additionally a lined three.5mm headphone cable jack—a cable with an inline distant and mic is included. Plugging within the cable robotically powers the headphones down for passive use. The included micro USB charging cable connects to a lined port on the left ear cup.
Together with the cables, JBL contains one of many nicer-looking journey circumstances we have seen. The hard-shell, zip-up case has a rubberized exterior and a carabiner hooked up. The headphones fold down into its inside, which additionally contains a pocket for the cables.
Additionally included is a 12-month membership to Below Armour’s MapMyFitness app (it in any other case prices $29.99), which tracks your exercises. You do not want the app with the intention to use the headphones, and in reality, there aren’t any embedded MapMyFitness options on the headphones themselves—it is merely a complimentary subscription.
JBL estimates battery life to be roughly 16 hours, however your outcomes will differ along with your quantity ranges.
On tracks with intense sub-bass content material, like The Knife’s “Silent Shout,” the headphones ship highly effective low-frequency response that ought to enchantment to those that get further train motivation from boosted bass. At high volumes, the bass would not distort, and at extra cheap listening ranges, it is nonetheless fairly sturdy. The steadiness right here is stable sufficient that the lows do not overshadow the mids and highs within the combine.
Invoice Callahan’s “Drover,” a observe with far much less deep bass within the combine, offers us a greater sense of the final sound signature. The drums on this observe are delivered with some critical thunder—it is not overwhelming, as a result of the complete frequency vary is sort of sculpted, however the lows listed below are sturdy and lend some further physique and roundness to the drums. Callahan’s vocals are delivered with stable low-mid richness, and that richness is matched with a crisp high-mid presence that lends his voice some treble edge and retains the acoustic guitar strums clear and well-defined.
On Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “No Church within the Wild,” the kick drum loop is delivered with ultimate high-mid presence, in order that its assault retains its punchy prominence within the combine. The highs are clearly boosted right here, because the vinyl crackle that is normally relegated to background standing is delivered to the forefront. The sub-bass synth hits that punctuate the beat have an virtually subwoofer-like presence to them by way of the drivers, and the vocals are delivered with stable readability and, regardless of the sculpted high-mids and highs, not a lot added sibilance.
Orchestral tracks, just like the opening scene from John Adams’ The Gospel Based on the Different Mary, sound a tad beefed-up by way of the Below Armour Sport Wi-fi Prepare—the decrease register instrumentation is pushed ahead to an unnatural stage. It is a minimum of balanced by the high-mids and highs additionally being fairly sculpted, however anybody in search of a reasonably correct sound signature for classical, jazz, or orchestral tracks will in all probability be disillusioned with the bass-forward method right here.
Sonically, JBL’s Below Armour Sport Wi-fi Prepare headphones ship a powerful listening expertise, with highly effective bass depth that can enchantment to those that get pleasure from understanding to a bit of further low-frequency push. And from a design perspective, there aren’t a slew of on-ear headphones meant for train. One favourite is the older, inexpensive Jabra Move Wireless pair, although we like JBL’s further options, just like the Discuss Via button and the included MapMyFitness subscription. For much less cash, we’re additionally followers of the Jaybird X3, the JLab Epic Sport Wireless, and the JBL Endurance Sprint—all exercise-focused in-ears, that are much more frequent.