When you check exercise headphones, you don’t get to strive over-ear ones fairly often. Over-ear headphones is likely to be extra comfy, however they’re more durable to stuff in a pocket once you’re on the go. They’re heavier, and so they can get pushed off your head. They’re additionally fully ineffective in case your exercise routine entails headstands. Just sayin’.
So once I bought the JLab Audio Flex Sport, I used to be skeptical. But over the course of two weeks, they transformed me. They’re extraordinarily gentle—simply 6.three ounces—and you may modify the tensioning on the headscarf. They stayed on securely whereas path working, mountain climbing, lifting weights, and climbing, and so they saved my ears heat and depraved away sweat.
The Flex Sport has its inconveniences. Even with a decent match, they nonetheless slipped round beneath a rain jacket hood. I’ve a tough sufficient time preserving my exercise garments washed, so including washable earpads and a washable headband is much more of a ache.
But I discovered myself forgetting all about these troubles once I stopped, mid-run, to cock my head and understand that I used to be listening to low heartbeats beneath a voice monitor on a podcast. Or to begin pumping my fist once I realized that the downbeat on a Lenny Kravitz tune was whooshing in from my proper ear when the intro was constructing pressure on the left. And all for less than $99! These are a steal.
Fit and Flex
Upon opening the field, you’ll be able to choose to decide on between a unfastened match and not using a pressure band; a standard one, with JLab’s Flex Fit band; or a decent one, with the Firm Fit band. Without a pressure band, the headscarf is perforated for larger breathability and luxury. There’s additionally an non-compulsory smooth headband pad to wick away sweat.
I opted for the tight match whereas figuring out, and for the traditional one whereas strolling my canine and round my home. Each half, together with the smooth, washable ear cups, pops out and in simply.
The smooth ear pads are cushioned with polyurethane foam and coated with a smooth, absorbent polyester-cotton mix. To wash them, pop them out and into the journey bag, and run them on a delicate cycle. You can tumble dry them on low warmth.
I believed placing a padded machine on a not-insignificant proportion of my head’s floor space can be sweaty and uncomfortable. Oddly sufficient, it wasn’t. I actually dislike the feeling of in-ear workout headphones getting sweaty inside my ear canals, and the Flex Sport eradicated that drawback fully.
The Flex Sport additionally solved my drawback of tips on how to maintain my ears heat whereas working outdoors on chilly fall mornings, though they did generally tend to shift round once I was carrying a hood. My ears did get a bit scorching when figuring out in a fitness center, nevertheless it wasn’t uncomfortable.
When the headphones warned me that the battery was getting low, I discovered that it took round two hours of charging for the sunshine to point a full battery. However, it took solely 5 or ten minutes to high up lengthy sufficient for an hour-long run or canine stroll. JLab notes that it has a full 20 hours of battery life. In two weeks of carrying for a number of hours a day to stroll, run, and do chores round my home, I solely needed to cost it totally as soon as.
The buttons are straightforward to search out, and versatile. It was straightforward to change the Flex Sport’s connection from my cellphone to totally different music participant units (JLab additionally advises you to make use of their app to burn within the headphones, however I skipped that). You may also use the quantity buttons to skip or return to totally different tracks, or use the ability button to activate Siri.
The proper emblem button additionally prompts the Flex Sport’s ambient noise characteristic, which JLab calls Be Aware Audio. As an outside runner or walker, it’s extraordinarily vital for me to have the ability to hear outdoors noise. Rather than simply letting in ambient noise, the headphones will use the microphone to select up outdoors noise and play it for you, in actual time. It’s tuned to imitate the quantity of the sound in actual life.
When you first activate Be Aware, you hear a relentless hush of white noise. When you are carrying over-ear headphones, you intuitively count on that the sounds of automobiles driving by, or your canine scratching at some filth, can be muffled for a bit. The sounds weren’t louder within the headphones than they have been with out them, nevertheless it nonetheless made me bounce out of my pores and skin a bit bit to listen to ambient noise so clearly.
I appreciated this characteristic’s inclusion, and if I recurrently labored out in an space the place I is likely to be mown down by a automotive, I might be pleased about it. As it’s, nonetheless, I made a decision I’d quite be beaned within the head with a Frisbee within the park by my home than take heed to hissing in between songs, so I turned it off and simply turned the quantity down low once I was outdoors.
You may also use the best emblem button to change in between JLab’s signature sound, with amped up vocals and bass; a balanced sound; and an enormous bass increase, for when you have to pump up “Paint It Black” and maintain your tempo to 160 steps per minute. Unsurprisingly, I appreciated JLab’s signature sound the most effective.
When testing headphones, I’ve discovered that I like listening to gritty, scrappy, grunge, and punk quite than shimmering instrumentals. It’s loads more durable to make growls and shrieks sound gratifying (a relative time period) as a substitute of muddy. I used to be shocked by how clear the guitars have been on L7’s traditional album, Bricks Are Heavy.
I do know that sound in stereo isn’t an uncommon attribute in over-ear headphones. But as I stated, exercise headphones normally aren’t over-ear ones. To me, having fun with music on a number of channels whereas working within the woods is like occurring a picnic and discovering out that your eating companion has packed actual china. In an uncommon context, strange issues can appear extraordinary.
While outdoors, I usually stopped in surprise to take heed to the guitar intro to “Daughter” on my left, whereas Eddie Vedder began crooning on my proper. You simply don’t count on to benefit from the depth of a well-designed stereo combine once you’re miles away from dwelling, working singletrack. I’m simply fortunate that nobody however my canine was there to take heed to me belt out “Highway to the Danger Zone”.
I Can’t Stand the Rain
A few issues concerning the Flex Sport give me pause. It’s annoying to maintain monitor of the totally different pressure bands and the journey, a.ok.a. wash, bag. Also, I hate washing…something, actually. So the ear pads will most likely keep on till they’re disgusting, and crusty with salt.
They’re rated IPX4, which protects in opposition to splashes in each course. Still, as somebody who recurrently runs outdoors in pouring rain, there are powerful, sturdy headphones obtainable which have a lot increased waterproof rankings.
Still, when it got here time to go outdoors, I discovered myself overlooking these inconveniences and reaching for the Flex Sport time and time once more. They have been so comfy, and the sound was so good. And it undoubtedly doesn’t ache me to suggest a pair of headphones that are available in for beneath $100.