Jabra Takes The Wires Out Of Running – #Jabra Pace Review

You already know I’m a creature of habit. If it works, why change it up? If it makes my life less complicated and more predictable, I just assume stick with it.

I had been listening to the Runner Girls Podcast, which for the first few months of the year, was sponsored by Jabra and their headphones. The runner girls, Sue, Meagan, and Katie, seemed to like the wireless bluetooth headsets and spoke rather highly of them. I’ve tried bluetooth headphones in the past. In fact, I have an “over the ear” pair that just so happen to be made by Jabra as well.

The headsets work great, but only in the winter months when the extra coverage has a dual purpose – to keep those ears warm as well as to wirelessly listen to whatever you are listening to. But they are much too warm for the summer. I typically revert back to my old Apple earbuds in the warmer months. And not the new version of the Apple earbuds, either, but the old archaic style. They stay in my ears the best, for some reason. Although tedious and intrusive, the wired earbuds do the job they are supposed to do – deliver music or sounds rather flawlessly. You don’t have to charge them, or worry about them not connecting, unless of course, they wear out, which apple headphones do. It seems you do need to replace them every few months, especially after the wear and tear of running in them, and sweating in them, etc.

I asked Jabra if I could test a pair of their newly designed wireless earbud headsets. The last time I tried a Jabra headset, the kind that sit in the ears and string around the back of the neck, I was highly disappointed. Every time I turned my head to check for traffic at an intersection the like, they popped out of my ears. Struggling to get them back in place while still moving my feet proved exasperating. I just didn’t have the time or the patience to mess with them. I returned them to Costco, which is where I purchased them.

Jabra was happy to get me out of the “Stone Age”, as they said. They sent me a pair of their Jabra Sport Pace.

Jabra Sport Pace

Jabra Sport Pace

I was hoping to test a pair of their headsets that includes a heart rate monitor, the Jabra Sport Pulse. But beggars can’t be choosers. These would do just fine.

Inside the box

My first impression, out of the box, was not particularly pleasing. I found myself having flashbacks of the pair I had previously tried, the ones that kept popping out of my ears. Clearly, these would need a serious test and I was prepared to give them that.

Putting them in my ears took a bit of finagling at first, until I figured out that it was easier than I was making it. It took a few attempts. The headset is supposed to come equipped with three different sized replaceable inserts; small, medium and large. Mine did not. It just had the pair that was on the earbuds as they were packed.

Immediately after getting them in my ears, I noticed that the noise cancelling effect was higher than any other set of headphones I’ve ever had in my ears. I wasn’t quite sure how this would affect my run. However, after connecting them to my audio, the sound results were much better than my old Apple earbuds. They sound great! Music, podcast, audio book…no matter. Crisp, clear, and quite pleasing. I was impressed.

2016-05-30 12.48.14

Heading out onto the road for the first test run, I found no issues whatsoever. They seemed to be staying put. I quickly became accustomed to having something larger inside my ears. That’s not to say they were uncomfortable, they were just different as compared to what I was used to.

Accelerating to a run wasn’t an issue. So far, so good. My first true test, however, was in less than 100 yards, where I’d take my first head turn, checking for traffic across a country road intersection before continuing on.

Ready, set, turn! Right, Left, Right again. They stayed! And they stayed securely. Well, that is a relief. Test one was a smashing success. Time to continue on.

The road I run on has a few invisible hills, meaning, you can’t always see on incoming vehicle until it ascends upon the crest. Typically, however I can hear them before I see them. I noticed immediately that I could not hear them with this headset on. At first, it was a little unnerving. But I must have since become accustomed to this, because now it doesn’t phase me. This might be because it forces me to pay better attention to the road and the traffic, or my hearing has keenly improved since wearing them. Either way, this has almost become a non-issue…almost.

2016-05-30 12.48.12

Running with them at a race or event is different. I can’t have them turned on, or I have to have the volume turned way down to be able to hear what is going on around me at start time. It is also difficult to hear someone if they are talking directly to me. I have to pull them out of my ears entirely, even with no volume turned on. If I have the volume up to running volume, forget it. There is a time and place for noise cancelling headphones. Sure, at the gym it doesn’t make much difference. But on a road, with traffic, or at an event with people, they can be a hindrance. I’m grateful that they are rather easy to insert and remove because I find myself more often than not pulling them out to hear some important information, or converse with my husband at the finish line, or before I head out for a run.

The headset has a small controller on the right hand side that allows you to adjust the volume or power on the fly. Sometimes I inadvertently hit the wrong button. It is easy to do. You have to feel your way up and down the control to find the center, and then work your way up and down from there. There is a small port on the left ear bud in which to charge your headset. There is a small lid to this port and you must be careful because it is easy to pull out. If you do, consider it lost. It is so tiny. I think having this permanently attached would have been a better plan.

Let’s talk battery life. Short runs of less than an hour are a non issue. I took them on my first long run at a local park last month. I had planned a 5 looper that day, which would translate to about 17 miles. to be honest, I didn’t think much about the battery life of the headphones until that day. I took care to charge them before each use, so I hadn’t actually run them down yet.

When I hit the 10 mile mark, I was surprised to get the warning that the charge was at “medium”. Jabra actually informs you with an audible alert. This was a little disconcerting. Would they make it through an entire marathon? Will they stay charged if, I in fact, run a 4 hour 26-miler? It would be a bummer if they didn’t make it. At this point in the test, I made the decision to carry along the old standbys for my upcoming Grandma’s Marathon run. I had my doubts.

My husband, however, seemed quite convinced they would last for me. “As long as you aren’t ‘powering them on and off,” he said, ” they should get you through.” I wasn’t so sure.

I also ran with them at Lola’s Half Marathon two weeks before Grandma’s. I was disappointed to hear that I hit the “medium” power level again at the 10 mile mark. Damn. I became less convinced they’d make it through a 4 hour run. I then decided I’d refrain from posting my review of this headset until after I had road tested them for that marathon. I had to be sure they would make it through.

Fast forward to Grandma’s. In my pouch, I kept the extra apple wired headphones…just in case. And I was sure to charge the Jabras to full, and leave them plugged in, until the last minute, before we headed out of the hotel room.

On marathon morning, I draped them over my shoulders and put them in just seconds before the gun. I cued up my Ben Greenfield podcasts, had the volume set on medium to start, and began running within a few moments. Once I was passed the first few thousand feet, and I didn’t need to be as aware of my surroundings, I upped to volume a wee bit. You can over crank them, and it can be disturbing if you have sensitive ear drums, which I do.

So, out of sight, out of mind. I settled into my run, and didn’t think anything about the Jabras or the battery life until mile 13…yeah, exactly. At the halfway mark, I got the “medium” charge audible alert. So far, this was the longest they had taken me before getting the medium battery alert on past runs. I believed I was good to go.

GrandmasFinish

I am happy to report they made it through the marathon. Granted, I ran a sub 4-hour marathon. Would they last longer for those who run a 4 hour plus marathon? I’m not so sure. I’d have to do some more research on it. And that would mean recording the exact length of time they last for me on a few consecutive runs.

Much to my chagrin, I’m still running with the headset. I like the sound quality. I like running with no wire attached to my giant iPhone. I like the freedom of being wireless.

2016-06-29 11.45.15

The headphones do not have a wireless mike as far as I can determine. If it does, it isn’t effective. I still have to bring my phone’s mike up to my mouth to dictate a text message or answer a call. I don’t do a lot of conversing while I’m running anyway. Still and all, having to take that extra step to remove my phone from it’s pouch if I do have to answer a call or dictate a message, is a bummer.

Jabra Sport Pace Headsets boast these features:

SECURE & COMFORTABLE FIT

Won’t hurt your ears or fall out, thanks to its ergonomic design. Find the perfect fit with 3 sets of EarGels. Weighs a mere 22 grams (0.77 oz), so you’ll hardly notice you’re wearing it.

RAPID CHARGE

Charge up while you get ready to work out – 15 minutes of charging provides you with 60 minutes of battery life.

SWEAT & WEATHER RESISTANT

Built to US military standards (IP54), Jabra Sport Pace is sweat, shock, and weather resistant. It’s crafted to withstand exercise under any conditions.

I can attest to all of them. I noticed quite a few unhappy consumers while reading the reviews for the Pace. Many said their headsets just stopped working. This hasn’t happened to me thus far. I ran 194 miles in June, plus more than 50 in May, when I began road testing them. They are still working for me.

I was sent the red pair. Had I known there were other options, I likely would have opted for yellow, for obvious reasons.

I did try the Jabra Sports Life App that works with the headset. To be honest, I only tested it twice. It seemed to work just fine, but for me, it is overkill since I already use Runmeter and am quite content with that. Running too many apps at once just runs down my phone battery. I’m not quite ready to replace my Runmeter at this point in time.

Overall, these have been an above average pair of headphones. I’m pleased with the fit, and the overall comfort and sound, but a little unnerved by the noise cancelling effects and the lack of a microphone. But they are doing their job as far as wireless audio is concerned.

Interested in a pair of Jabras? Be sure to check out their website. They have quite a multitude of different pairs to choose from depending upon your need, your purpose, and your wallet. From business purposes, to in-car audio, and running and sports, Jabra has them all. They are rather high priced, but with a one year warranty, they might be worth it for most runners. I’m still intrigued by the Jabra Sport Pulse and would be more than happy to ditch my chest strap, if these really do give an accurate heart rate reading.

Do you run with wireless headphones? Which is the brand you wear? Are you happy with them?

Note: The opinions in this review belong to me, the author. I may accept payment in exchange for a review, but will accept a sample at no cost to provide honest opinions on such. This post may contain affiliate/referral links per my own discretion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *