Bluetooth Headset Review: Jabra Sport Bluetooth Headphones Review
Editor's Ratings (1-5): 4.5
What's Hot: Robust Bluetooth connection. Water-resistant. Wind noise reducing microphone. Built-in FM tuner. Tangle-free ribbon-type connector.
What's Not: Non-standard control scheme. Somewhat finicky access to SIRI (Apple's voice assistant). Battery life will vary widely depending on the device with which it's paired.
Reviewed by Tom Slayton
The Jabra Sport Bluetooth Headphones are a great way to listen to music or make calls from any Bluetooth equipped digital device. The moisture-resistant headphones and wind-noise reducing microphone make it ideal for outdoor use. The non-standard control scheme, however, is less than perfect.
Features and Quality
The Jabra Sport Bluetooth Headphones are rugged, compact, and feature-rich. After charging it with the included mini-USB cable, simply pair the device and you are off and running; literally. With an iPhone 4S, pairing was ridiculously easy. Simply open the Bluetooth pane in Settings (make sure Bluetooth is turned-on) and then hold down the power button on the headphones until it enters pairing mode (about 4-5 seconds). I paired/unpaired the device 4 times, and each time it connected without issue so you should experience no problems. When you're done, return to your iPhone's home screen and notice in the top right corner that, not only does it show that you are connected, it also shows the battery level of the headphones. Again, my experience was with an iPhone 4S so your experience may be different. If it is, however, blame your phone, not the headphones. Turning them on, results in a near instantaneous connection, which is verified by a small voice in the headphones (no more guessing). Running with them was fantastic. Although the sound quality of Bluetooth headphones can't compare with wired headphones, I experienced no crackling or breaking, and I found the sound to be best of any Bluetooth headphone I'd tried. Although I wouldn't say that I have particularly sweaty ears, I have, on occasion, had to sulkily finish my run to muffled music due to an errant drop of perspiration. Thankfully, the Jabra Sport headphones are nicely resistant to this, and I experienced no such difficulties. I also found the microphone to be sensitive without suffering from wind noise, which was quite welcome, indeed.
With the Jabra Sport, taking calls is simple (tap the control button), making calls was a bit frustrating at first due to the narrow window you have to access SIRI. Holding the control button down will first result in a soft, false beep, which I initially fell for. The trick is to ignore this beep, and instead count to three (one, one-thousand, two, one-thousand, three, one-thousand) before letting go. Too little will only pause your music, while too much will turn the darn thing off. There was another control issue that really confounded me, however. When I attempted to advance songs by double-tapping the control button, I found myself inexplicably redialing the last number I had called. Now, to be fair, the controls are clearly described in the product's documentation, however, I had just spent time with Jabra's wired headset, which worked as expected so I simply assumed that I was experiencing a technical problem with the Bluetooth model. Two calls to technical support resulted in my downloading a firmware update and performing two factory resets because even the techs (apparently) expected this headset to behave the way every other headset does. Ultimately, three pages deep in a Google search, I found a discussion thread where another user had been berated for failing to read the device's manual, just as I had. One-minute later, I was advancing/rewinding songs by holding the volume control buttons down for at least 1 second. Yeesh.
While there have been scattered reports of short battery life, I have experienced nothing of the kind. In fact, I have consistently been getting 4+ hours of life out of the Jabra Sport Bluetooth, although I'm certain this depends heavily on the device to which it is connected. Lastly, the thoughtful inclusion of an FM receiver in the headphones means that even when you don't have your phone, you can still listen to music while outdoors. While this isn't a feature I used much, I can certainly appreciate the technological feat of cramming it into a device this small; especially considering the size of the FM headphones that I used to run with back in the day (think: Ben Stiller in Starsky and Hutch).
I'm a sucker for the yellow/black bumblebee styling of these headphones. While they're likely to stand out in a boardroom, they look right at home in the environment where they are intended.
The Jabra Sport Bluetooth Headphones are an excellent choice for the active-minded music lovers looking to cut the cord. While the controls are a bit non-standard, simply reading the manual will take care of this issue lickety-split. They sound great, never lose their connection, and work as advertised in adverse environments. Lastly, for those comfortable with it, consider updating the firmware upon purchase (http://www.jabra.com/support/Jabra-SPORT_100-96600000-60#download).