CrossFitters and runners alike agree that next to coffee, music is what gives you that real boost you need to power through that last set or last mile. A good set of Bluetooth earphones is essential to a good workout, and the Jabra Sport Pulse comes out on top. It monitors your heartbeat through the earbuds and gives real-time audio feedback mid-workout when you are too tired to blink.
At first, I was worried about the fit of the earpiece. The rectangle shape looked like something that does not belong in my ear. After trying out different sizes of earpieces (it comes with several), I found the right fit. The fit has to be snug so as to accurately measure heartbeat. That being said, it is one of the most accurate ways for wearable tech to monitor your heartbeat. Putting the earpieces in at first is unfamiliar and tricky, but once you know how to do it, it is like wriggling into your favorite pair of skinny jeans — second nature. The fit of the earpiece is not pressure-like, but rather comfortably full. After a while, my ears felt empty without them during a workout. They never fell out, were a bother, or were painful, even after a long workout. In fact, they even block out a lot of noise and let you focus on your performance rather than the guy grunting through deadlifts next to you at the gym.
The Jabra Sport Pulse pairs with its companion app for real-time analysis of your exercise — as a result, you must be within Bluetooth range of your phone to track your workout using the earphones. Within the app, you can design your workouts, save them, and use them as templates for a planned workout. For example, my typical routine is a circuit of deadlifts, squats, overhead press, and push-ups. I rest a minute in between each set. The Sport Pulse tells me when that minute is up and what to do next. On days that I want less structure and just want to monitor my heart rate, I use a blank “Just Track Me” format and go. What’s nice about this is that it isn’t just geared towards runners, like so much wearable tech is. You can do CrossFit or even powerlifting and track it while enjoying music. At the end of the workout you see this:
You can also take several of these fitness tests:
The Jabra Sport Pulse also has an optional music app you can use. The way it is supposed to work is that when you launch it, it syncs your music library and then optimizes the tracks for sound quality. It didn’t work for me and the only explanation I could find is that DRM tracks are not synced. However, plenty of my music is DRM-free, so perhaps there are some kinks to be worked out of the app. This was a non-issue for me anyhow, because I prefer Spotify workout playlists over navigating my own music during workouts, and the earphones worked perfectly for that.
That brings us to sound quality. The Jabra Sport Pulse has fantastic sound quality. Music sounds complex and workout feedback is crisp and clear. Phone calls can be handled with the Sport Pulse as well. I like to take the non-heart rate reading ear piece out for phone calls so I can hear and modulate the sound of my own voice; otherwise, it is rather muffled and I tend to speak too loudly. I also appreciated that the earphones are sweat and weather proof. Since the walk from my gym is often both rainy and umbrella-less, this was nice to have.