The portability of smartphones and MP3 music players has created an interesting sub-category of sports tech, with dozens of smartphone apps dedicated to tracking workouts, recording the distances you cycle, managing your calorie intake and supporting you towards a workout goal. This in turn has tech designers thinking about gym junkies and marathon runners when creating new products, with the Jabra Sports range fitting snugly into this category.
The design of Jabra's corded sports headphones is the standout feature here. The ear buds sit on the end of curved ear loops, securing the buds at the entrance of your ear canal even while you jerk, bob and weave during exercise. We found this design comfortable, but wished that the ear buds could be manipulated so as to fit a little tighter.
The real genius in this design, however, is the thick, tangle-resisting cable; measuring about a centimetre across, this cable simply cannot tie itself into a tight knot in a bag, and though it can still twist itself into a frustrating shape, unravelling this mess is significantly easier than it would be with standard headphone cables. Jabra also includes a microphone on the cable for calls, a single button for answering calls, and a handy clip to attach the cable to clothes and keep it out of your way during a workout.
While we think the Jabra Sport-Coded look great (feel free to disagree, yellow isn't for everybody), the sound we got out of them didn't rock our workouts. As noted earlier, the ear buds sit comfortably just outside our ear canals, but in this position we found the richness of the sound leaked out. Even when we fitted either of the ear-gel alternatives, the sound still sounded shallow.
The microphone worked well enough, though, and would make a useful stopgap for times when you want to take a call and continue your workout as well. People we spoke with made it clear that they could tell we were on a hands-free headset, noting that we sounded distant, but they could also hear us clearly enough to continue the conversation.
Jabra's sports headphone design is a winner, but it isn't matched with outstanding audio. For its RRP of AU$69.95, there are better options available for straight music-playing headphones, but the combination of design, microphone and passable sound could be enough to tip you in favour of this unit.